Le Petit Bistro for a Class Act
Le Petit Bistro is special and unique with unassuming natural charm, charisma, and energy, along with an impassioned fervor about the food. I think the European atmosphere is appealing, similar to a country retreat. And hospitality flows from co-owner brothers, George, Robert, and Albert Lachkar who greet the diners like family. This very cozy bistro attracts a gazpacho of notables, such as Sean Connery, Keanu Reeves, Suzanne Pleshette, Selma Hayek, Tom Poston, and Robert Forester, for starters. Now that the restaurant has opened for late dinners six nights a week, it will be great for after the bowl, ballet, movie, or because anything open after l0:00pm in LA is a small miracle.
The décor is Parisian, with giant framed walls of mirrors reflecting larger than life posters of French life, along with a huge fresco of the historic Moulin Rouge. Other characteristics of the room are dark brown wooden floors under large salad‑bowl chandeliers, a skylight, and comfortable red leather booths, banquettes, and tables dressed in white linens. There's also a colorful bar. In addition, a diamond‑etched wall of glass artfully separates indoor dining from the café-curtained festively‑lighted indoor patio. For a snapshot view, one might see the picture as casually sophisticated; a place to impress anyone, and perhaps romantic with the right person.
Chef Hugo specializes in classic French food with many requests for rack of lamb, as well as baby lamb chops, along with calves liver, and Toulouse sausage. He's quick to say that some signature items on his menu include delicious imported "Sole" prepared "la provencale," and their very popular seafood
"Di mare" with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and jumbo scallops in a saffron Chardonnay sauce. His fusions and creative cooking offers a variety of chicken, fish dishes, and steaks. Le Petit Bistro was once referred to as serving "Cartier food at K-Mart prices." Moreover, Chef Hugo is always happy to share interesting tips, and if you would like to have the best-prepared Duck in the world, he's the one to ask. It's my favorite entrée.
Their wine list is extensive, and as soon as we were seated, complimentary spreads and a basket of fresh bread was presented. The "shmears" included hummus, (made with garbanzo beans) chopped olives; pureed eggplant, liver pate, and a Moroccan spicy sauce made with chili peppers. It was an excellent pre‑appetizer.
Our entire dinner was memorable, beginning with Salade Du Bistro, prepared with Arugula, baby spinach, avocado, pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan in a Balsamic vinaigrette. Other shared appetizers were French Herring served with warm potato; also baked "Brie en Croute" in champagne sauce; and Blue Crab Cakes, plus a "kicky" Shrimp Picante. The menu is more interesting than most, and some items are not easily found elsewhere.
Our entrees were remarkable; especially my order of half an oven roasted duck, crisply gorgeous without fat, and separated for easy eating. Our second main dish was Blackened Atlantic Salmon over baby Belgian endive, with green beans, in a pesto vinaigrette.
For people who can't live a day without pasta, I'm sure you would enjoy the wild mushroom ravioli, or Tagliatelle, with rock shrimp, capers, and snow peas, in a cognac sauce. Besides roasted or chicken Picatta, some popular dishes are braised veal short ribs, (Osso Bucco style) over Fettuccine; Moroccan sausages; charbroiled baby lamb chops and rack of lamb; in addition to grilled Entrecote, (Rib Eye Steak) and Filet Mignon. Try the onion soup!
We ended our meal with Profiterole's, (ice cream éclairs) with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and almonds.
Appetizers from $4.95-$10.50; entrees of fish, crustations, and meats, $13.50-$26.95 for filet mignon or rack of lamb. Wonderful ice creams, mousses, tarte's, puddings and "gooeys," $8.
I loved the delicious evening and highly recommend it. So take someone to show-off your "joie de vi-vre," then click your wine glasses and toast, "A votre santé. Santé." 631 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hollywood; (310) 289‑9797. Valet, $3.50 & street pkg; major credit cards accepted. Monday-Friday, lunch, 11:30am-3:00pm; 7 days from 5:00pm until 11:00pm; weekends until midnight.