Taste: Where Were Eating November 2007
Blue Pear Bistro
The words “Dilworthtown Inn” are often intoned with all the solemnity the West Chester restaurant’s $71 chateaubriand demands. The same won’t be true for Blue Pear Bistro, housed in the inn’s former general store. Playing the role of Le Bar Lyonnais — the often-boisterous subterranean spot that offsets Le Bec-Fin’s behave-yourself dining room — to the subdued Inn, Blue Pear exudes a refreshing air of permission. The dining rooms — including a hidden leather-chaired lounge that begs for calvados — have a lived-in feel, but many of the kitchen’s offerings show a modern edge. This is, as the menu repeats, an American bistro: The steak frites is disappointing, but the playful “bacon and eggs” salad (the richness of pork belly cut with bitter greens topped with a soft-cooked egg) and chicken nuggets touched with white truffle are whimsical successes.
275 Brintons Bridge Road, West Chester, 610-399-9812, bluepearbistro.com.
The motto in Chestnut Hill seems to be “Let them eat at Cake.” The well-loved bakery’s expansion into a larger space on Germantown Avenue has brought proportionately larger breakfast and lunch menus. And at noon, the airy, brick-floored atrium that once served as the Robertson’s Flowers nursery is a friendly crush of book clubs and baby strollers, with orders for iced tea, brightly colored soups served in dainty white teacups, and dense chicken salad on thick-cut bread outpacing the demand for the decadently iced namesake cakes.
8501 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, 215-247-6887.
La Bohème’s makeover is subtle: The candlelit windows are still there. So are the butcher-papered café tables. And it’s still French through and through. The biggest difference is the zinc itself, a just-imported bar — pewter, not zinc — that seats three comfortably (five in a pinch) and faces wooden shelves of absinthe and Lillet rouge. The menu is more casual, with cold omelets, straightforward charcuterie and cheese plates, a hearty, oregano-rich Provençal octopus stew, plus a few heavier entrées — like calves’ liver and onions, bacon-laden salmon, and rabbit over pappardelle — thrown in for the dinner crowd. It’s now open late, too, to address your Center City chocolate pot de crème and cognac cravings.
246 South 11th Street, 215-351-9901, zincbarphilly.com.
A foodie’s thoughts on the new Perelman annex to the Philadelphia Museum of Art: The art was fine. The gift shop and café were amazing. Light streams through the glass wall of the Fairmount eatery, illuminating the simple furniture and epicurean fare. Gravlax, artichokes and spicy mustard are lightly layered on dark rye for an open-face sandwich; the Market Salad is a bed of crisp greens with a choice of meat or cheese (think grilled lemon chicken or a wedge of brie); and composed salads highlight ingredients like crispy corn spiked with truffle oil. Open for lunch only.
Fairmount and Pennsylvania avenues, 215-684-7990.