Peter Woolsey‘s newly Americanized restaurant, La Peg, just announced a summer movie series, and they’ve got a pretty good themed lineup. We’re talking Labyrinth, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Airplane, Dr. Strangelove, Dirty Dancing… And all outside, in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge, in La Peg’s beer-and-seafood garden.
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Photo courtesy Peggy Baud-Woolsey
When the server told me the special for the night was a plate of snails packed with herb butter, I didn’t get them, because snails wouldn’t really have gone with everything else we were ordering. Wouldn’t pair with the fried cheese curds. Wouldn’t sit right against the oysters Rockefeller or feel right sharing a table with the chicken potpie.
Further, the snails? They were just kind of sad. They’d been a star of chef Peter Woolsey’s menu during La Peg’s first iteration, as a funky, modernized and geographically unhinged French brasserie—the kind of place where you could get bone marrow with sauce gribiche served alongside scrambled eggs and toast as a snack at the bar on a Friday night, or authentically French onion soup, potato rosti, pho consommé, and coconut milk-laced mango and passion fruit sorbet for dessert. A place where the fat Burgundy snails sat proudly among the entrées and couldn’t have been more French if Woolsey’s crew had served them with tiny little Tricolour flags flying from their shells.
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So you guys remember back when La Peg was a French restaurant, right? Back when they used to do terrines and snails and onion soup gratinee?
Well you should because it wasn’t that long ago. La Peg (the second restaurant from chef Peter Woolsey, the guy behind Bistrot La Minette, which is one of the most unappologetically French places in the city) opened as a solid (if somewhat less traditional) outpost for all manner of froggery; a brasserie offering bone marrow with sauce gribiche, foie gras with pickled raisin butter, pan bagnat and potatoes rosti, all in the cavernous space attached to the Fringe Arts building.
But one of the other things that came out of wandering the floor during Philly Cooks last week? The news that Woolsey has pulled a major 180 and quietly (oh so quietly) turned La Peg into an American restaurant.
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