Finally, after over two years of waiting, I can report that La Provence Patisserie & Cafe has opened its doors in Brentwood. The husband was actually the first one to notice as he was driving by - the balloons were out and the signs were up. I was very excited - I have been waiting for the promise of Parisian macaroons ever since I saw that La Provence was moving in.
That very day, the husband and I walked down Barrington to San Vicente, filled with the anticipation of trying a new restaurant in our neighborhood. I knew exactly what I wanted - French onion soup and macaroons. Anything else would just be gravy.
When we showed up, we found out that La Provence hadn’t even been opened for a week yet. They were definitely still trying to work out the tweaks, and the liquor license hadn’t come through yet, but the pastries were on display, and that’s really all that mattered. The restaurant is decorated with a French country-casual flair: wrought iron painted white, knotty pine dining tables, and lots of flowers. It was very homey. To up the casual factor, you order at the counter and the food is brought out to you.
The thing that caught my eye, however, was the fact that they actually put green chenille blankets on the patio, you know, in case you get cold. I thought that was genius! Not only did it make me feel like someone was thinking of me, but it made the patio that much more inviting.
When we got up to the counter to order, the staff seemed friendly and knowledgeable - aka, not very French. Right away, I asked if they had French onion soup. It turned out they did, but it was vegetarian! What? No beef stock? I was nervous, but decided to go for it. I figured it might not taste exactly right, but it would still be good in its own way. I decided to order this as part of their pick any salad as a half salad and add any soup for $1 over the regular salad price. The salad I chose was the wild grilled salmon.
Oh, and I also got a cappuccino:
Let me tell you, that was delicious. I didn’t add any sugar, but did they? All I know is, there was no trace of bitterness at all. It was absolutely wonderful - there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a hoppin’ breakfast joint. In fact, that gives me a really good idea of what to do tomorrow morning, but I digress….
Next up was our food. As I mentioned already, I ordered the vegetarian French onion soup along with the wild grilled salmon salad:
Oh man, look at that soup! It was amazing - the cheese was thick and stringy, and perfectly covered the soaked bread beneath. And the broth - you would never know that it didn’t have beef stock. It was rich and complex, and very onion-y. As for the salmon…eh. I thought it was a bit dry and over cooked. The greens were nice and refreshing, and the grilled veggies were tastey. But, next time I will just get the soup. It was huge and delicious. There was really no need to complicate things with salmon.
The husband ordered the beef steak panini with avocado, tomato, Swiss cheese, and aioli:
It, too, was a bit dry. However, he was able to get some au jus on the side, which he said made a big difference. Overall, it wasn’t too impressive. Perhaps our dry meats were due to the fact that the place had just opened - we would definitely be willing to give it another shot. But, the soup was perfection, in case you weren’t sure how I felt about that.
Next up, and the reason I was so excited to go there in the first place: dessert! We actually decided to get this to go. Obviously, I was all about the macaroons. The husband opted for a red velvet cupcake.
We were both happy with our choices. The cupake was moist - not too sweet either. The macaroons were very sweet - perfect for me as I have a big sweet tooth. The cakes on the macaroons were perfect - crisp on the outside and spongy on the inside. The cream filling between the cakes was creamy and delicious. The three flavors above were hazelnut, coffee, and raspberry, the hazelnut being the best of the three.
The dessert was so good that we actually went back the next week just for that (no pictures, sorry!). The husband got a cream puff, which was rich and fluffy. I went for two more macaroons, and those two were the best by far. I chose the vanilla and the caramel fleur de sel. OMG. The vanilla was so creamy, and you could see the vanilla beans in the cream filling. The carmel was the perfect balance of salt and sugar, if you like that kind of thing (read: I like that kind of thing). The filling was actual carmel, not a cream. Seriously, unbelievable. I could have eaten a dozen of each.
In all, I would suggest La Provence Patisserie & Cafe. If nothing else, you have to try the soup, coffee, and pastries. And really, is there much else to life? I’m not sure there is.