Magnifique Maison Giraud…

Chocolate Souffle
Chocolate Souffle

Holiday weekend and I was stuck moving.

If you have to unpack, it must be after an amazing vacation, unwrapping a black shiny Chanel handbag box or delicately unearthing a pair of Louboutins from their red felt shoebag…not windex from your kitchen supply cardboard box or office supplies that you hastedly threw into a half filled unmarked carton.

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After 48 hours of drudgery and no hot water, I booked an appoinment at Dry Bar because I draw the line at washing my hair in frigid water.

My husband was instructed to pick me up at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore for a jail break and per our prenuptial agreement, he needed to honor our weekly date night commitment.

I must be the first street walker ever in Pacific Palisades and not blonde, to boot. This place is reminding me a bit of Marin County and Greenwich, Connecticut. Thankfully, I have no kids in school to I can step away from the Stepford Wives. The best part is we are less than 1 mile to the ocean.

So, transformed into a refreshed woman and finally out of Lululemon shorts and a t-shirt for the first time in weeks due to the flu and moving, my husband drove right past me. I had to run into the street, screaming his name. He u-turned and gave me an approving glance.

Maison Guraud Patio
Maison Giraud Patio

We drove a short distance and found a parking spot in front of the best and only upscale restaurant in Pacific Palisades.

Maison Giraud has been highly touted since its’ opening in 2011. I had always intended to go, but never made it. Saturday night was the night.

Maison Giraud is unprepossessing, but not without charm. It remembers me of a delightful bistro in Paris. We chose outside seating since we had been interned for days.

The street was quiet…no one strolling and as far from a NYC Saturday night as you can get. Peace and quiet has its upside after all the noise from the trustafarians surrounding our Santa Monica abode.

wine maison

The manager treated me to a lovely glass of rose, Domaine Ott, Chateau de Selle from Provence 2013. It was light and crisp. I had inquired about the Grenache from Languedoc which is becoming one of my favorite wine regions and the Chateauneuf de Pape, Telegramme from the Rhone region.

He was kind enough to allow me to sample both. The Grenache, Domaine Esprit des Pierres”Gold Medal from Languedoc 2012 was insanely delicious and a true bargain at $12 a glass.

Farmers Market Tomato Salad
Farmer’s Market Tomato Salad

Our genuine french waiter recommended the tomato salad with farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, saba vinegar, fresh basil and olive oil ($14).

I must admit it was the best tomato salad I have ever eaten….so incredibly fresh and flavorful. The tomatoes were like candy, sweet, firm, delicious. The cheese was moist and soft enhanced by the earthy basil and savory saba vinegar. I could eat that salad daily.

Other tempting appetizers included sweet corn soup made from farmer’s market sweet corn, parsley pistou and crostini ($11), Maison Giraud flat tart with black mission figs, manchego, parmesan and duck proscuitto ($15), smoked salmon and caviar on brioche toast ($18) and the signature dish, seared scallops with leeks fondue, fried leek and pistachio sauce ($17).

Roasted Monkfish
Roasted Monkfish

We ordered two main courses. The monkfish filet with farmer’s market black beans, asparagus and lemon ($27) and a summer asparagus risotto consisting of green asparagus, sugar snaps, fresh herbs and aged parmesan ($20).

Summer Asparagus Risotto
Summer Asparagus Risotto

The monkfish was delicious, firm and meaty, but I did not care for the black beans. The risotto was fabulous, light, the vegetables crisp and perfectly prepared.

We chatted with our neighbors and one couple was actually visiting from Paris so we discussed the Parisienne restaurant scene.

Alain Giraud
Alain Giraud

The owner/chef, Alian Giraud was born in Paris to a family of restaurateurs. He credits his two grandmothers as his inspiration. He received his degree in the culinary arts at Nîmes Culinary School before working at some of France’s most distinguished restaurants.

Giraud arrived in Los Angeles in 1988 and joined Michel Richard at Citrus as Chef de Cuisine. Together they made Citrus into a top U.S. dining establishment. Giraud went on to open several other acclaimed restaurants.

In 2003, Giraud was named “Chef of the Year” by Bon Appétit Magazine and became the first chef in the western United States to receive the French Gold Medal of Tourism.

We were tempted with dessert at the very beginning of our introduction to Maison Giraud. The chocolate souffle ($15) is a house specialty and must be ordered with the entree. It did not disappoint. Light, moist with a crispy bottom accompanied by creme Chantilly and creme Anglaise. C’est magnifique.

We enjoyed a lovely night out and the food was wonderful. I think Maison Giraud will become a stable and it is definitely geographically desirable.

If you have a desire to hit the beach and wander through the West Los Angeles ‘burbs, definitely engage in a delightful culinary trip from the french Provencal countryside to Pacific Palisades.

Maison Giraud is also a must for breakfast and brunch. The pastries and the croissants ($3.75), in particular, are purportedly incredible from the on-site bakery. Noubar Yessayan is the Head Baker and Pastry Chef.

Maison Giraud Croissant
Maison Giraud Croissant

 

One Comment

  1. It seems like you are off to delicious beginning in your new ‘nabe’.

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