Sunday, October 19, 2008

Petit Louis Bistro in Baltimore gets bravos (mostly)

We were at a concert in Baltimore late yesterday afternoon on the north side of the city and decided to finally try PETIT LOUIS BISTRO ( which has been garnering raves for years and is indeed, a TRUE French bistro.

From the marble-like stone tabletops, the wooden floors, some etched and some stained glass and the small globe lights, one really does feel as if one is in Paris! The service is superb and friendly, and we enjoyed everything we ate.

I started with the SOUPE a LAPIN BRAISE, a wonderful broth loaded with shredded rabbit and autumn vegetables that was just what the doctor ordered on this first super cold autumn eve. Will had the CUISSES de GRENOUILLES and swore these frogs had a huge workout as they were the meatiest legs ever loaded with garlic, wine and butter sauce in the most traditional of preparations. This did call for the very nice "boule" of bread to mop up.

We drank a leathery, smoky and totally superb GIGONDAS from St. DAMIEN 2005 Vieilles Vignes to start that worked well alone or with the food and moved on to a huge 2003 Gigondas from DOMAINE SANTA DUC "Prestiges des Garrigues" that screamed for food, and was indeed, much better after our server Adam offered to decant it. Here was my major gripe with Petit Louis..the stemware. While it is RIEDEL, it is all too small for the huge reds they are selling, especially those costing more than say $80, or shall we say $300 that require larger glasses to aerate the wine while it is drunk, and to allow the nose to penetrate as well. We mentioned this to the manager and sommelieuse and they both said the owner has repeatedly refused to get larger (and more expensive) glasses as too many are broken. Yes, we heard at least two go while we were there!

We split a yummy BEET, CHEVRE and Mache salad with a light vinaigrette.

Our entrees were just as good with Will enjoying the GIGOT d'AGNEAU, a Lamb Leg Steak with a huge pile of POMMES FRITES (that's fries) and a Beurre Maitre' d'Hotel (which was really just a small slab of herb butter for taste). My CONFIT de CANARD would not have been enough of a dish alone, but was a perfect entree with the appetizer and 1/2 salad. It was a duck leg served over Local CRANBERRY BEANS in a light broth with Garlic, Bacon and Sweet Candy Onions.

We saw the cheese tray which looked quite good and went into shock when they said it was served by the portion at $4.00 each slice! So, if I wanted four types, it would have been $16.00 and this seemed a bit too much, so we passed the remaining two glasses of wine to our friend, world famous Polish contralto, Ewa Podles (who sang the recital earlier) and her husband, Jerzy, who were dining nearby and headed back to DC.