Make a Reservation
- Neighborhood: Bella Vista
- 1009 South 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
- Phone: 215-965-8290
- Website | Twitter
- Cuisine: French
- Alcohol: BYOB
- Price: $$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Make a Reservation
Charlotte and Pierre Calmels of Bibou are ready for their next venture. The couple who run one of Philadelphia’s most praised BYOBs are heading to Rittenhouse Square and the Rittenhouse Tavern space in the Art Alliance building. Michael Klein reports that couple are turning Rittenhouse Tavern into a classic French restaurant with a liquor license and at a price point lower than Bibou.
No name is set but they’re hoping for an October opening. Restaurants have struggled at the Art Alliance despite its location, attractive interior and tranquil outdoor garden. But the Calmelses have made a name for themselves at Bibou and the restaurant is one of just five restaurants that have received Craig LaBan’s four-bell rating. Before opening Bibou, Pierre Calmels was Georges Perrier’s chef de cuisine at Le Bec Fin for six years.
There’s the glitz and the glam, and then there’s the humble and the honest-to-goodness, the unaffected and the unassuming. To each his own, but I prefer the latter.
I get a kick out of the quirky buildings’ awkward seating arrangements and tiny menus—menus that need not say much, and food that says all too much; the chef-driven and food-focused holes, often orienting themselves in such a way that the preparer and prepared are shown off, experienced only through an intimate three-part channel between the chef, his food, and his guest. When done well, the following few weeks (or longer) will pale in comparison. That’s why the tasting menu is so important; it’s a facilitation of exchange between the hand of the cook and the consumed palate it feeds.
Some tasting menus you’ll find in places that don’t deserve them, and others are just a second menu to the main. Some are only available on weekdays, but there are those you can only take part in on a single day: Sunday, perhaps.
Bistrot La Minette isn’t the only area restaurant getting in on the National Escargot Day fun. On Wednesday, May 23rd Southwark will be joined by Doug “the Snailman” Dussault of Potironne Company. Doug will be on hand to talk snails while Southwark’s kitchen serves up four courses (including dessert) of snail inspired dishes. Dinner is $45 per person, $65 with wine or beer pairing. The menu will also be available on Thursday the 24th.