Being a Haute Living blogger has its privileges. Well, you probably knew that already. But I’m feeling that sentiment more than ever as I dive into the third course of a demurely decadent caviar tasting meal at Petrossian, the restaurant connected to the Robertson Boulevard boutique of the famous fish egg family.
Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian first made their name in Paris, 1920, importing caviar from the Soviet Union at a time when it was barely known in Western Europe. Of course today, wild beluga caviar is extremely scarce, and General Manager Christopher Klapp informs me their Royal Transmontanus, Tsar Imperial Siberian, Tsar Imperial Osetra, and Alverta President–actually come from sustainable sturgeon farms as far away as China and Israel, and as close as Sacramento. Who knew caviar could be eco-friendly?
It takes a chef with the training of Benjamin Bailly, an impossibly trim Frenchman who’s cooked under Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse, to fully explore caviar’s potential. Bailly may yet emerge as one of our city’s stars, working wonders as he does with delicate simplicity.
He offers us off-menu delights including a cauliflower panna cotta, an heirloom tomato-sauced capellini salad and most deliciously (for me), an avocado raviole with dungeness crab and green apple (above) sandwiched and topped, like all dishes,with some of Petrossian’s silky saline stuff.
The restaurant is pretty but starkly modern, service lacking any of the pretention that one might expect with such rarified goods. I’m eager to come back and try brunch—and I’d bet Bailly’s truffle hamburger is well worth $22. His borscht and truffle mac & cheese have also been widely praised.
Though it’s still so understated on the flashy retail street that you could blink and miss it, Petrossian remodeled last year to maximize opportunities. The retail side of the operation offers much more than caviar and wild roe: tinned foie gras, duck salami, confitures, wines, Michel Cluizel chocolates, and their well-regarded smoked salmon are available. Oh, and did I mention their caviar-stuffed olives for martinis? Or the newly-reintroduced Russian pressed caviar?
In case you’re curious (I was), Klapp (above) informs that in-house caviar grading involves the size of the beads, flavor, firmness, definition and color (Makes diamond grading sound easy!) He also points out that every tin is marked with lot numbers—should a connisseur particularly enjoy a specific batch, the numbers help find more from the same fish.
Most delightfully, Petrossian now offers a “curbside service,” delivering caviar and any other goods straight to your car in their own cute cold packs, should you be rushing to the Hollywood Bowl, a party, or just a special assignation.
Sure beats In N Out.
Petrossian Paris Boutique and Café is located at 321 North Robertson Boulevard, West Hollywood, 310.271.0576