After the truly unforgettable meal I enjoyed there with my girlfriend, I feel it is my duty to express to the board how impressed I was with Le Petit Grocery the other night. Ask 10 people about this place and you're guaranteed to hear 5 tepid reviews. Most dissenters cite the ambience as a sticking point. Admittedly it does not drip with atmosphere the way that a lot of the best restaurants in the city do, but I think the atmosphere is perfectly pleasant if a little subdued.
And the food! My girlfriend and I had several wonderful creations, of which the highlights were the poached oysters served with a crepe filled with carmelized onions and applewood-smoked bacon, the crabmeat salad, and our two desserts, the homemade dark chocolate and toasted pecan ice cream (amazing) and the cheesecake napoleon with basil honey (the basil added an unexpected zip that worked with the other flavors to my great surprise and delight.)
I was impressed with the overall experience (service, food quality, execution,) but I was perhaps most impressed by the chef's restrained creativity. Too often at restaurants across the country I find myself presented with a dish that is more of an architectural delight than a gastronomical one. Not the case at Le Petit. The food is inventive, but familiar.
To address atmosphere again, I admit that the place didn't really stoke up to the level of Galatoire's or Clancy's (few can, right?) To that end, I recommend Le Petit for anyone after a quieter meal.