Taste: Where We’re 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.

Cake

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.

Zinc

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.

Gallery Caf

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.

  • PaoliBulldog

    I expected a lot more from Riley Cooper by this stage of his career. He hasn’t been particularly bad; he just hasn’t ever shown that he is capable of playing on every down.

  • knighn

    Am I the only one who thinks “Akpla” sounds like something a Klingon would say? Should be a good competition. I hope that we simply get more consistent production out of the WR Corps this year. If that means improved play by the top 4, then that’s all good. If it instead means that Avant or Cooper lose some snaps to the newbies, I’d be fine with that too. By the way, can the Eagles please find someone who can be more productive than DeSean Jackson in the Red Zone?! DeSean’s strength is in “stretching the field”. When the team is already in the Red Zone, there is just not that much field left to stretch!

  • Wilbert M.

    Is Damaris Johnson really a speedster? I’ve watched his college highlights and saw him get caught from behind quite a few times. I think because he’s small and quick we’re assuming he’s fast. I don’t think he is.

  • Tim

    I know you guys said you wanted comments on the new blog’s layout and design, so here goes. I think you need to come up a stronger font. Whichever one you have selected right now is really tough to read against the pure white background. Some letters just disaapear into the white because they are so white. You can see the difference by looking at the comments against the background and then looking at the blog post itself. Just my two cents. Love the work.

    • Sheil

      Tim, thanks so much for the feedback. We are still tweaking things and will absolutely keep that suggestion on the font in mind.

      • dave heiserman

        i will read your posts & updates all day long at work – as a result i have to squeeze down to a very small box and keep it discreetly in the corner of my pc screen.

        as of now its very frustrating to see that your ads take such a big priority over your article – that was one of the MOST ANNOYING things about philly dot com was that they shoved so many pop ups & ads in our face!

        im dying to get away from that. ill gladly see what companies support you and will try to supoprt them as a result (im in NYC so dont rule out your national audience) but i think you jeopardize your hard work and loyal readership by bullying us with ads

        otherwise GOOD LUCK!

  • http://twitter.com/jhkayejr Joseph Kaye

    I’m iffy on Cooper. I thought he looked good with Young behind center, which makes sense – they probably built a rapport while on the second team. It’ll be interesting to see his production during camp this year. I’d love to see Gilyard and Akpla make the team – great stories behind both of them. Gilyard looked dynamite while in college, and Akpla seems like he’d always have his head in the game.

  • Keith Petres

    Would have thought that Cooper was fighting for a job, but to look at the players fighting for a spot, I guess it makes sense that Cooper has a spot pretty much locked up.

    Or not. Just checked and Riley Cooper has 23 catches in 29 games in 2 seasons. For comparison, Freddie Mitchell had 33 catches in 31 games in his first 2 seasons.

  • Al

    Sheil/Tim: If Cooper has a good camp and makes the leap the Eagles are expecting, do you think the chances are good Avant goes on the trade block? How do you think Riley would work out in the slot?

  • http://twitter.com/bmorrissey Brian Morrissey

    At this point, lockout or not, we know what we know with Riley. I’m interested to see if McNutt can push him out of the fourth receiver slot. As for Chad Hall, I simply don’t want to ever see a Wildcat or draw with him involved.

  • mj

    some suggestions for sheil and tim:

    1.) make the middle column of the page (your article/blog post) wider. the recent comments section and advertisements are too large.

    2.) please include pictures!

    3.) something is up with the font or background/color scheme. philly.com is a lot easier to read for some reason.

    • mj

      4.) i dont know if ya guys are concerned with spam or what, but captchas are a big turnoff too