la petite france
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La Petite France
December, 2011, Page 150
Photos by David Moore
Smoked salmon flammekueche
Vive les crêpes!
Husband-wife restaurateurs bring a taste of Alsace to Scottsdale Road.
La Petite France is a most
apropos name for this charming Scottsdale bistro – it’s truly a miniature piece of French paradise. Owners and recent Arizona transplants Denis and Catherine Michel (yes, it’s a bona fide mom-and-pop shop) doted on us all night and became visibly giddy when we showed sincere appreciation for their wares. I’ve been to France three times – once, just a day trip to Strasbourg, the owners’ hometown – and contrary to popular perception, the people are warm, hospitable and wildly receptive to anyone interested in their food and culture.
The atmosphere at La Petite France is café-cute and exhibits typical French attention to detail, with beautiful dishes, proper glassware and aesthetically pleasing presentations. Food is likewise high quality, with everything from pâté to pastries made in-house.
After your amuse-bouche, start with flammekueche: light-as-air, crispy flatbread. We loved the can’t-go-wrong combo of smoked salmon, capers, dill, crème fraîche and razor-thin red onion slices ($16.95). Delicate, savory crêpes ($7.95 to $12.95) are also impeccable, as is the assiette campagnarde ($10.95) featuring melt-in-your-mouth pâté and salad with champagne vinaigrette.
cuisse de canard (duck leg with orange jus)
You can easily make a meal out of an appetizer and crêpes, but the entrées are French comfort classics at their finest. Even better, the restaurant combines the French tradition of prix fixe menus with the American love of choices by allowing diners to create a three-course menu of appetizer, entrée and dessert for $30 (with upcharges for a few items).
Choucroute royale, an Alsatian specialty, was killer: a garrison of house-made charcuterie, including phenomenal sausage, bacon, ham and pork shoulder, posted around a bed of house-made sauerkraut cooked in riesling. Supreme de coq a l’achalotte (chicken in wine sauce, $19.95), was another favorite, with juicy dark chicken leg and thigh drenched in a strong, luscious wine gravy served over spätzle. (Alsace is, after all, on the border of Germany.)
Beef bourguignon ($21.95), with knockout garlic mashed potatoes on the side, and lip-smacking cuisse de canard (duck leg with confit orange jus, $22.95) also jetted me instantly back to Europe.
Save room for dessert crêpes (most are $8.95). Feather-light, filled with fruits and topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar, they’re some of the best I’ve had anywhere. The wine list was brief and undergoing changes at press time, but expect excellent French selections. Grab a glass of vin and a seat on the darling patio, and toast to la belle vie.
inside La Petite France
La Petite France
: 7001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
: 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday,
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
: Smoked salmon flammekueche ($16.95), Montagnarde crêpe ($11.95), Montmarte crêpe ($9.95), assiette campagnarde et salad (pâté plate with salad, $10.95), supreme de coq a l’achalotte (chicken in wine sauce, $19.95), choucroute royale (charcuterie with sauerkraut, $23.95), cuisse de canard (duck leg with orange jus, $22.95), crêpe Belle-Hélène ($8.95), crêpe banana split ($8.95)
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