Big Things, Petite Packages 

French bistro-inspired eatery Petite 4 opens on the Bench

click to enlarge - The pate is served with a demi baguette from Sable Baking. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The pate is served with a demi baguette from Sable Baking.

It's marked only by a small sign, but French bistro-inspired Petite 4, which opened on the Boise Bench on April 11, is already a game-changer for the neighborhood.

Its owners, David "DK" and Sarah Kelly, were the restaurateurs behind the popular Bleubird sandwich shop in downtown Boise. When they announced they planned to close Bleubird in late January, they also teased Petite 4, instantly making the new restaurant one of the most hotly anticipated in town.

Though the experience of eating at Petite 4 on 4 Latah St. is, in many ways, a radical departure from its downtown predecessor, the two restaurants are branches of the same culinary and stylistic tree. Fans of Bleubird will find the food and atmosphere at Petite 4 every bit as enjoyable.

Let's start with the starters.

The country pate on the charcuterie menu ($15) is made from chicken, duck and pork, and comes with Maille stone-ground mustard and cornichons. Spread on slices of a sourdough demi baguette from Sable Baking, which operates out of Petite 4's kitchen, it's a smooth mix of elements: salty, fatty and bitter. The chorizo and manchego croquettes, served with romesco and oil-cured olives ($9), are the color of a sunset, particularly after a coat of romesco, and although the brittle crust and creamy filling are tasty on their own, biting into the occasional chewy hunk of chorizo releases a satisfying, salty splash.

click to enlarge - Croquettes at Petite 4. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Croquettes at Petite 4.

Enter the entrees: cassoulet ($19), featuring duck confit, pork belly, more chorizo, beans and tomato gratin; smoked salmon crepes ($17), with saffron aioli and baby mache; and black beluga lentils ($13), with julienned cabbage and kale, onions, coconut and saffron aioli. The cassoulet is a hearty dish with fatty pork belly and expertly prepared duck thigh on the bone, and the beluga lentils are piled in a ziggurat surrounded by an aioli moat painted on the bowl. The most satisfying of the three is the elegantly plated salmon crepes. The briney contents cut the smoothness of the sometimes soft, sometimes crispy pancakes and the herb-laced aioli.

click to enlarge - The salmon crepes. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The salmon crepes.

Lastly, it would be a mistake to skimp on dessert. The bitter chocolate mousse served in a brass pineapple with a dollop of whipped cream ($5), the lemon meringue pie ($9) and the sticky toffee pudding dusted with fragrant orange zest ($9) are all worthy candidates.Each comes with a card advertising paired wines, and the latter are big and sweet enough for two to share.

On its second day open, the service at Petite 4 was already impeccable. Servers kept wine and water glasses filled, and knew the menu front to back. Neither doting nor inattentive, they appeared out of nowhere any time the table need replenishing.

click to enlarge - The lemon meringue pie at Petite 4 is pure decadence. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The lemon meringue pie at Petite 4 is pure decadence.

The style of the restaurant is as artful as the plating. With green-painted walls, patterned tile flooring and gold starburst-shaped light fixtures overhead, the small space is bustling and intimate. The details are charming, and connoisseurs of decor will envy the low table where DK keeps his reservation book with its legs shaped like arrows, the vase full of matchboxes next to a bouquet and even the tableware—no two forks are the same.

Reservations at Petite 4 are recommended, but seats at the bar are open to passersby. Its brunch program, which will debut in May, will only add to its foot traffic appeal. A gem anywhere in Boise, Petite 4 has positioned itself to be a culinary hub of one of the up-and-coming-est neighborhoods in the city.

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