As we took our seat inside the elegant décor of Petrossian restaurant, Sally, a tan, blonde and stylish woman walked in with a man and two gorgeous girls. The girls were so excited to lunch at Petrossian that they let out a squeal of glee when they saw Christopher Klapp, the General Manager and their favorite server, Carlos. Escorted outside on the patio, the girls hopped into chars and eagerly waited for their Bilinis with crème fraiche, and topped with caviar. Sally brings the girls here once a month as a treat for being such darlings at the Groomers. Mia and Nell are King Charles Spaniels and Petrossian is the only restaurant they dine at in Los Angeles.
Unlike the Ivy or Newsroom just down the block, Petrossian is a restaurant celebrities come to escape the paparazzi and get their fix of hibiscus champagne, caviar, and an innovative meal prepared by chef, Benjamin Bailly.
Many consider caviar a luxurious salty treat for just rare and special occasions. I shared with Christopher that I had it twice and found it very briny. He explained to me that caviar varies by its quality, color, flavor, size and price. Traditionally, caviar was from the wild sturgeon swimming in the Caspian Sea. Salmon roe (sometimes called red caviar) and trout roe are usually less in price than the premier Sturgeon roe. Petrossian uses sustainable caviar farmed in Northern California from the White Sturgeon. It’s a black caviar that offers a nutty and smooth flavor. Not too pungent. Christopher boasted that they don’t use Russian caviar, because many varieties are preserved with Borax, a food additive banned in the U.S.
Our lunch began with a glass of the rose colored Hibiscus champagne and a Roe Sampler: Transmontanus from the White Sturgeon up near the Sacramento area, trout and salmon roe served with adorable soft bilinis with crème fraiche. Each bite was a pleasant flavor explosion. I could have been so satisfied with this meal, however I wanted to try the cold Borscht with a sprinkle of caviar. If you like beets, you will adore this healthy tasting soup. I also spooned a taste of the Wild mushroom cappuccino with roasted chestnuts on the bottom. Ideal for a cold evening before a main course entrée. Since it was lunchtime, I chose the Shrimp salad with heart of palm, avocado, diced watermelon and mango in a passion fruit vinaigrette. My friend ordered the 8oz burger with caramelized onion, blue cheese and bacon aioli. This is not your standard burger, it’s a gourmet masterpiece served with fries that were crisp on the outside and warm and soft inside.
While dining, I kept peeking out at Sally and the girls. She gave them little bites of her foie gras, but none of her Pistachio Crème Brulee with macerated strawberries. Carlos brought little cups of water out to the girls to quench their thirst. He shared with us that dogs are always welcome out on the front patio. “It gives the flavor of being at our Paris restaurant,” said Carlos. There are three Petrossian restaurants: Paris, New York City and West Hollywood. All of them have a boutique that sells caviar, gourmet gifts and meals to go for picnics, outdoor concerts or intimate dinners at home.
At the end of our delightful lunch, I asked Christopher if caviar had any health benefits? He replied, “Folklore states it provides every vitamin and mineral.” Really? I returned home and did some research.
Health wise, caviar is packed with vitamin B-12. Fish roe is intended by nature to create and nourish new life. It contains a large number of minerals, vitamins A, C and D. It does not contain any trans fats or carbohydrates, instead it’s a protein containing Omega-3 fatty acids that promote eye health, brain function, immune system and well being, and can lower the risks of certain cancers. It has also been rumored to be an aphrodisiac because of the vitamin A, C, B2, B6, B12, and zinc. Research suggests that a diet rich in Omega –3 fatty acids can benefit people suffering with depression, bipolar and other mental health disorders. Although caviar was once only served to royalty, today, anyone can enjoy it, even sweet Mia and Nell.