When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Petite Maison Location: 7216 East Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale Brunch: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday Eats: French favorites with a gourmet twist. Price Range: $20 to $40 per person.
In February, James Porter, chef and owner of Petite Maison, announced his gig was over at Big Earl's BBQ, where he was chef and operating manager for just over a year, and that he would be bringing back his champagne brunch (as well as lunch) to his Parisian bistro in Scottsdale.
And so he did. Petite's brunch menu, a collection of French favorites with a gourmet twist, can be had a la carte or as a three-course affair ($35) with a little hair of the chien in the form of champagne or mimosas.
The first thing to know about Petite Maison's Sunday brunch is that the hors d'oeuvres are not the standard few nibbles of goodness -- they are meals in themselves. Porter's gourmet take on poutine ($8), golden pomme frites sprinkled with truffled, squeak-when-you-chew-'em cheese curds in a light veal jus, was deliciously addictive, but the pile-size serving was easily enough for a table and should have came with a warning from the server. And after my last bite of the stellar brioche French toast ($9), featuring thick, golden pieces of wonderfully rich, eggy, and buttery bread topped with fresh strawberries, a light maple syrup, and a dollop of luscious chestnut butter -- I could have left a happy gal. Delicious.
On the entree side, there is a good dish called Oeufs Maison ($17), Porter's French-ified take on Eggs Benedict, with a zesty Maltaise sauce (a derivative of Hollandaise sauce with blanched orange zest and the juice of blood orange) atop poached eggs, asparagus, spicy pork sausage, and a thick slice of toasted brioche; and an even better dish featuring two herbed crepes ($16) rolled around melt-in-your-mouth moist and flavorful duck confit with a mushroom sauce, topped with greens, and resting in a pool of carrot puree.
Alas, there were no beignets the morning of my visit, which means I'll have to come back again. Shouldn't be a problem.