“The virgin sturgeon is a very fine fish” and caviar is a very fine food

On the very tony North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, is a very chic restaurant, Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique, but then that’s nothing new in this part of the world. Any of the adjectives.., smart, swell, stunning, lovely, airy, exquisite, excellent menu…are expected, this being the street of stars and retailers who entice them into their boutiques with exotic and different offerings.

But Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique, the ‘caviar mavens’ for almost 100 years, is special. Sitting at a table at one of the bright windows in this spanking white, small, exclusive eatery, it’s easy to see why the celebrities toddle in on their Manolo Blahniks and Louboutins for either lunch or dinner or hop out of their limos to purchase this mighty black roe.

No one knows more about these delicious roe than Christopher Klapp, the young general manager is like a sommelier of caviar. With a variety of 28 different species the Boutique currently has 7 different species of sturgeon from which they make caviar, including 4 imported varieties, it can, at times, be like a wine tasting session. And not being able to import Beluga caviar into the USA hasn’t affected Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique since they have an enormous sturgeon farm in northern California. They carry farm raised sturgeon procured from around the globe. The best seller and most affordable is their farm-raised Transmontanus (White Sturgeon) from Northern California.

My very sophisticated friend who was my eating companion, was delighted to see small mother of pearl spoons set on the table, not realizing that these utensils are mandatory with caviar. “Any metal touching the delicate eggs give them a metallic taste,” says Chris, without being condescending. “That’s the importance of horn, bone, non- reactive gold or mother of pearl versus the common metal cutlery.” That was the first lesson to be taught. However, I must admit, even though I enjoyed hearing his explanation, I knew this essential issue.

Course 1- One of the most popular caviar for celebs and billionaires with the deep pocket is Royal Transmontanus and it appeared on the table in its original glass container, set in a bowl of ice . Caviar starts per ounce at $49 to $120 for the Classic Transmontanus.

On the side were the capers, onions and chopped eggs and a plate of minature blinis. Chris taught us another lesson. “Really good caviar should be eaten without all the garnishing . The original reason for all the side toppings was to cover up inferior caviar or those that were about to go bad.” Here at Petrossian you will never have that problem. We bring you the finest Caviars from around the world and you should enjoy just that, a blini with crème fraiche is fine, but personally I like to enjoy the Caviar all by itself,” says Klapp.

Recognizing the mad pace of life, another learning experience, as Chris sees it, is to allow yourself time to taste. ” Let the caviar rest on your tongue for a few seconds, smell it and see the difference in taste,” says Chris.

The wonderfully original second presentation of Egg Royale, (scrambled egg, vodka whipped cream, caviar)was set in a real, neatly clipped eggshell and tenderly coddled and layered.

Chef Giselle Wellman loves to create and she has put caviar on pizza and into dips for French fries.

“It’s never possible to have bad caviar here,” says Chef Giselle , the San Diego born, young woman who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Mexico City.

I mentioned something about caviar being one of two of my favorite foods. “What’s the other ,” asked Chris. “Foie gras,” I answered. Out of the kitchen came Chef Giselle instantly, saying that they make a terrific pasta topped with foie gras. That did it. My year was made. Two of the best and probably most unhealthy foods if you believe that salt is forbidden as is fat. But who cared in this situation. Besides, Chris, my new guru, told me really good caviar is devoid of an overly salty taste but does have a slight marine brim. As for the foie gras, well, it’s worth taking the chance.

To end this foodie pig out, two platters appeared- Vanilla Panna Cotta (espresso caviar, cardamom shortbread cookies) and Almond Crème Brule.

Well, there went any thoughts of my diet but I would easily have this menu as a weekly event and give up other favorite foods.

Certainly, I’ll never return to Los Angeles without going to West Hollywood for another incredible lunch or dinner at Petrossian Restaurant and Boutique, number one on my ‘must have’ list.

321 North Robertson Blvd. 310 271 6300