Kid Hit Menu Items: Petrossian’s efforts to be more down-to-Earth and cultivate an In This Economy accessibility mean the Robertson Blvd. outpost is family-friendlier, especially at brunch. The egg salad sandwich with sliced cucumbers is perfectly appealing to just about any age, with easier to manage triangle-shaped pieces, save for the stray bits of egg salad that fall out. And there’s the option of a little caviar on top, of course. I haven’t had it, but the caviar pizza ($26) could be a good option for a mixed-age group. Grown-ups can eat the special stuff, and kids get the crust. Other standard brunch items include scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and sweet breakfast dishes, as well as desserts. Parents might get somewhere with the borscht based on the color alone. Rare but very special would be the kid who’d devour Chef Benjamin Bailly’s steak tartare French/Vietnamese fusion spring roll I was treated to at a media dinner a few months ago.
Adult Perks: During a recent brunch at Petrossian, we began brunch with the blini sampler ($18), which includes two salmon roe, two trout roe, and three Royal Transmontanus caviars served on dollops of dill crème fraiche. Some children might really dig the balanced combo of pillowy neutral pancake, creamy condiment, and salty roe. But truth be told, I actually started with the hibiscus champagne cocktail with rhubarb syrup, which is gorgeous and a little sweet, but not aggressively so. The edible hibiscus is kind of like chewing on a flavorless sea creature. And for such an elegant place that Fancy Grandma would love, Petrossian is really ramping things up in the booze department. If the Caviar-tini were say, $100, it would qualify as one of those Asshole Menu Items, like the $300 burrito, or the not-entirely-fictional dessert at Plunder. So $18 isn’t crazy in this day and age for a cocktail with vodka, dry vermouth, caviar-stuffed olive, cocktail onion, and Petrossian Caviarcube™ (!) pressed caviar. Happy hour is Monday through Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. At night it’s a mellow and quiet shining star among L.A. restaurants, thanks in large part to Chef Bailly.
And this just in! Starting October 21, Bailly — who trained under Joël Robuchon, BTW — is launching a series of French comfort dinners on Thursdays, with three courses for $44. Hardly bargain kid’s menu prices, but dinner service does start at 5 p.m. And you can probably still order off the regular menu.
Pros: According to the Perrossian PR info, caviar from sustainable farms makes up 80% of sales at the WeHo location. The menu has many caviar and non-caviar related options. I’ve never seen it very crowded and the dining room is spacious and super comfortable.
Cons: In case you didn’t notice in the photo, the chairs are TOTALLY WHITE. Like, stark, padded room white. At least the rear tables have black leather bench seating against the wall. I did learn, however, that caviar can be bleached out of white pants (dumb move on my part). Someone’s gotta figure out these tough life lessons.
Changing Station: No, though the bathroom is quite lovely and has cool vintage Old Worldy photos.
High Chairs: No, and glass tops on the tables make hook-on chairs a bad idea.
Parking and Access: Street parking along Robertson. At least it’s a little easier north of Beverly, and on a weekend morning parking isn’t a problem at all.
Other Tidbits: Chef Bailly brings an extra contemporary flair in the kitchen to the refashioned L.A. Petrossian location. Anything else that might have been gilded or overly ornate (about which I don’t know details, since I’d never been before the remodel) has been cleared out, like an old heiress following strict orders from her decorator to spiffy up the place to get into the modern age, dammit. Instead all surfaces are stark — gray floors, off-white walls, light black faux stingray wainscot and tabletops — with bright abstract paintings and flower arrangements to provide dramatic splashes of color. It all works, even if it’s a bit cold. But just because caviar is apparently more casual nowadays doesn’t have to mean Petrossian is completely warm and cuddly. Brunch starting price points are on par with mid-range expectations ($10 and up, and can vastly vary), so it’s appropriate for the whole family, as long as Junior doesn’t go crazy with the Royal Ossetra. If you’re nervous about the pristine chairs, as I definitely would be with the toddler, outdoor seating can help. But on balance, Petrossian is best with babies or your very well behaved and neat children.
UPDATE: Bailly decamped for Fraiche in Culver City. Giselle Wellman is now Petrossian’s Executive Chef.
321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood
Price: $$-$$$$ (degrees of indulgence are up to you)
Hours: Monday – Friday,11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.