After several years of construction, Le Petit Paris made its debut at the base of the beautiful El Dorado Lofts building on Spring Street in September. The restaurant space is impressive both in terms of its sheer size and architectural details. Formerly the lobby of the once grand El Dorado hotel prior to residential conversion, the space been beautifully transformed into an expansive dining room. At the rear of the main dining area, the original lobby staircase serves as both a focal point of the space and an access point to a bar area and additional intimate seating nooks located on the mezzanine floor. Striking new crystal chandeliers line the ceiling, nicely complementing the original art deco details visible throughout the space.
Once the initial awe of the surroundings has set in, diners are able to peruse a sizeable menu that includes many familiar French dishes and specialties. On a recent dinner visit my party sampled items from various sections of the dinner menu including the Burgundy Escargots, the Le Petit Signature Salad, Paparadelles with cream sauce, and Grandma’s Chicken Stew, most of which were solid choices.
The escargots were simple, but tasty and prepared in a nice butter sauce dressed with garlic and parsley. I appreciated that they were severed outside of their individual shells as I’ve had some bad experiences in the past trying to remove them. It was definitely a dish that I would order again.
Next up was the Le Petit Signature Salad, which was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. What starts as a simple mixed green salad quickly becomes something more interesting when tossed with potatoes, poached egg, smoked duck breast, bacon and vinaigrette dressing. It’s well known that bacon can make just about anything taste great, but the addition of potatoes egg, and duck really make this dish as much of a meal as it is an appetizer.
The Paparadelles was served next with fresh truffles and cream sauce. The pasta was perfectly cooked with a nice bite to it and the cream sauce had a subtle truffle flavor that was not overpowering. This was a tasty dish, but I didn’t find it to be especially memorable when compared to some of the other items we sampled. For those interested in ordering a pasta dish, however, it’s a good option.
Our final dish of the evening was Grandma’s Chicken Stew, which also one of my favorites of the night. Served in a small pot, the stew is cooked with potatoes, diced bacon and onions. Although simple from an ingredient standpoint, the flavor was excellent. Chicken stew can easily be hit or miss depending on how the chicken is prepared. In most cases, I’ve found that the meat is overcooked and dry. This was not the case at Le Petit, however. The base of the stew was well seasoned while the chicken was fall off the bone tender.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Le Petit. The dishes we tried were solid and the friendliness of the service more than made up for the slight disorganization at times. From start to finish it felt like the staff was genuinely trying to ensure that we had a good experience which was appreciated.
Following dinner, my group popped into the La Boutique shop also owned by Le Petit, which recently opened next door. The small shop, which has a separate entrance on Spring Street, offers a wide array of interesting merchandise from France including the obligatory macarons, unique selections of olive oils and interesting candles from various French vendors. The shop is nicely designed and merchandised and is certainly worth a browse.
Perhaps one of the best aspects Le Petit Paris and La Boutique is the new life they inject into this section of Spring Street, which was previously a bit quiet. The brasserie is open 7 days a week and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. — Lawrence Aldava