Le Petit Paris brings a little French charm and je ne sais quoi to downtown Los Angeles.
No surprise, I like all things French - food, wine, country. What is surprising is that I hadn't visited Le Petit Paris in downtown Los Angeles until just last month. This gorgeous French haven is in the historic El Dorado building, originally built in 1913. It has a great 20's vibe with the grand staircase and crystal chandeliers.
The owners are from Northern France and opened their first Le Petit Paris in Cannes. Just last year they brought the concept to downtown Los Angeles.
I made my first visit on the night of the Beaujolais Nouveau release. I used to celebrate this wine holiday while living in Paris, though of course any day is a good day to celebrate wine. In France, the third Thursday of every November, marks the release of a very young wine that gets pressed and bottled, with no aging. So yeah, it's not very good, but good parties will pour other notable wine from the Beaujolais region.
Le Petit Paris had a special prix fixe menu with several French wines to sample. The place is a large two story restaurant with a beautiful bar on top that looks down over the lower dining room. It was packed the night we went and also had a live jazz singer to add to the festive atmosphere.
The menu is pretty classic French. Mon amie indulged in the ooey gooey French onion soup that hit all the right notes. I tried the broth and it was the perfect balance of onions and salt. You can definitely make a meal of it.
There's also escargot, oysters, pate and foie gras. I had to go foie gras The accompanying onion chutney brought the right sweetness to the homemade duck foie gras.
For mains, you can get pizza, steak frites, sole meuniere or even a truffle burger, but I went with the lighter sorrel roasted salmon with green asparagus, which was tender and flavorful.
My friend had the richer coq au vin that was creamy and luscious, and also deserving of a doggie bag. Luckily they do deliver your leftovers in LA. In Paris, don't even think of asking for a doggie bag. Parisian portions also tend to be smaller than our gargantuan dishes here.
The bourbon vanilla creme brulee made excellent use of a shallow dish so there was even more surface area for that addictive, crunchy crust.
The molten chocolate lava cake welcomed a spoon through the thickly running sauce, doused with salted butter caramel. That did not call for a doggie bag.
If you're in need of a little French flair, Le Petit Paris is an excellent choice. You'll hear many French accents and see all of the classics that you love from a French bistro.
Le Petit Paris
418 South Spring St, Los Angeles