What Giselle Wellman's Bringing To Petrossian

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Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

Petrossian has long served West Hollywood with spectacular food in an attractive setting with all the caviar one would expect from the legendary Paris institution that spawned it. For some reason, it rarely seems to be even half as full as The Ivy nearby, despite the clear and acknowledged superiority of its cuisine and experience. Maybe diners are intimidated by the reputation, the name, or the very presence of so much caviar. The restaurant's new executive chef, Giselle Wellman, might be the one to change this.

Under the command of the young toque (whose past experience includes such fine-dining institutions as Jean Georges, Alinea, Bouchon, Jack's La Jolla, and Del Posto) Petrossian feels more accessible than ever. Following the departure of the lauded Ben Bailly, Wellman stripped the menu down to two pages, with one side devoted to the caviar-topped classics, and the other bearing her own signature dishes where top-quality ingredients and time-honored technique overrule fancy, and no entree (save a flatiron steak) goes over $30. What results is a streamlined offering of great dishes that feel like they've emerged organically from the chef's experience, where caviar is used when needed, but not as a mandatory accessory, and some of the best dishes don't use it at all. Check out our slide show of what Wellman is cooking at Petrossian.