We love French cuisine, so when we had an opportunity to review Le P’tit Laurent recently, a French restaurant not far from our San Francisco hood, we couldn’t be more excited. Although it’s been around for around a decade, and we’ve passed it a number of times, we never made the effort to try it out.
As French foodies know, not all French food is the same and certainly not all French restaurants are the same. Much more authentic than I expected, Le P’tit Laurent owner and chef Laurent Legendre has no shortage of passion for food and wine and it stems far beyond Paris. Despite the fact that he is Parisian born and raised, Laurent studied at the internationally acclaimed Ecole Hoteliere and worked at top Parisian restaurants Tour d‘argent, Elysee Le Notre, Arpege and Amphycles and….it shows.
Although his experience largely stems from Paris, the influence of the dishes on the Le P’tit Laurent menu reach much further which we love. Healthy and light can also be found on the menu, from their Salade de Crottin de Chavignol (chavignol cheese with salad and pears), which we tried (BELOW) and the Tuna Tartar to the more classic French Frisee salad with bacon and poached egg.
Appetizers at Le P’tit Laurent
Appetizers are one of my favorite parts of a leisurely French meal, especially when Foie Gras is on the menu. Here, they served it with a fruit compote truffle oil sauce and paired it with a 2015 Cht. Grillon Sauternes — t’was so perfect!!
Also classic in every way on the menu, was their Escargots from Burgundy. Because I’m such a garlic lover (and who doesn’t love French butter?), we had to order them. Pure bliss is all I can say. We paired the escargots with a 2016 Languedoc Reserve de L’Aude Syrah although their wine menu is robust enough for plenty of other lovely pairing choices.
Also on the menu is a classically French House Pate with Cornichons and Croutons, which I order often with a class of Bordeaux whenever I’m in Paris. On the lighter side, opt for their Tuna Tartar with Cilantro, Onions, Ginger and Bell Pepper — you won’t be disappointed.
For vegetarians, they offer a few options, including a wide variety of veggie side dishes (the Ratatouille shown above is our favorite). They also have Spinach & Onions, Mixed Vegetables and a Stuffed Zucchini dish that looked amazing. Given how much we love classic French food from every part of the country (read about my Normandy and Brittany trip a few years back — we even have a whole section on Brittany & Normandy — the food was exquisite), we had to order some of the more classic dishes on the menu from the South of France.
For example, their Encrusted Lamb is served in a Provence herb sauce and their home made Cassoulet (BELOW), also from the south is served with beans, duck leg confit, pork and Toulouse sausage. Anthony polished this off with a scrumptious 2015 Bordeaux Chateaux Robin Saint-Denis (two thumbs up!)
For those who have traveled to southern France know, this typical dish is a simple casserole of haricot beans stewed with mutton, pork or sausages from Castelnaudary, which is the the main harbour of the Canal du Midi that joins the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
Who doesn’t love Coq au Vin especially when prepared by a French chef as experienced as Laurent? That said, despite the fact that it was on the menu, I had to go for the Rabbit Normandy Stew, largely because you don’t always find Rabbit on a menu and Coq au Vin is much more common. Here, they prepare it in a puff pastry shell with carrots. Mussel lovers will be happy to know that they serve them in white wine and with French fries. (locals from Belgium will also love this Glen Park restaurant gem).
Dessert is equally divine, from the Chocolate Fondant with Coconut Sorbet (BELOW) to the classic home made Creme Brulee. They also offer Caramelized French Toast, with Caramel Ice Cream, a Pear Tart, Vanilla Ice Cream Profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce, a cheese plate, a Nougat Glace with Red Fruit Sauce and more. Menus chnage from time-to-time so be sure to check out their website for the latest.
The ambiance is intimate and charming but also fun. You’ll find creative touches throughout, such as the Madame serviette holders, the authentic EAU water glasses, and the authentically French posters plastered on the ceilings, walls and bathroom door.
Would we return? You betcha. It’s great for a cozy but romantic evening out (any night of the week) or to simply sit at the bar, order a big glass of Bordeaux with a bowl of their homemade warm French bread & pate and talk to locals until the cows come home. Two thumbs up!
Le P’tit Laurent
699 Chenery Street
San Francisco CA 94131
Note: we were guests of the restaurant by all opinions expressed are entirely our own.