Welcoming us into his restaurant, the charming Albert Emkies of Le Petit Bistro, made a great impression as he seated us in a comfortable red booth for a delightful traditional French dinner. Delivering the menus to our tables, he pointed out the specials on the back page of the menu. At least four appetizers and four entrees change daily.
The original menu offers guests the opportunity to eat what they desire at a reasonable price. “We have guests who come in at 5 p.m. and sit down to our roasted chicken with frites dinner for $13.50. Our frites are cooked in peanut oil to make them so delicious,” shared Albert.
Le Petit Bistro underwent a “facelift” prior to Valentine’s Day and looks better than ever, both inside and out. Large mirrors and wonderful French posters adorn the walls. One wall is a lovely sage green, while the other is a bold red. Booths line the walls with white tablecloths and a layer of white butcher paper.
Guests receive a basket of crunchy crust French bread served with a dish of roasted eggplant tapenade and hummus to be spread on top.
Our knowledgeable server, Regis, recommended some of the restaurant’s specialties that include lamb chops, grilled entrecote steak and the Moroccan Merguez a la Harissa. Raised in the South of France near St. Tropez, Regis has been in the U.S for 11 years. He is an expert on French food and wine.
Looking over the two page wine list, we recognized some good California and International wines that were reasonably priced. A number of French wines are from 1990 to 2009. Guests may also enjoy a nice bottle from Italy or Chile. There are five options for champagne and sparkling.
We started with a generous glass of 2011 Reserva Chardonnay Valle de Casablanca from Chile. It was fruity with notes of apricot, yet not too sweet. My husband ordered a full body Chateau D’arthus red Bordeaux. On the palate it bursts with notes of juicy black berry fruit, minerals and chocolate. Both were excellent wines to accompany our appetizers of spicy shrimp and eggplant tart. The Shrimp is known around town for its secret spices with a touch of rosemary. The eggplant was tender on a bed of spinach, onion, basil and tomatoes.
At one time, Albert Emkies, Georges and Ronaire Lachkar had three Le Petit Bistro restaurants. First the original on La Cienega, then the partners opened a bistro in Sherman Oaks and one on the Westside. They sold the latter two and give all of their attention to this one in West Hollywood. Some of their servers have worked here for twenty years.
I liked the Sole a la Provencale with tomato, kalamata olive, and a white wine sauce very much. My husband’s duck confit was cooked perfectly. Two generous legs were well browned and crisp. The accompanying vegetables were cooked al dente style and not too soft.
Be sure to allow 15 minutes for the chocolate soufflé with crème anglase, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It tastes just like the one I enjoyed in Cannes.
Other desserts include the traditional crepe Suzette with orange Grand Marnier, a hazelnut gelato with hot chocolate and almonds, an apple tart “a la mode” with caramel sauce and a pot de chocolate with creamy chocolate mousse.
On certain holidays such as Bastille Day, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, the partners and chef pare down the menu to a selected number of appetizers and entrees. All are served a la carte. Albert shared with us, “I don’t like prix fixe menus. Someone always doesn’t want one of the items on the menu. I want to make sure my guests order exactly what they want.”
Le Petit Bistro is located at 631 North La Cienega Blvd. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Mon. through Sat., and until 10 p.m. on Sun. The restaurant does have a parking lot with valet service. Reservations are recommended, by calling (310)289-9797.
This article was published in the Beverly Press on March 14, 2013.