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Le Petit Chateau - 1st visit since 1976

justanotherpenguin Aug 17, 2008 10:19 PM

last night, my wife and i had dinner at le petit chateau. we had not been there since late 1976, just before we were married. at the time, i was working in a real estate office next door.

it did not disappoint. if you like a "club" type atmosphere - very "old school", this is it. a great "old world" bar, and mostly booths, very intimate and private. the service was great.

i ordered the escargot while wife ordered the french onion soup. i wish that the escargot were served in shell (the waitress said that LA city no longer allowed this), but they were good. the french onion soup was outstanding. would definitely order it again. i then had the duck with the cherry sauce, while the wife had the steak diane. both were outstanding. the duck was very crispy on the outside, but moist inside; the steak diane had a lot of flavor and it melted in your mouth. we then shared the crepes suzette. this is a difficult dish - they prepare in the kitchen and flame at the table. it was good, but i have had (and made) better. i like the liquid to caramelize before it is served, and this was only partially done.

bottom line - we will go back again. there are very few places like this left, and we want to support them. if you would like to see what a 1st class french restaurant was like from the 70's - check it out.

full bar and a limited, but very nice wine list.

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Le Petit Chateau Restaurant
4615 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602

  1. maxzook Aug 18, 2008 09:52 AM

    Sometime in the late 1980s, Le Petit Chateau closed briefly and then re-opened under new ownership. I've worked and/or lived in the vicinity since 1980, and I can tell you the difference was night-and-day. Pre-change the place was headed downhill fast; since the change it has been one of the most reliable upscale places in L.A.

    It will never appear on any list of foodie favorites, but if you hanker for old-school food -- beef Wellington, crepes suzette et al. -- it should be at the top of your list.

    1. Will Owen Aug 18, 2008 10:48 AM

      "i wish that the escargot were served in shell (the waitress said that LA city no longer allowed this)" Since when? And is this for real, and why? I know two elderly escargot freaks who are going to be very unhappy, and a few younger ones as well! I hate to condone lying, but I'm praying that this was just a lame excuse...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Will Owen
        maxzook Aug 20, 2008 02:17 PM

        This interested me, so I e-mailed the East Valley Environmental Health Office. Here is their reply:

        "This is a response into your questions about land and sea snails (escargots). According to California Retail Food Code (Cal Code) land and sea snails are consider molluscan shellfish. Currently, it is not a violation to serve molluscan shellfish in their original natural shells. However, it is not approved for canned escargots to be served in pre-cleaned natural shells.

        The reusing of natural shells would be consider equipment/utensils. Cal Code states that all utensils and related equipment shall be certified or classified for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certification program. Materials that are used in equipment/utensils shall be safe, durable, corrosion-resistant, and nonabsorbent to withstand repeated warewashing.

        Furthermore all materials must be smooth, easily cleanable and resistant to pitting, chipping, crazing, scratching, scoring, distortion, and decomposition. If you should have any further questions please do not hesitate to call our Food inspection Bureau at 626 430-5250. Thanks you for interest in Public Health.

        Scott Hunter, R.E.H.S.
        Environmental Health
        East Valley Food Office
        E.H.S. III
        818 557-4187"

        It's pretty unlikely that Le Petit Chateau serves fresh snails; escargot bourguignonne is almost always made from canned. That being the case, the difference between natural shells versus those porcelain snail dishes is really just a matter of appearance and not freshness.

      2. Servorg Aug 18, 2008 11:04 AM

        We've tried a few of their offerings over the past 6 months or so and the Wellington is the clear winner in my opinion. I thought the duck was overcooked the night I had it (with the cherry sauce). Here is my prior review: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/454795

        1. d
          Diana Aug 18, 2008 11:05 AM

          I always figured this place would not be so good. Don't know why, it could be the hokey commercials or the lack of buzz, or the few comments about it being mostly occupied by the mature set who prefers basic, unchallenging food.

          But I like a solid French old style meal as much as the next hound.

          I should give it a try! What are the prices like?

          Geez! '76? I was 1 then!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Diana
            maxzook Aug 21, 2008 08:41 AM

            If noting else, you should try the steak Diane ;)

          2. rednyellow Aug 19, 2008 02:26 AM

            I don't eat there too often just because I don't get over to the valley that much, but every meal I've had there has been very good and the service has always been excellent too. I love the place.

            1. c
              carter Aug 20, 2008 05:56 PM

              zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! on all fronts
              Truly a waste of money.

              8 Replies
              1. re: carter
                Servorg Aug 20, 2008 07:19 PM

                Not for fans of Beef Wellington it's not.

                1. re: Servorg
                  maxzook Aug 21, 2008 08:42 AM

                  Amen. You either get Le Petit Chateau or you don't. More room for the rest of us.

                  1. re: maxzook
                    Servorg Aug 21, 2008 09:14 AM

                    It's really difficult to find a good, traditional Beef Welly. We live on the westside and make the trek here for that dish alone. And I like the old "Valley" feel to the place. While it will never replace the Tail O' the Cock LPC is a jewel in its own right. See you in the Wayback Machine Mr. Z

                    1. re: Servorg
                      d
                      Diana Aug 21, 2008 09:28 AM

                      'course, I find it odd that a french place is one to serve a good, traditional Beef Wellingotn.

                      1. re: Diana
                        Servorg Aug 21, 2008 09:54 AM

                        It's just that no English speaking person could properly pronounce filet de boeuf en croûte and so, viola! we have ze Beef Wellington!

                        1. re: Servorg
                          d
                          Diana Aug 21, 2008 11:29 AM

                          Well, we were too busy keeping our feet dry and charging around on horseback.

                          Tell me, how is the bread basket at Le Petit Chateau? I know that sounds silly, but if a place can't serve good bread, especially a French place, I wonder about the rest of the food. Also, I love good bread!

                          1. re: Diana
                            Servorg Aug 21, 2008 11:42 AM

                            Hi Diana. I am not a big "bread" person but IIRC it's the typical small French bread sliced in an elliptical shape. Nothing to go out of your way for but perfectly acceptable.

                            1. re: Diana
                              maxzook Aug 22, 2008 08:39 AM

                              I *am* a bread freak and I'll tell you the basket baguettes are pretty damned good. I'd like to know where they get them ... or do they bake them in-house?

                2. p
                  Pratzr Aug 22, 2008 09:43 AM

                  We were going to a play in NoHo so we decided to stop in. The maitre D (sp?) asked if we had reservations so I piped up and said "Yes but we will eat here anyway". He very coldly repeated the question and if it had been just my wife and I would have left.
                  It turned out the meal and the martinis were quite good. The front dining room seemed to be the hot spot with the room further back reserved for wise guys.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Pratzr
                    d
                    Diana Aug 22, 2008 09:49 AM

                    I dunno, but sometimes, what you may think of as intensely humorous really isn't. In fact, it sort of makes a person look, well, kind of jerky. My dad used to be the same way, and he pretty much got the same response. That or the MAitre' D would turn to my severely embarrassed mother and just ask her. Meanwhile, we kids and any other diners in our party were just DYING and looking for the exit.

                    It's better to joke with people you have some sort of connection with if you know its OK, even in restaurants.

                    Glad your meal was OK, despite the fact you insulted the place right after coming in.

                    1. re: Diana
                      JeffW Aug 22, 2008 10:19 PM

                      Amen!

                    2. re: Pratzr
                      Servorg Aug 22, 2008 10:14 AM

                      Now I'm confused. We have always been seated by an older woman who seems to run the show there. I have never seen a Maitre 'D? Also, while we have been seated in John's section (the waiter who looks a lot like Kevin Kline - at least to me) which is in the back left part of the room as you go in, I don't recall another room? It has always seemed like kind of one big room from what I recall. Maybe I am not paying attention as I follow the hostess? I know there is the one small room off the bar as you enter for "semi-private" parties. Is that the one you mean?

                      1. re: Servorg
                        maxzook Aug 22, 2008 01:34 PM

                        He's referring to the room to the left as you enter (across from the bar) that is frequently screened off ... I've been seated there a few times, it's not that small (and during the day it has a lot more light).

                        1. re: Servorg
                          c
                          carter Aug 22, 2008 09:54 PM

                          Christiane is the woman, and she owns the place. Ask her for the best items on the menu too.
                          And when you are finished, tell her to remodel the place.

                          1. re: carter
                            maxzook Aug 22, 2008 10:25 PM

                            Hee. Or at least knock some windows in the main room.

                            1. re: carter
                              Servorg Aug 23, 2008 05:42 AM

                              She is not the type to brook any nonsense from either of us.

                              1. re: carter
                                g
                                grrranamal Sep 20, 2008 05:54 PM

                                I love LPC! Going tonight for duck.... I hope they never remodel ... that's my story and I'm sticking too it! ; >

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