My favorite LA Food Critic has taught me that the appearance of a restaurant does not always mean the food and the service will speak for itself. My recent dining experience at Le Petit Paris for dinner was a big disappointment. This new restaurant got a lot of media press for being a new haute dining spot for French Brasserie food in Downtown Los Angeles. Heck, it had all the markings of a fine dining repertoire. For instance, it’s French-owned, it has a menu of typical French Brasserie dishes, and the restaurant exudes French elegant decor. There were a lot of photos posted in all of the local food media websites that showed the attractiveness of this restaurant, the contemporary art murals that adorn the walls, and a grand staircase that models something out of the soon-to-be final TV show called Downton Abbey. To my dismay, Le Petit Paris fell short of being classified as a high-end, haute cuisine dining establishment. Everything from the food, the Hostesses, the Bar Service, and the music was disjointed. To reach the standard of being a $$$ or a $$$$ dining establishment, there has to be consistency behind the food and the service.
I’ve had my fair share of dining in French Brasseries during trips to Paris, France. I’ve been to fancy ones and to small neighborhood ones that are unknown to tourists. The service was always impeccable, polished, and respectable. The service quality, however, did not transcend at Le Petit Paris in DTLA. I arrived 15 minutes earlier than my dinner guests and ordered a Champagne Cocktail, which coincidentally was called Le Petit Paris. The Hostess assured me that she would direct my guests to meet me at the Bar. They did, but she seated them at our table while I was still seated at the bar with my cocktail. I waited a few minutes in hopes that she will get a hostess tray to move my drink and amuse bouche from the bar to the table and, in turn, escort me to my seat at the table. Instead, she stood at the table with my guests waiting for me to arrive. This service faux pas gave me the impression that she was not properly trained in Hostessing and seating customers. She was sweet and friendly, but again, I could tell that she was not properly trained in handling customers in the front of the house. Reluctantly, I had to move myself, my own drink, the complimentary amuse bouche, my purse, and my coat to the table by myself.
After bidding our Hostess adieu, our Server arrived. I couldn’t help but notice the stressful look on his face. Like me, he was distracted by the loud club music blaring throughout the restaurant. The throbbing DJ house music ruined my first impression within 15 minutes after stepping inside. I have had my fair share of dining throughout Downtown Los Angeles and this was the first time the music did not match the dining ambiance and clientele. Sometimes the pride of having a resident French DJ spin tunes is not necessary to complete the Frenchness of a French restaurant. The club music was not necessary and seemingly lowered the classiness of this restaurant.
The food needs the biggest improvement of all. It doesn’t look like a Chef is preparing the food and it certainly doesn’t look like a Chef is expediting the dishes before it’s delivered to the tables. The overall plating looks uninspiring, harsh, and rigid, which is so unlike the French cuisine that we all know. French cuisine is known for cooking competitions in preparing and plating food like the Bocuse D’Or, a well-known food competition in France. The food at Le Petit Paris is delivered to the table looking like dive bar food and not high-end food.
The only exceptions were the Burgundy Escargot and the Grand Chocolate Eclair; everything else, however, looked like a discombobulated mess.
Le Petit Paris would have to improve in many aspects of their restaurant if they want to compete with other restaurants in the Downtown Los Angeles dining scene. I think they can improve. For now, this place is not worth the $$$ that I paid for my dining experience.
Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my Yelp and it seems to have been popular among the Yelpers who found humor in my bad dining experience.