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Aug 17, 2008 10:19 PM

Le Petit Chateau - 1st visit since 1976

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.

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

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  1. 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. "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

        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. 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:

        1. 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

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

          2. 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.