Petrossian – Giselle Wellman

Our expectation for our late lunch/early dinner at Petrossian was to indulge in some caviar with blinis and a couple of caviar influenced nibbles. Little did we expect a carefully crafted meal with faultless execution. Executive chef, Giselle Wellman might be young – 26 – but her resume is impressive – Jack’s La Jolla, Jean Georges, Del Posto, Alinea and most recently Bouchon Beverly Hills. I am a stickler for top-quality ingredients handled with flawless technique and a passionate attention to detail. I despise the current trend of 15 ingredients strewn on a plate with the hope that something on the plate will make culinary sense. Saucing is a passion of mine and there should be no shortcuts to a well-executed sauce –  Chef Wellman doesn’t take shortcuts on anything – she is a chef in the best tradition whose resume is the equal of her mentors. This is approachable delicious cuisine in a lovely peaceful atmosphere with exemplary service.

Chef Wellman and GM Christopher Klapp

Our terrific server, Kyla

The lovely room where you can actually have a decent conversation

BYO Champagne

Egg Royale – A hallowed out eggshell filled with soft Scrambled Egg and topped with Vodka Creme Fraiche and Caviar – this dish can be a disaster if the eggs are over-scrambled. Not a chance with Chef Wellman’s eggs – a glorious dish and reminiscent of Jean George’s egg dish.

Perfect eggs

A gift from the chef- Poached Pear and Gorgonzola in a beggar’s purse with 1/8 inch dice of fresh pear and a Tarragon wine sauce – absolutely delicious with perfect saucing. My only complaint is that I wish I had a French Sauce Spoon so I could have had every single bit of that sauce – I did think about licking but manners won out.

Smoked Sturgeon Risotto, Pressed Caviar, Chives, Apple Batons which had been pickled in liquid from chiles – Chef Wellman is a firm believer that nothing goes to waste in her kitchen – every ingredient is utilized to its fullest and served at peak freshness. Another great dish.

BYO Champagne #2

Duck Confit Salad, Apple, Watercress, Hazelnuts – I did my best to get an exact description of this dish (I get a C for description, the dish gets an A) – the duck legs were perfectly crunchy but still moist, not at all dry. The duck had been dry rubbed with pink peppercorns, juniper, salt and sugar. The second star of the dish were the candied hazelnuts that mirrored the texture component of the duck. The greens had been “sauced” with oil from the hazelnuts – any mistakes in description are mine. Enough to say, this was another evidence of Chef Wellman’s expertise.

Striped Bass, Yukon Gold Potato Noodles, Caviar, Chives, Vodka Creme Fraiche – expertly executed bass with crispy skin and the potato noodles were to die for

Flat-iron Steak with Matsutake, Oyster and Shitake mushrooms with pickled fresno chilies. The sauce was a jus with the addition of the “essence” of porcini mushrooms

Vanilla Panna Cotta – served with spherified espresso caviar (a nod to Grant Achatz) and cardamom shortbread cookies (I learned later that cardamom is one of Chef Wellman’s favorite spices)

Meyer Lemon Tart – a take on Thomas Keller’s lemon tart, but not as lemony with the use of Meyer lemons – the meringue was more like a marshmallow so think of this as a marshmallow lemon s’mores

To be honest, we weren’t expecting this level of cuisine. This is heads and shoulders above most of LA’s dining experiences.

Bottom line: We can’t wait to return and probably will just let Chef Wellman orchestrate our meal next time.

2 Responses to “Petrossian – Giselle Wellman”

  1. 1 twoguyswithanappetite February 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Wow. Amazing. Her stint at Alinea shines through. Do I recall correctly that you are not a fan of Alinea? We thoroughly love the “theater” (or is that “museum” or “art gallery”???) atmosphere/experience at Alinea. Still, it seems that her time at Alinea shaped her well.

    We do not put many restaurants on our “MUST VISIT” list, but because of your review, we are adding Petrossian to our list now.

  2. 2 Gourmetpigs February 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I loved my meal there as well, alas we missed out on the duck confit salad (had ordered it but it seemed that they forgot – we were so full that we didnt bother reminding them either). From this post it looks like i will need to return soon for it.

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