Check me out eating caviar at my desk this morning. That’s right, me, Ms. Foodie on a Budget. True, these three tins of caviar were left over from my tres fancy and comped Caviar 101 dinner which was created by chef Ben Bailly at Petrossian West Hollywood last night but still! Who would have thought I’d suddenly be savvy in caviar? Not me.
Before the dinner, my only encounters with caviar had been few and far between. After all, it is a luxury I cannot afford. Besides, meh, fancy fish eggs. But after getting schooled on how to enjoy the fish eggs, let alone the different farms and even history of them, I’ve come away from my dinner an appreciator of the salty pearls.
Petrossian had invited me as well as media types like Javier of Teenage Glutster and Pat of Eating LA to partake of this educational supper as a way to show that caviar is more accessible and affordable than we all thought.
Sure, we started out with a trio of tins each containing 30 grams of caviar ranging in price from $63 to $170 and the restaurant’s monthly Monday Caviar 101 tasting session is $100 a person but there are also more “affordable” and approachable options on the Petrossian menu, like the $26 smoked salmon pizzette with caviar or the $18 blinis with caviar, trout roe and salmon roe should you feel like treating yourself without putting your rent check at risk.
And if you ever want to treat that special someone, i.e. Mom, to a decadent brunch, check out the champagne and caviar brunch which is $69 for champagne and three courses such as an egg salad caviar sandwich, caviar pizza and crème brulee.
So during this special tasting, which Petrossian admits is above and beyond what they usually do for their monthly tastings — i.e. they flew out caviar from New York just for us — I learned 10 things about caviar and Petrossian that I’d like to share with you should you ever want to give caviar here a go.
- Do not eat caviar with metal as it will transfer a metallic taste to the eggs. The tins Petrossian uses are actually coated with a nonreactive metal. Their boutique also sells a special caviar paddle, the cheapest one is $65.
- Champagne actually isn’t the drink of choice to go with caviar. Traditionally it’s vodka but Petrossian doesn’t currently have a full liquor license so, alas, champagne will have to do. Aw.
- Petrossian has their own smoke house outside of Paris where they smoke their own salmon.
- Once you open a jar/tin of caviar you only have a day to eat it before it goes bad.
- At $170/30 grams, the Tsar Imperial Ossetra is the most expensive caviar the Petrossian boutique carries.
- Petrossian doesn’t serve their caviar with red chopped onions which is how some places mask the taste of inferior caviar.
- The nicer the caviar the less “bells and whistles” you need, like having it on toast with crème fraiche. Premium caviar can be enjoyed on its own.
- The way to eat caviar is 1) get a scoop and put it on your tongue to “feel the earthiness” of the caviar, 2) breathe it in before crushing it against the roof of your mouth, 3) let it sit on your tongue for a moment or two to give your tastebuds time to react to it. Mmmmm!
- For the month of August, if you “Like” Petrossian West Hollywood’s Facebook page and tell them at the restaurant, you can get a free order of caviar blini with your meal.
- I can actually get full by eating three tins of caviar with toast.