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A Peek Inside Boise's Petite 4

I’ve got a confession that’s not really a confession to anyone who’s ever met me. I’m a Francophile. Like I’m pretty sure I could subsist on rosé and oysters and pâté and steak tartare until the gout came and slapped me off the gilded bar stool where I’m fantasy chilling with all my other red-lipped Frenchies and chain-smoking Gauloises. Sadly (and perhaps luckily?) that place has never existed in Boise.

Until now.

Petite 4 quietly opened this week on Latah Street, adjacent to Chalice Tattoo in an otherwise unremarkable strip center on the Boise Bench. Owned by Dave Kelly and Sarah Kornfield of Bleubird fame, Petite 4 is an insanely charming little French spot.

With Girl Scout green walls, mustard velour tufted banquettes and stools, geometric tiled floors, marble countertops and ample brass flourishes, the design is on point. And a delightful reprieve from the minimalist reclaimed wood + subway tile aesthetic that’s dominated the last decade.

But let’s get to the good stuff: The food and booze. I’ll start with the drink menu, which is surprisingly complex, considering the joint doesn’t have a liquor license. In addition to a solid wine list with some reasonably priced by-the-glass offerings and plenty of bubbles, the cafe also offers a handful of “low-octane” cocktails, like The Bamboo with Amontillado Sherry, Priorat Natur Vermut and Orange Bitters for $8 a pop. Fun!

The drink that made me the most giddy was actually on the food menu: a splash of dry sherry (my favorite!) with a prosciutto-wrapped wedge of manchego perched on top. For three freaking dollars! Seriously, the next time I’m there, I’m ordering 5.

On the food front, the menu straddles the line between classic French bistro and seasonal american cafe. Veggie options include everything from a crispy polenta cake with wild mushrooms and truffle ricotta to the roasted carrots (pictured below) with fennel ribbons, harissa yogurt, avocado nuts and seeds. The root veggie latkes with fig compote (pictured above), also had the option of adding a delightfully subtle gravlax.

Meatier choices include the classic beef tartare, a burger draped with raclette and duck confit cassoulet served, like many other items, in a sturdy Le Creuset dish. But, a word to the wise: These aren’t small plates. They’re ample platters of hearty fare, so make sure you come ready to dig in.

I was particularly stoked on the special, a brasserie staple: Steak frites. The marbled Snake River Farms culotte was cooked perfectly, with a crisp char on the outside and perfect medium rare pink inside, and topped with a melty smear of bleu cheese and a pile of not-super-crispy but nonetheless got the job done fries.

After polishing off the last of the steak, I leaned back to rest and regroup (and say hey to my rosé). The couple next to me ordered the chocolate pot de creme, which arrived in an adorable tiny gold pineapple. I contemplated ordering another shot of sherry and cured meat (my version of dessert) but decided to save it for my next trip, which will for sure include sparkling rose and oysters and steak tartare. All my faves, all now conveniently in one place.

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