La Petite Grocery is a good sized place in the Garden District, about a 15 minute cab ride from the French Quarter. The room has a narrow portion due to a partition that separates the tables that are in the same room with the large bar. There is another partition that forms one larger room in the back of the building. The building was re-built in 1908 after the original building burned. It did start as a grocery but all that remains of that structure are the tin ceiling and the front awning. When is was a grocery the front two areas were the store and the back room was storage, thus it truly was a petite grocery. The casual crowd was there to eat as I saw no one at the bar that was not awaiting the rest of their dinner party. There is low lighting throughout but even dimmer in the front two areas. It offers an a la carte menu with a few verbally delivered specials.
We started with one of the dishes they are known for, Blue Crab Beignets served with a malt vinegar aioli. They were made with truly good crabmeat and the inside stayed really moist, almost runny. The aioli was nice and did not interfere with the delicate taste of the crab, it actually was a good enhancer of the flavor. They come 5 to an order and it is plenty for 2 -3 people. Bread was also brought to the table, warmed and lovely to look at but it was really dry with a very hard crust. The look was way better than the taste and the exteriors were so floured they left your hands dusty.
The Confit Duck leg and Pork Sausage was served with butter beans, pickled cabbage with pancetta and whole grain mustard jus. The beans were undersaltedd but the confit was over salted so they made a good mix. (The underside of the duck was less salty). I would have preferred the beans cooked a tad more. The sausage was juicy with good flavor but was a bit on the lean side whereas the pancetta was a terrific addition to the cabbage. Everything on this heavy plate was very flavorful, just a little tweaking was needed.
The Roasted Lamb Chops were tender and nice. The two small chops were served with Sweet Potato Anna (layers of Idaho and sweet potatoes), charred onion purée, wilted greens and gremolata. The chops did seem to be sautéd rather than roasted. The potatoes were quite good but the chard was salty. Both main courses were nicely composed plates but served with a large sawing knife which definitely gave you cutting power but was too large to get into the areas of the lamb and the bowl the duck was served in.
For dessert we tried a nightly special – a chocolate torte with chocolate sauce, almond toffee and vanilla cream. It was very nice but ordinary. We also tried the Chocolate Ooey Gooey Cake served with toasted pecans and vanilla ice cream. It lived up to its name and was really gooey, buttery and yummy. The 3 pieces all had slightly different flavors and textures, but all were good. This definitely was a yum x2. Our fun waiter, Darren, wanted us to try his favorite dessert, butterscotch pudding served with pecan shortbread and vanilla bean cream and so he brought one of those too. The smooth pudding tasted strongly of caramel and the pecan shortbread cookies were divine. Another good one, but I’d pick the Ooey Gooey of the 3 – maybe just for the fun name!