Restaurant: Maison Giraud [1, 2, 3]
Location: 1032 Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Palisades, Ca 90272. 310-459-7562
Date: Winter/Spring, 2012
Rating: French “home” cooking at it’s best
Maison Giraud is the closest fine dining to my house. Pacific Palisades doesn’t have a lot of great food, but this restaurant/bakery is from acclaimed LA French chef Alain Giraud.
The Swathmore Ave frontage has been revealing itself in stages since at least the 4th of July.
Inside the chef peers down at your from the French-style board.
My wife and I had our Valentine’s Day reservation here, which turned out to be a damn good choice as the day before I crushed the bones in my left hand, and couldn’t have managed to travel further. There was a set menu, which can be hit or miss on this overcrowded holiday, but turned out great at MG.
“Oyster & Champagne Gelee.” Notice the aphrodisiac theme.
“Tender Greens & Beets Salad. Citrus Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese.”
“Burrata Agnolotti. Hearts of Broccolis, Pomegranate Seduction.”
“Scallops ‘Valentino’ Piquillo, Cauliflower, Chorizo.”
“Red Snapper. Saffron-Fennel Broth. Spring Peas.”
“Veal Tenderloin. Spinach Cream, Red Wine Sexy Sauce.”
“Macaron Harmony for Two. Litchis & Rose Cream & Raspberries.” This dessert was absolutely amazing. I love rosewater and this had that classic soft flavor. The texture of the Macaron was also perfect.
Below is a composite dinner built from 2-3 visits.
From my cellar: Fin Amour, a blockbuster wine that redefines that cliché with energy and precision. Those centenarian vines of Grenache and Carignan pictured above are actually located in Maury, a miniscule appellation across the Spanish border in Roussillon that’s traditionally famous for immortal dessert wines (we had a recently released Maury from 1928 in the shop the other day, to give you an idea of their longevity). The appellation is conservative about their stickies, so Case and Shiverick did forgo the classification to make a low-yield Cotes de Catalanes dry red wine of 70% Grenache and 30% Carignan. These Bonsai like vines stubbornly live on an outcrop of chopped up schist, which is ideal for giving the few grapes they produce their incredible Catalonian minerality and aromatically spiced fruit.
“Vegetable Salad. Seasonal Market Vegetables with Coriander and Lemon.”
Pistou is a classic southern French soup, cousin to minestrone.
“Soup ‘Au Pistou’. Farmers Market Vegetables, Pearl Pasta, Almond and Basil Pistou.”
You can see the minestrone resemblance here. The French version is a little milder.
“Farm Eggs. Town and Country. Light Mushroom Custard, Rustic Egg Cocotte.” I like the creamy fraiche inside the egg thingy.
“Loup de Mer ‘Barigoule’. Baby Artichokes, Basil Pistou, Tomato Confit.”
“Colorado Lamb Filet. Spring Onions, Fava Beans, Fennel Panisse, Black Olive Sauce.”
“Steak special. Sauce Au Poivre.” Simple French classic.
“Classic boulibase.” MG serves a modest sized portion, which actually can be a good thing. I paired this with a nice Provencal Rose.
“Chocolate Soufflé Traditional Soufflé, Crème Chantilly, Crème Anglaise.” A total classic, and as good as any Chocolate Soufflé I’ve had.
“Vacherin Glacé Lavender Ice Cream, Strawberries, Meringue.” This is a Giraud staple and rather wonderful, particularly because of the Lavender thing. It has certain similarities to the Valentines Rose flavored Macaron, but is crunchier.
We also go frequently for Brunch/Lunch.
“French Toast. Brioche, Crème Chantilly, Homemade Preserves.” I’d kill for this Crème Chantilly.
“House Burger Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes, Aioli.”
“Maison Giraud ‘Cobb’ Salad, Blue Cheese Vinaigrette.”
“Le Plateau.” Everyday they offer a set plate with three items. This particular day it included a salmon caesar to the right, scallops in the center, and a bit of bread pudding.
So far, I’m very pleased with Maison Giraud. The food is essentially French comfort food with a bit of international adaption, but everything has been spot on fresh and well done so far, and the bakery is outrageously good. Given how incredibly lame most of the Pacific Palisades food offerings are this is all incredibly welcome.
For my previous review, see here.