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Petite is exactly what it’s named: a cute bistro across the street from Community Natural Foods that fits two dozen people max, and that’s including the cozy patio out front.

It’s been packed since it opened in May. I think Petite is a timely neighbourhood restaurant that reflects most people’s inclination these days to scale back from flashy to feel-good.

The food is excellent, as is the friendly service. They know their wines and have some carefull selected bottles available by the glass. Jason particularly enjoyed a glass of white 2005 Bret Brothers Viré-clessé Sous les Plantes from Burgundy that really lived up to the server’s description that it was “buttery.”

The menu changes regularly to reflect what’s in the markets and in season.

A roasted vegetable terrine ($11) with clover honey vinaigrette and cave-aged gruyère was a refreshing appetizer as was a white gazpacho ($14) with B.C. side stripe shrimp on another day.

For mains, a free-range chicken ($19) with truffle cream hit the spot; short-rib ravioli ($20) was plate-clearing; and a bison sirloin ($25) served rare with cabernet jus was very tasty.

Petite, Calgary

But after two visits, my only quibble is that few people will leave stuffed.

Yes, I suppose that’s a good thing amid excess, but I’d like to see a better balance between the cost and the size of the dishes (ie, lower price points on the appetizers, or else bulk up the portions a bit), or maybe add more carbs to plump up the mains.

(And they wouldn’t be simply filler carbs either — the way chef does polenta makes me not hate it anymore.)

Having said that, it means there’s always room for dessert, and Petite’s panna cotta is top notch.

Petite, 1301-10th Ave. SW, Calgary, (403) 452 5350. Open daily for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and for dinner 5 p.m. onward. Reservations strongly recommended.

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