During our five plus years in Santa Barbara, Brad and I have had our fair share of favorite restaurants – sadly, a lot of them have closed over the years. By recommendation, we tried Petit Valentein for my birthday this past May and we have been dying to go back ever since. It’s safe to say that this is our new favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara.
Located just off of upper Sate Street, PV is a cozy, candlelit restaurant with dark wood and fun accents. While sitting at our “usual” table, a Charlie Chaplin movie played on the high walls and we enjoyed a fabulous dinner:
Crab Cake with an amazing citrus sauce
Potato-wrapped Opah over gazpacho and vegetable tabouli
Lemongrass & Ginger infused Cornish Game Hen over mashed potatoes
First of all, let me say that I have had escargot on three other occasions: the first two times I was in Paris with Brad and he nothing short of forced me and the other time was just recently at PV. It would have seemed wrong to leave my first trip to Paris without trying escargot and although I needed a little nudge, it was good and I am glad I tried it. The last visit to PV felt similar, except that I wasn’t in Paris and just sort of eating snails… The escargot crepe that I had last night was nothing short of perfection – honestly. It was a perfectly folded, crisp crepe filled with escargot goodness and one of the best things I have ever eaten. I’m still thinking about it and I wish I was eating it right now even though I am filled to the gills with homemade pizza (that gets a blog tomorrow).
Oh, and the crab cake was also delicious, just not in the slimy, buttery, crepe-y sort of way that the escargot was.
On to the entree –
Against my butter judgment, I didn’t order the duck so I can only blame myself that I didn’t like my entree as much as I know I could have. I’m not saying that it was bad, but I should have gone with my gut on this one. I started off with the potato-wrapped Opah. A year or so ago Brad and I were lucky enough to be passing by the harbor when the boats were coming in and bringing up their catch from the day. We saw urchin, fish, shark and a whole slew of sea creatures that were probably going to be served later that night for dinner. One of the really cool things that we saw were these giant round fish with really pretty iridescent coloring all along the sides – that, we later learned, was Opah, which was also what I ate last night 🙂 (here is a picture of an Opah caught by teenagers in Newport Beach: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/08/teens-catch-one-huge-fish-off-newport-coast-they-they-are-eating-all-143-pounds.html)
So anyway, the fish was good. There was nothing overwhelming about the dish and I can’t say that I am a huge fan of gazpacho, but all-in-all, it was an ok dish. Half way through however, I decided to taste Brad’s… after that I no longer wanted to eat mine but rather his. Being the fabulous bf that he is, he switched me – that and he really liked the fish. His cornish game hen was cooked over a bed of lemongrass and infused with ginger. It was perfectly cooked and on top of a bed of mashed potatoes and amazing gravy-type sauce. It was heaven and I practically licked the bones clean.
So the moral of the story is: if you are in Santa Barbara, I suggest that you eat at Petit Valentien. It is located at 1114 State Street. I can’t wait for our next adventure there. Word on the street is Sunday’s are especially nice as they have a four course dinner for only $25. I will let you know when we go – I’m sure there will be a lot to talk about!
PS – sorry the pictures are so lame. Like I said, it was candlelit and I only had my iphone.