Craig LaBan has added Lacroix to Philadelphia’s pantheon of restaurants. Lacroix joins the illustrious company of The Fountain, Le Bec-Fin, Susanna Foo, Striped Bass and Vetri as LaBan’s Four Bell restaurants.
Chef Matthew Levin has succeeded namesake chef Jean-Marie Lacroix and hasn’t just kept the ship steady; he’s taken the restaurant to the next level.
At each meal, however, the kitchen was the undeniable star. Even the French fries at lunch – the beneficiaries of a three-day treatment involving duck fat and truffle oil – were unbelievably good.
Levin’s most elaborate efforts, though, are at night, where the chef has added a handy a la carte option to the existing tasting menu. Among the highlights was an unusual “gratin” of rich mussel broth studded with tender mollusks, salty nuggets of guanciale, and pillows of gnocchi that melted away like dumpling wisps. A magnificent rib steak, sliced through the midriff and splayed like two medium-rare meat Frisbees, sparkled with a zesty Asian crust of toasted nori, sesame seeds, and bonito-scented sea salt.