It is hard to imagine a culinary world where caviar is not part of a vocabulary that denotes power, riches, and zillion dollar lobster frittata. At the forefront of this bougie history are the Petrossian brothers, who brought caviar to Paris in the 1920s, and in 1984, opened their namesake restaurant in the Alwyn Court Building. Having trudged through the snow to get to the upper west side, I certainly felt that I had chosen the right climate backdrop for this excursion.
The decor and pace of the restaurant was old-fashioned, but refreshingly calm from the usual screaming match I have at “trendy” brunch spots. We start with blini and caviar, which was transmontanus USA farmed. The blini, served I am told, more often in the winter, was lovely with creme fraiche–with sweet and oceanic savory mixing wonderfully. The eggs, easily crushed with the tongue, really did not disappoint as the flagship flavor.
Another powerful sweet and savory combination was the seared Hudson valley foie gras with blackberries, served atop poached fennel. Just sweet enough to cut and carry some of the liver’s natural fats, and still not overwhelm. Another duck dish had arrived as well, duck confit risotto. A tad on the salty savory side, but with full confit flavor.
Having not ordered any variety of steak tartare, I was itching for some steak served rare. My “steak & eggs” arrived, grilled but with a healthy red glow, with a fried egg in a ring shape perfectly in-line with herbs potato. A nicely prepared and appetizing dish, but nothing that is too much worth noting. The other entree was the smoked salmon eggs benedict. The smoke salmon of course, being another one of their specialties was a home run, but the eggs were somewhat over poached. The picture perfect running egg free-flowing with hollandaise was conspicuously lacking, but still, the composition was well executed.
Finally, the dessert. And I must say, as much Parisian influence this place may have, caviar peddlers to me always have a real Russian opulent vibe. This I treat as a wonderful thing, but perhaps did not arm me with high expectations for sweets. Unsurprisingly, the coconut flake-topped blueberry cake was just shy of moist, and perhaps needed more care in construction. Another blini would have easily satisfied me in any case.
Not exactly your Russian tea room, but the restaurant definitely carries an air of distinction due its history. And what carries the restaurant is its line of luxuries: caviar, smoked salmon, foie gras. It treats these flavors with classic dignity–at Petrossian, you sit and dine without fear of anyone mistreating these culinary gems.
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182 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019