Why Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur Is a Culinary Institution

left bank

The Details

Left Bank Restaurant

Cuisine: French

Chef and Founder: Roland Passot

Address: 507 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA

Phone: 415.927.3331

Hours: Open daily at 11a.m. with full service indoor dining seven days a week.

Left Bank Brasserie is an authentic Parisian-style brasserie by Chef Roland Passot. Step into a vibrant atmosphere that captures the charm of traditional brasseries and iconic alfresco dining of France. An all- day menu features French cuisine utilizing seasonal, local, and organic ingredients, along with an extensive cocktail menu, beer options, and an expertly-curated wine selection.

Petite Left Bank

Cuisine: French

Chef and Founder: Roland Passot

Address: 1696 Tiburon Blvd, Belvedere Tiburon

Phone: 415.910.1010

Petite Left Bank is a traditional French café and bistro by Chef Roland Passot. Offering coffee and pastries in the morning, with an all-day menu featuring bistro highlights with French recipes and classics. A notable wine list, artisan craft cocktail menu, and spirit-free beverages round out the lively and exciting experience.

Internationally acclaimed for his exceptional French cooking, Chef Jacques Pépin, has designed a simple, seasonally changing, French brasserie style menu at Left Bank. As the New York Times says, “Left Bank Larkspur represents Chef Passot’s long-time passion for a simple, friendly place where people can drop in and just have oysters and a glass of wine, or a full brasserie experience.”

Passot’s Wikipedia page sums up why this restaurant is a big deal: “French-born chef Roland Passot, owner of the La Folie and the more casual, Left Bank Brasseries, was named one of “the eight wonders of Bay Area dining” by San Francisco Chronicle lead critic Michael Bauer” Eight Wonders of Bay Area dining.

Passot’s favorite dishes in Marin:

Favorite appetizer: Squash blossoms stuffed with crab — Le Garage.

Most creative salad: Salad de choux frisee, baby organic kale, apples, pommegranate.

Farm to table entrée: Daily whole fish special at Fish.

Best signature cocktail: Elysee at Left Bank.

Best gut bomb: Pearl’s Kobe Burger.

Bringing out-of-towners: Poggio/Left Bank.

Romantic meal: El Paseo. Ribeye and creamed spinach with a great burgundy.

More on Roland:

Where were you born? France in a little town in Beaujolais near Lyon.

Culinary hero? Fernand Point.

Hobbies? Skiing, Sailing.

First “head chef” job? San Francisco 1980-1981 Le Castel on Sacaramento Street.

Do you have an “off menu” item you order? I always let Massimo, the chef at Servino, do the menu for us.

Most difficult dish to create at your restaurant? Roti of Quail and Squab.

Roland Passot

What is your go-to comfort food?

Obviously on a beautiful fall day, it has to be a good beef bourguignon a la Julia Child, paired with a Beaujolais Morgan.

What food reminds you of childhood — do you have a specific memory that comes to mind?

A good roast chicken with a gratin dauphinois. In France, a roast chicken was always reserved for a special Sunday meal after church, and there’s nothing better than a good potato gratin with lots of cream and thyme.

Could you share a favorite recipe or some kitchen tricks for our readers?

A great kitchen tip is to add fresh herbs to any dish: a salad, soup, or even a stew. They always elevate the flavors. A favorite recipe at home is Pernod shrimp. Sauté garlic, shallots, and shrimp with shells in olive oil and then deglaze with Pernod. Serve with a salad, pasta, or rice. And of course, add fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley to increase the flavors.

Left Bank Lamb Chops
Left Bank Larkspur’s lamb chops. Photo by Eugene Marchuk.

What about working in this industry is special or important to you?

Although the hours are long and the salaries are not up to par with other professions, working in the food and dining industry crosses all genders, cultures, and politics. I have been honored to meet, serve, and dine with some of the most kind, interesting people here at my home in Marin, La Folie in San Francisco, and all our Vine Hospitality restaurants: Left Bank, LB Steak, Meso, and now Petite Left Bank in the Bay Area.

It’s Chopped time — what would you do with these three ingredients: apples, cauliflower, jalapeño.

All of these ingredients are perfect to pickle and serve with a roast pork loin.