If you're the sort of person who dreams about pain au chocolat (see: 99 Things To Eat in L.A. Before You Die, 2010) and properly made canelés de Bordeaux (beeswax, copper molds), you may also have been peering through the picture windows yesterday morning at 7:30 when Alain Giraud opened his long-awaited Maison Giraud in the Pacific Palisades.
The restaurant — which may or may not be French, and may nor not be a bistro or a brasserie but is definitely a restaurant — started with breakfast yesterday and lunch today and definitely dinner on Monday, when it formally opens. The lovely open space was considerably reworked from its time as the Italian restaurant Dante, and how has 12 tables inside and 7 outside on the front patio. And there's a whole store next door — you can see it through curiously medieval narrow vertical windows in the restaurant's dining room — devoted to Catherine Giraud's gift shop Lavender Blue (French soap, linens, very cool stuff), which will also open on Monday.
Until dinner begins, you can content yourself with pastries baked by Giraud's pastry chef Noubar Yesayan (Anisette, Bastide), which include the aforementioned happy items (Giraud presented Yesayan with more copper canelé tins the night before they opened; the chocolate for the croissants is now Callebaut), as well as chausson aux pommes, brioche, baguettes and some pretty lovely fougasse. Also juice squeezed to order and Groundwork and Illy coffee. And yes, the butter in all the pastries is from Normandy, in case such things matter to you, and they should.
Maison Giraud will be open for breakfast and lunch — the hours are still a bit variable — through Friday, closed this weekend, and then open fully beginning Monday, November 21. In the coming days and weeks, look not only for dinner but a kids' menu (mini jambon buerre!); a daily afternoon snack or le gouter served daily from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m.; a considerable take out menu; and on the high walls, framed photos of Giraud's culinary past, both in this town (Citrus, Lavande, Bastide, Anisette Brasserie) and many years ago in France, where he was picking lavender and making pastries as a ridiculously precocious child.