‘Petite 4’ Stands Tall On Boise’s Elite Restaurant Short List

When I found out that Bleubird was closing I could barely leave my house. The sudden evaporation of the city’s finest sandwich shop felt like a nightmare. Bleubird’s brilliant sandwiches, inventive side salads and herbaceous fruit sodas were so beloved that a line often curled out the door and down the block on Friday afternoons.

At the nadir of my emotional crisis, I was saved by astounding, thrilling news. Sarah and David Kelly, the power couple behind Bleubird’s massive success, were opening a new restaurant on Boise’s bench. Cleverly dubbed ‘Petite 4’ (a nod to its diminutive size and location at 4 N Latah St.), the Kelly’s new venture would serve French food in an ‘upscale casual’ environment. I made reservations as soon as possible.

My girlfriend and I visited Petite 4 on a Saturday evening at 7:30 pm. Reservations are mandatory unless you plan on fighting for space at the bar. Petite 4 has inherited much of its stylistic vision from Bleubird, but the execution is closer to impeccable. A striking kitchen forms the heart of the restaurant, and every member of the staff looks dapper in a pinstriped apron.

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Dave Kelly’s sodas border on artwork. His newest creation combines turmeric, ginger, mint, and apple cider vinegar to produce something with the crisp bite of ginger ale and the earthy, acidic tones of Kombucha. It’s called ‘The Cure’ and you must order it.

My girlfriend, blessed to be born in 1997, turned to the wine list. I, a cursed child of 1998, examined the sodas. We asked the waitress for guidance, and she said that most people order one starter, one vegetable, and two entrees. Expecting small, fine dining sized portions, I ordered those four dishes and a cheese plate. Little did I know, the entrees here are roughly the size of a family sedan. When you consider the vastness of some of these meals, the prices are closer to a brewery than a steakhouse.

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The menu is laid out simply. On the front: soup, salad and sandwiches, starches, vegetables, meat, seafood. On the back: cheese and charcuterie. On a separate card: today’s specials, including oysters and dessert.

If I had it to do over, I would order one starter, two vegetables, and split an entrée. That way, I would have had room for dessert.

Here is what we ate: Continue reading ‘Petite 4’ Stands Tall On Boise’s Elite Restaurant Short List

It’s Time to Face Your Tears

Onions are the mortal enemy of facial orifices.

The horror of chopping into a particularly pungent onion is familiar to us all. One minute you’re looking classy in your nicest apron and the next moment you are weeping profusely over the cutting board. You can barely breathe. Your upper lip is covered in snot. Rubbing your eyes makes it ten times worse. You’re overwhelmed by pain and you can’t see, let alone think clearly, so you throw your face under a running faucet and scream like the Browns just won the Superbowl. And now your dinner guests are slowly backing out of your house. The whole thing is just so embarrassing.

There are no two ways about it. Onions hurt. They burn. They sting. Every time you slice, chop or dice an onion, you rip open thousands of cells, stirring up a noxious potion of previously inert chemical compounds. The chief ingredient in this potion is a little molecule called thiopropanal sulfoxide, and it is uniquely prepared to crawl in your nostrils and set fire to your eyes.

But onions are also the most important ingredient in cooking. Continue reading It’s Time to Face Your Tears

The Taco the Town

We are wrapping up taco and burrito week (get it?). I kicked off this week with a rundown of downtown Boise’s sorry burrito situation. But you may recall that the taco situation was better…

…much, much better.

This week I sampled the fare at two of Boise’s hot new taco spots. Calle 75 and The Funky Taco have strikingly similar stories: beloved food truck turned brick and mortar establishment. Both are focused on honoring their street food past and creating eyebrow-raising taco innovations. Their culinary goals are so similar that I’m surprised they opened just a few blocks apart. They will have to pull from the same taco loving demographic; I hope the population is large enough for both to flourish.    

Because these are good tacos.

But I’m not here to hand out participation awards. Here at Eating With Henry we pursue excellence and we choose winners. So where do you go when you have $11.73 in your pocket (remember, these are upscale) and a hankering for tacos?

My answer is provided in 6 distinct categories: Continue reading The Taco the Town

Please Romaine Calm

Last week, on the afternoon of April 20th, I ingested a meal at the Flicks Theatre. It was a large chicken Caesar salad. As I crunched through bite after bite of tasty romaine lettuce, I hardly paid attention to my phone which was vibrating continuously in my pocket. “I’m far too addicted to my devices,” I reasoned. “No need to check whatever news is causing this ruckus.”

I cleaned my plate, even using a piece of baguette to mop up the last shards of parmesan, and walked back to my place of work.

Back at my desk, I finally glanced at my phone. Text messages flashed up at me. My eyes darted back and forth like Nicholas Cage finding the secret code on the back of the Declaration of Independence. The CDC. Yuma, Arizona. My grandma shouting about avoiding all salads. And what was this about lettuce? Continue reading Please Romaine Calm