Palate-Pleasing Platters at La Petite Table
Note to self: avoid visiting a restaurant in its opening weekend. The experience will likely be far from its best possible version, and your judgment will be confounded by unfavorable factors. Come back when the dust has settled and the restaurant can orchestrate the meal performance, not you!
Such is what happened on my inaugural visit to La Petite Table in ABC Verdun. We were invited to try the bistro-like restaurant--not to be confused with La Petite Maison or La Table Fine--situated on the upper terrace of the mall, which only the evening before had witnessed its lavish unveiling.
Friday night, and the restaurant was teeming with diners. Waiters and runners were scurrying to take and deliver orders, but they simply couldn’t keep pace. Not all dishes were available, nor could special requests be tended to. At one point, the scene looked like a flock of headless chickens running around in every which direction. We vowed to return on a calmer evening.
And we did, the following Wednesday around 7 PM. It was clear that staff were better poised to cater to customers, and the ambiance was markedly calmer. We settled inside next to the window, since outdoors, the Beirut humidity proved insufferable.
Ali took our order for quenchers and starters as a small basket of sliced baguette sided by Adon & Myrrh’s characteristically bitter evoo landed on our table. Within minutes, the appetizers followed. Promptness was already exhibiting a 500% improvement on last time.
|The spread of starters|
A delicate phyllo dough round decorated with pillow-like clouds of goat cheese was first up, drizzled with balsamic reduction and honey and garnished with thin shavings of sun-dried tomato. Light and luscious.
|Goat cheese clouds on phyllo dough|
Guacamole, which we’d been formerly denied because of the absence of avocado, emerged in a flip-top glass jar preserved at a chilled state. I’d have preferred it mashed and served at room temperature, speckled with cilantro and finely diced white onion. The seeded cracker bread cum dipping device struck me as original and wholesome.
For mains, the medallions of steak tenderloin were magnificently matched with creamy tagliatelle decorated with mushroom and flat-leaf parsley. The pasta is rich, offsetting the melt-in-your-mouth lean chunks of beef. I’ve never seen the staple Italian carb served in a bowl, but this is La Petite Table’s signature: pasta comes enclosed within ceramic borders (the salmon with spinach tagliatelle is plated likewise).
|Steak medallions atop a bed of tagliatelle|
My dining companion opted for the marinated grilled chicken with a side of fries, unsalted, and the order arrived impeccably so: hot, succulent, and done through and through.
|Keeping it simple: grilled marinated chicken with a side order of fries|
|A close-up of those piping hot unsalted fries!|
Our dessert was a refreshing assembly of passion fruit sorbet with whipped cream, cubes of under-ripe mango, pellets of coconut meringue, and zest of lime. Crumbled shortbread biscuit would have made for a great textural contrast, donning some depth to this dessert.
|Passion fruit sorbet smothered with whipped cream and cubes of mango|
Word on the street is La Petite Table’s brunch buffet is the real star item on the menu, so maybe I should defer judgment till the happy day I try it. There’s that and the Angus beef & truffle burger, which, in my relentless quest to find a decent burger around these parts, had me at “savora sauce.”
We’ll see how the table holds up.
La Petite Table
ABC Verdun, 01 796 054
Gardens Naccache, 81 666 483