Worth the Drive to Dine: Petrossian on Robertson

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kynewpic110BY KAREN YOUNG

Executive Chef Giselle Welllman

Executive Chef Giselle Wellman

Caviar. That seemingly unapproachable, mysterious, allusive, expensive delicacy that people seem to love or hate (or rather, never thought about) depending on one’s palate and pocketbook. I’ve always had the palate for it, but not the pocketbook (or so I thought) —especially for the good stuff.

Last week I was fortunate to receive an invitation for lunch at West Hollywood’s Petrossian, which is renowned for its caviar, and as I discovered, also for its French, Italian and Russian culinary influences. I was surprised to find a little something for everyone, plus I learned that dining here can be relatively affordable depending on what you choose and how you wish to experience it.

Petrossian on Robertson. Photo: Courtesy Petrossian

Petrossian on Robertson. Photo: Courtesy Petrossian

Petrossian, which has a nearly 100 year history, and is still family owned, was founded by two Armenian brothers–Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian, who first introduced the delicacy to Parisians during the 1920s.  The West Hollywood location opened on Robertson in 2001, but underwent  a redesign in 2009. There are also locations in New York and Sao Paulo, Brazil, but each location differs in menu and style.

Executive Chef Giselle Wellman, who helms the West Hollywood location,  came out to greet the four of us who were dining that afternoon. Wellman took over a little over two years ago when she was only 26 years old. Her impressive resume includes working in the kitchens of Jean George and Del Posto in New York, Bouchon in Los Angeles, Alinea in Chicago and Jack’s in La Jolla.

Salmon Cut Trio.  Photo: Karen Young

Tsar Salmon Cut Trio. Photo: Karen Young

Wellman said that when she got the call for Petrossian, she was a bit surprised because she wasn’t that familiar with caviar and it never seemed that approachable to her. She had come from background that included an emphasis in creating pasta and more rustic foods, however, with that combination, and her casual, warm and friendly style, Wellman has created an inviting environment to dine with a tantalizing menu of choice dishes.

Winter Salad.  Photo: Karen Young

Winter Salad. Photo: Karen Young

We started with the Tsar Cut Salmon Trio — thickly cut, tender slices prepared three ways (Classic, Black Sea Spice, Dill Marinated) and accompanied by crème fraiche, capers and toast points. Next up we shared two bowls of Borscht that were split. This was not my grandma’s Russian beet borscht, but a divinely modern version consisting of a thick sweet puree mixed with yogurt, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, a lightly pan roasted slice of yukon potato and crowned with a spoonful of caviar.

Egg Royale. Photo: Karen Young

Egg Royale. Photo: Karen Young

The next course was the Winter Salad which could be called a ‘candy salad’ as it a sweet and savory combination of pears, dates, arugula, hazelnuts and gorgonzola tossed in a cumin yogurt vinaigrette and surrounded by Saucisson Sec (a dry sausage similar to salami). It’s definitely one of the tastiest salads I’ve eaten in Los Angeles.

Wellman then sent over a few of her supreme signature dishes: Egg Royale — an egg shell filled with soft scrambled egg and beautifully topped with vodka whipped cream and caviar (talk about extravagant eating); Caviar Pasta — house made pasta with caviar powder, crème fraiche, chives and generously sprinkled with caviar. This perhaps the richest dish I have ever eaten and so worth the splurge (both in calories and dollars) to share it with dining partners. The last main course was Mediterranean Sea Bass topped with caviar that sat on top of raviolis with a tomato herb consommé that was added tableside by the server. Dessert consisted of Crème Brulee with a Russian tea cookie and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Espresso Caviar (which came in a little container and poured tableside) and accompanied by Cardamom Shortbread Cookies.  Wellman’s cuisine is simply delicious — creative, beautifully presented and decadent without being fussy.

Borscht.  Photo: Karen Young

Borscht. Photo: Karen Young

If caviar isn’t your thing, there are also rustic dishes such as Lamb Pita Sandwich, Croque Madame and a Beef Burger made with Aged Cheddar, Cippollini Jam, Bacon, Chilies, Arugula and Lemon Aioli.

Although my  dining experience was for lunch, Petrossian also offers brunch seven days a week that includes: Brioche French Toast with Dulce de Leche, Bananas and Strawberries; Caviar Scrambled Eggs with Whipped Vodka Crème, Micro Herbs and Toast; and the Petrossian Sampler, Two Soft Boiled Eggs, Caviar, Trout Roe, Salmon Roe, Hand Sliced Smoked Salmon and Toast.  Bloody Marys, Lavender Mimosas, and Bellinis are all available.

The dinner menu features Dungeness Crab Sweet Corn Soup, Warm Asparagus Salad, Striped Bass (with caviar powder) and Prime Flat Iron Prime Steak.

Meditteranean Sea Bass. Photo: Karen Young

Meditteranean Sea Bass. Photo: Karen Young

Happy hour favorites include Caviar for Two, 30g Classic Transmontanus and two glasses of champagne or two flutes of vodka; Hand Sliced Smoked Salmon for two, Hand Sliced Smoked Salmon and two glasses of champagne or two glasses of select wines; and Petrossian’s Cutting Board with Cured Meats, Cheeses, Petrossian Pâté, Mustard, Quince Jam and Pickled Vegetables,. Specialty wines and cocktails are also available.

Caviar Pasta.  Photo: Karen Young

Caviar Pasta. Photo: Karen Young

There’s even a kids’ menu for the mini-gourmand.  Dishes include: Chips and Caviar Dip, Grilled Cheese, Mac n’ Cheese, (with caviar if desired), Caviar Pizza, Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Smoked Salmon and Bagel, and Caviar Mini Pancakes.

The Boutique menu consists of small plates and is available from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.  Monday through Saturday for $10-18 a dish, including Burrata, House Pickled Vegetables, Olives, Eggplant with pine nuts, Watermelon with a Soy Sesame Vinaigrette, Chives, Caviar; Oyster; Pomme Frites with Caviar Aioli; Potato Tart, Fig and Brie, Prime Flat Iron Crostinis.


Panna Cotta with Expresso Caviar  Photo: Karen Young

Panna Cotta with Expresso Caviar Photo: Karen Young

Petrossian offers monthly caviar classes at three different levels. The first Friday of each month is Caviar 101 ($35), an entry-level class showcasing 5-7 caviars and a flute of vodka or Champagne with appetizers. The second Friday is Caviar 201 ($75) and guests have the opportunity to try all of Petrossian’s top caviars with wine pairings. The third Friday is Caviar 301 ($125) and in addition to a tasting of 8 caviars, there’s a  7-course dinner following the class.

Sweets and caviar  in the boutique. Photo: Karen Young

Sweets and caviar in the boutique. Photo: Karen Young

Caviar tastings start at $69 and run up to $305 and include blinis, creme fraiche and toast points.

Dining at Petrossian is relaxed. Sit outside at cafe tables, inside the boutique that is filled with cases of caviar tins and various sweet items (candy and truffles) or in the airy, contemporary dining room with changing wall art.

Casual dining in the boutique.  Photo: Karen Young

Casual dining in the boutique. Photo: Karen Young

If you can’t get to Petrossian or want to send a unique gift, check out the online mail order store with fine selection of caviar (at various sizes and price points) as well as other delicacies, including smoked fish, foie gras and pâté, rich chocolates, specialty teas and coffee, champagne, wine, gift baskets and serving pieces.


Dining Room.  Photo: Karen Young

Dining Room. Photo: Karen Young

Petrossian,  321 North Robertson Boulevard (one block north of Beverly Boulevard) West Hollywood. Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Happy Hour: Monday – Friday, 4 to 7 p.m. For reservations and more information, call (310) 271-6300.  Brunch and Lunch dishes run $14-$45 per dish; Dinner dishes run $14 – $75 (for the four course tasting menu with champagne).  For all the menus in West Hollywood, click here.



KAREN YOUNG is the Founder/Editor of MY DAILY FIND. Email: karen@mydailyfind.com

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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