1032 Swathmore Avenue
The photographs in the minimalist dining room are of chef Alain Giraud as a child; the Pagnolesque counter where Noubar Yessayan’s pastries are sold recalls the ones Giraud huddled beside as a boy growing up in France. If there’s a wisp of nostalgia to Maison Giraud, maybe it’s because the stubbly-faced chef has worked his way back to a starting point. He did Cal-French at Citrus, haute French at Bastide, operatic French at Lavande and Anisette. Now, in the shadow of the Pacific Palisades farmers’ market, he’s focusing on a rustic ideal embodied in the vapor that rises from a gleaming, basil-laced pistou soup. Here a breakfast omelette holds steaming, garlicky ratatouille; at lunch le steak comes as it must, with charred shallots and frites. Gorgeously to the point, the roasted chicken is plated with a lemon-brightened jus and a bouquet of haricots verts that evoke the core simplicity of classic French provincial fare.