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La Petite Maison--last night, dining at the bar

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La Petite Maison--last night, dining at the bar

Denis | Dec 16, 2010 10:47 AM

This restaurant opened within the last week and, apparenlty as a result, displayed some predictable disorganization. Atmosphere was slick, European, and lively since it was crowded--partly because the downstairs dining room was closed and only the upstairs area consisting of the bar and 20 tables or so was open. It's an NYC incarnation of a supposedly celebrity-studded place in Nice. Consulting chef here is Alain Alegretti; can't recall actual chef's name.

Overall our party of three had a nice time despte the miscues.

The food was mostly good but, not surprisingly given the nature of the scene, kind of pricey. Most entrees were $30+, and many came with no sides. E.g., Chateaubriand for 2 was $70 or $80, and was served as the steak in a copper-bottomed pan accompanied by glasses of bearnaise and bordelaise (I think), but nothing else. (I didn't order this but saw it.)

The very personable bartender didn't really seem to know the menu (though dining at the bar was plainly contemplated), and as a result we were brought two wrong dishes, plus one dish that we'd talked about but decided not to order. Also, after promoting their Gibson from a nice cocktail list, he was unable to produce a bottle of vermouth to make it with. Another (not-so-personable) bartender made a delicious one using something else, though. The other cocktails were good too.

The food in more detail:

Pissaladiere: a few squares of the onion tart, with no anchovy. Small but $9 or so, so not criminal.

Mixed fish & seafood crudo: salmon, tuna, some crab or lobster, one shrimp, and a couple kinds of whitefish--one with slices of black truffle on top--with olive oil, herbs, and salt on top. This amounted to a hearty serving for an appetizer so was reasonable at $21 (esp given the truffle) but marred, for me, by too much olive oil. My friend enjoyed it a lot though.

Stuffed baby vegetables: Stuffed with some kind of ground meat mixture. Tasty & satisfying but not strikingly delicious. Not something one finds here so a bit more enjoyable for the novelty,

Zucchini blossom beignets with tomato dipping sauce: Very enjoyable. No stuffing of cheese or anything as one frequently gets with fried zucchini.

Spagetti with tomato sauce and serrano peppers: oversauced but simply sweet/tangy with nicely cooked pasta. $17 or so, on the appetizer menu but a decent portion.

Rack of lamb: two large chops of what seemed like quality meat with a typical herb crust and sauce on the side. Perfectly cooked, though the lamb itself was not so flavorful and neither the seasoning nor the sauce compensated. More salt would have helped. $35 with no sides, so pricey I thought.

Pureed potatoes & wilted spinach with garlic: fine.

Chickpea fries: batons of chickpea, fried. Quickly became heavy and gummy, not that flavorful.

Cherry clafoutis: yummy.

Tiramisu: ladyfingers indistinguishable amidst the cream--a big problem to me

Berries with sabayon: cold, unattractive appearance of browned glue over the berries, Flavor passable but coldness detracted from this.

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La Petite Maison
13 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019

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