Stepping into is like visiting a French cafe in the Provencal countryside. Great care is taken in creating an authentic French experience, from the homey, rustic decor to the traditional Provencal dishes.
Located across from the post office on Grand View Boulevard, the creperie has just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Owner Benoit Rablat tells me the restaurant has a loyal customer base that comes for the delicious cuisine made with fresh and local ingredients.
The atmosphere is one of casual elegance with butcher block wooden tabletops, striped high-back chairs and plaid cloth napkins. Jars of homemade jam are placed throughout the restaurant and can be purchased for $8.
Benoit greets his customers warmly and serves as host, waiter and cook, juggling the responsibilities effortlessly. His French charm is very welcoming.
La Petite Crêperie is open for brunch and dinner (yes, crepes for dinner) and offers other main courses such as trout, seared scallops, duck confit and lamp chops. I, however, was there for brunch and decided to concentrate on the crepes, though I was tempted to order the brioche French toast with macerated berries and berry coulis.
I began with one of the galettes (savory crepes made from buckwheat) and ordered the Champignons Fromage with portobello and oyster mushrooms, gruyere cheese, garlic and shallots. It was absolutely scrumptious. The amount of cheese was just right and the fresh mushrooms sautéed with garlic and shallots were juicy and earthy-tasting. Benoit takes pride in using fresh portobello and oyster mushrooms in his crepes, which aren’t easy to find at other establishments. I loved this combination of flavors.
The crepe was accompanied with a side salad of mixed baby greens and sherry vinaigrette. The freshness of the greens served as a nice contrast to this hearty crepe.
My friend’s favorite crepe is the complete galette with jambon (ham), gruyere and a sunny-side-up egg. It is presented with the yolk of the egg nestled in the center of the folded crepe, radiating goodness. The egg was cooked just right, providing richness to the flavor combination.
Benoit says his most popular crepes are the Poulet A La Crème, a pan roasted chicken breast with mushrooms, parsley and crème fraiche; Saumon Fumé, with smoked salmon, creme fraiche, dill, capers and lemon juice; and the Montagnarde with bacon, raclette cheese and potatoes.
Picky diners beware, the restaurant does not honor requests to alter its dishes in any way. Benoit acknowledges that some people have a hard time with this philosophy and that he can’t please everyone, but he wants them to try something new and strives to create an authentic French experience.
“We don’t serve ketchup with our potatoes, they are flavorful enough on their own. Just try them," he says. "You can get ketchup anywhere.”
After that I felt compelled to order a side of roasted potatoes. They were diced nice and small and cooked with Herbes de Provence (including rosemary) and Fleur de sel (high end salt from Camargue in France). The potatoes were perfectly crisp and delicious (and didn’t need ketchup!)
I couldn’t resist ordering my favorite sweet crepe for dessert—le Citron, a perfect balance of lemon, butter and sugar. (Dessert crepes are made with wheat flour and are lighter in color than the galettes.) This crepe is simplicity at its best. Dusted with powdered sugar and fresh lemon zest, the presentation was so pretty it was a shame to eat it (not really). I ate every last bite.
After dessert I was ready for some coffee and had high expectations for the French-pressed caffeine on offer. I was not disappointed. In fact, I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a cup of coffee so much. Benoit told me that the coffee beans come from Guatemala and are dried in the sun on a mat. The moisture evaporates, which intensifies the coffee flavor. Coffee and crepes. Does life get any better?
, 3809 Grand View Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066, 310-437-0226
Hours: Wed.–Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (brunch), Thur.–Sat. 5:30 p.m.– close (dinner reservations recommended). Closed Mon. and Tues.