Think Pink

At caviar-centric Petrossian, beets make a strong case

When it comes to romance, caviar can do wonders. But at Petrossian Café, it's chef Ben Bailly's hot pink borscht that causes hearts to flutter.

There's no mistaking Petrossian's crown jewel: Caviar is everywhere, from the boutique shelves to the menu cover textured to resemble the glistening orbs. And while the assortment is extensive–selections range from $57 to $617 for a 30-gram serving–there's more to this breezy West Hollywood shop-cum-café than roe.

Caviar-free dishes, like the decadent truffled mac and cheese or foie gras crème brûlée, are favorites with the regulars. But the borscht, fuchsia-colored and subtly sweet, is surprisingly addictive.

Traditional Eastern European borscht is usually more on the rustic side, but Bailly's dairy-free chilled soup is light and silky-smooth, with just a touch of refreshing acidity. He blends beets with peppers, cucumbers, bread and sherry vinegar, resulting in a bowl that more resembles gazpacho than borscht.

And though it technically involves caviar–there's a dollop of domestic Transmontanus atop the crème fraîche garnish–this dish is a welcome departure from the beet-and-cheese salads peppering menus all over town.

Plus, at $10, it'll burn less of a hole in your pocket than that $208 Tsar Ossetra.

Petrossian Boutique and Restaurant, 321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-271-6300 or petrossian.com