CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Le Petit Gris, French Bistro, Gemmayze
Le Petit Gris: A Rich Selection of Fine Dining Creations
When people ask me about my favorite French bistro in Lebanon, one of the Top three choices always on my mind is Le Petit Gris. Time has passed since I last came here. In 2014, Le Petit Gris entered my Top10 list of desserts, meat and hamburgers. Today, the experience was as good as I'd expected, professional service, generous portions, fresh food and most importantly, it was all tasty.
Le Petit Gris' entrance, located on Sacre-Coeur Gemmayze, cannot be missed. You can access it from the small street on the right after passing Paul on the way down from Tabaris, or take the last street on the left coming from Rue Pasteur.
A two-door shop behind a large glass facade with a very high ceiling, white walls and many bottles decorating the right side. A place filled with square tables and a bar like real French bistros. The ambiance is what makes it special, people talking, laughing and enjoying every minute spent in here.
We were seated and the first impression comes from the wine list; a small booklet, written by hand, offering a large selection of local and international wines. A set of cutlery, the paper menu, a glass of water, a bread plate and a table napkin.
Their bread comes from their neighbor, Paul, and is guaranteed to break your jaw; hard, not too fresh and super chewy. Bizarre how Burgundy uses the same bread and manages to make it a piece of art. Heat it and toast it a bit, it makes a difference. Maybe they should learn from Burgundy, or change their supplier.
Even though the menu is still the same from last year, Le Petit Gris is known for their specialties of the day, written on a large board as well as the small board that travels around the tables. The choices are endless. Please let someone help with the writing to minimize the hundreds of spelling mistakes!
We were four that night, we enjoyed a nice bottle of wine, had a selection of appetizers, a fine meal, followed by a good dessert. I would suggest you try the daily catch of fresh fish, which they prepare in tartar.
Starters were served:
- The Beef Salad: This Asian beef salad served in a bowl is a selection of fine greenery with rice noodles, as well as an extremely tender meat on top.
- The artichoke salad is simple yet tasty and innovative. Tender artichokes served with truffle oil to add a touch of finesse, which transforms a simple salad into a starter that will make you smile.
- Zucchini Carpaccio: Simply zucchini, but not a simple salad. Thinly sliced sushi served on a round plate with a mountain of greenery.
- The fried calamari: I personally loved them! I loved their tenderness and juiciness without being oily, their subtle crunchiness without being transformed into chips, and the portion size, which is generous enough and served with a cocktail sauce on the side. I'll come back for it.
- Tartare de daurade: One of the tastiest dishes at Le Petit Gris, a cylindrical portion of fish cut in cubes with its lemony juice and perfect seasoning of chives, coriander and orange, which gives it a tangy taste. A tender fish, full of taste.
Afterwards came the main plates:
- Tartare de saumon: As good as you'd expect, served in a cylindrical style, cubes of fresh salmon with dill and capers.
- Pesto spaghetti with Bulot: That's a yummy plate full of Bulot, which in English are whelks, or sea snails. Perfectly cooked al dente pasta, mixed with a pesto sauce without garlic, alongside some whelks. The whelks' problem is that they don't taste of much by themselves, so what gives this plate its taste is the pasta. Pick one gooey snail, roll some pasta around the fork and enjoy.
- Steak frite with salad: My personal choice was their steak and fries served with a side salad. Since the sauce contained garlic, mine was replaced with a pepper sauce. Looking at this clean plate made me realize how enjoyable it would be. A clean, neat piece of super tender meat served next to a mountain of tiny, crispy fries, a salad and the side sauce. Sauce on the fries, a bit on the meat and there I was enjoying a simple plate with tonight's perfect choice of wine, Tour de Pez.
- Veal with pasta and salad. Tender veal, but the sauce needed a bit more flavor.
The details I love at Le Petit Gris:
- Their menu will please all tastes.
- Glasses by Riedel will make your wine experience very enjoyable.
- Villeroy & Boch plates, that's not something you find in many restaurants.
- The staff is professional and attentive, making sure to satisfy every demanding customer.
After that, we decided to have dessert. We were offered a plate of mignardise or Madelaine, which I believe should have been offered with coffee, not before dessert- bad timing. Small shells with crunchy border and a fluffy heart loaded with orange blossom. They're good.
- Grilled banana: A full banana cut in half and cooked to perfection, filled with crunchy almonds and a scoop of ice cream. Super crunchy roasted almonds with a scoop of ice cream from Oslo and melting, hot caramelized banana bathed in balsamic vinegar. That's good, that's very good.
- Profiteroles: Amazing! Three portions of profiteroles filled with ice cream from Oslo, dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with roast almonds. The profiteroles are freshly homemade and it shows.
- Tarte Tatin: I loved everything else, but surely not that. The apple taste is way too sweet.
- Chocolate Fondant: Even though a bit sweet, the dough, which is fresh and tender, hosts a melting chocolate heart which offers some interesting and enjoyable flavors. I like the texture of this dessert, its color and taste. Recommended!
- The food is tasty.
- The menu is super varied.
- I love the ambiance and that is what makes all the difference.
- The specialty of the day board is full of spelling mistakes.
- It's too hot in here.
Le Petit Gris maintains its title for excellence.