Maison Giraud

1032 Swarthmore Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90272
Maison Giraud +

Photo by Anne Fishbein

Maison Giraud, which chef Alain Giraud opened in the Pacific Palisades in November 2011, is less a temple of classic French cuisine and more a quiet homage. The restaurant sits just at the edge of fine dining, neither too stuffy nor too casual. Your waiter may have a French accent and a clipped manner, and your table certainly will have a cloth on it. But that cloth may still have the faint ring of red wine on it from the previous diner, and the waiter may be absent for long stretches. These read like complaints but aren't really. Maison Giraud exhibits a kind of unconcerned elegance that suits it, and the neighborhood, well. Giraud's kitchen excels in simple luxuries: an eggshell, hollowed out and refilled with egg custard and savory chantilly and topped with caviar. Fat scallops come with a melting leek fondue for an appetizer so rich it could almost be an entrée. And Giraud gets the soufflé exactly right. Almost as big as your head, the lofty dessert is a sight to behold as it swooshes though the dining room on the way to your table. It is airy, hot, sugary and goopy in all the right ways.

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