Photos by Jason Varney
By the time Gary Cattley maneuvered his tuba into Paris Bistro’s basement, Drew Nugent & the Midnight Society had been ragging Tin Pan Alley curios for an hour already. The bar was full, and every table was taken. At the tip of the arrowhead-shaped room, wearing a brown double-breasted suit, Nugent faced a vintage 1935 Shure microphone lashed to a Walmart towel ring with springs and a bootlace, warbling into a miniature teakettle through a trumpet mouthpiece jammed in its spout.
Cattley, who’d concocted the microphone getup, smiled. Snaking past servers bearing crocks of French onion soup and parfait glasses of chocolate mousse, he squeezed onto the postage-stamp bandstand to join the unlikeliest recent development in Philadelphia nightlife: the Prohibition-era vocal jazz scene in far Chestnut Hill.
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Peter Woolsey’s La Peg is now officially open at Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. The brasserie in the FringeArts building has an emphasis on small plate French food and is currently open nightly for dinner and late-night bar bites. The menu ranges from $3 bites to $27 for a steak frites dish. A $30 dinner includes French Onion soup or trio of salads; roasted half-chicken with fries or salmon with horseradish; and chocolate cake or la peg sundae.
Check out the full menus and some photos »
Last night Feastival had a party for the event’s sponsors and beforehand several chefs showed off the dishes they would be serving at the FringeArts fundraiser to the assembled media. Peter Woolsey, who served a spicy tuna tartar dish, also dished on his new restaurant, La Peg.
La Peg, which Woolsey says is opening “imminently” is located in the FringeArts building at the corner of Columbus Boulevard and Race Streets, opposite the Race Street Pier. Woolsey says the restaurant will be a “French-ish” brasserie. The restaurant will certainly be large and multi-faceted. There will be a sit down restaurant with seating for 100, a 12-seat bar, a mezzanine and a 7,000 square foot exterior space.
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Photo by Mike Arrison
Ever dreamed of a summer in Provence? Sipping glass after glass of chilled rosé under the Provençale sun with a large plate of something drenched in olive oil and covered with anchovies in front of you? If you weren’t before, you are now.
Plane tickets to the South of France this time of year are expensive. But starting tonight and ending tomorrow August 7th, Bistrot La Minette wants to make your Provançale fantasy a reality. Executive chef, Kenneth Bush, will be cooking up a four course meal for $35 per person or $50 with wine pairings. The authentic French bistro South Philly will serve as your retreat from the city and it’s not just for francophiles. Check out the full menu below and start planning your trip to South 6th St.
The full menu »
Last week we told you about Rittenhouse Row’s cool Culinary Collective, where eighteen restaurants were pulling out all the stops to create unique experiences between August 5th and the 7th. One of those special experiences will be at Crow and the Pitcher. Georges Perrier, who is often spotted relaxing at the Rittenhouse restaurant of Alex Capasso, will be in the kitchen preparing some of his most popular dishes from Le Bec-Fin’s past. A four-course prix fixe dinner will be available for $60 or a seven-course extravaganza will be $120. Seatings are available at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
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A reader provided us with a tip (and a pic) showing signs of progress at Petit Roti at 248 S 11th Street.
Set to open the doors in September, chef Olivier Desaintmartin, chef and Owner of ZINC and Caribou Cafe, hopes to bring a taste of France to Philly (again), but this time with a new spin. Desaintmartin will highlight France’s rôtisseries - a feat that seems more realistic when you hear that he has imported two authentic rotisserie machines from France. And along with the impressive machinery, Petit Roti will also have a pantry full of vinegars, oils, jams, olives, and more to emulate the French épiceries.
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On Monday, July 14th, Fond is hosting the legendary Georges Perrier, as he and chef Lee Styer prepare a collaborative dinner. The five-course menu will feature Perrier’s classic French cuisine in celebration of Bastille Day.
Reservations are limited, as there will only be one seating at 7 p.m., so call now. The five-course dinner is $90 and there is also an optional wine pairing.
Bastile Day Menu with Georges Perrier (PDF)
Photos by Jason Varney
We here at Philadelphia magazine decided last month to start debuting restaurant reviews early on Foobooz. We had reasons. And we discussed them here. Welcome to the new world.
Townsend Wentz was an analytical chemist shifting toward genomics research when he got a chance to cook at Philadelphia’s Four Seasons for a day. It was 1996, he’d just wrapped up a second bachelor’s degree in biology, and recombinant DNA was calling his name. But Jean-Marie Lacroix interrupted, and fate took care of the rest.Wentz, who’d cooked his way through college, had a great day in the French chef’s kitchen. It beat testing canola oil acids, and it was more social than laboratory bench work. When one of the restaurant’s line cooks quit that very day, Wentz’s lark in Lacroix’s kitchen, and later Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, turned into nearly 10 years.No wonder the Riverton, New Jersey native’s sauces are so good.
Philadelphians wise to Wentz’s transformation of McCrossen’s Tavern in Fairmount have known that for three years already. In May, he opened a place of his own—really, truly his own. From the salvaged cherrywood he planed to cap a rebuilt bar to the floors he refinished with his sous-chef and sommelier to the furniture they stained and reupholstered by hand, his fingerprints are all over the place. Before Wentz became a chemist, he built racing sailboats.
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La Peg at FringeArts
We’ve known Peter Woolsey who owns Bistrot La Minette is opening a brasserie at the FringeArts building on Delaware Avenue for awhile now. But some new details (and renderings) have emerged. The restaurant will be named La Peg, an homage to Woolsey’s French father-in-law, whose nicknames for his daughters have been adopted by the chef. Woolsey’s explains, “he calls my wife ‘La Peg’ and my sister-in-law “La Minette.’”
La Peg is being designed by architect Richard Stokes and Groundswell Design Group under David Fierabend. The restaurant, which will have 100 interior seats, full bar with seating for twelve, plus outdoor seating for 40.
More on Le Peg »
Pierre and Charlotte Calmels’ Le Cheri at 18th and Rittenhouse Square is now open for lunch Wednesday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is no bargain lunch however with appetizers ranging from $9 to $13 and main courses all coming in at over $20.
Le Cheri Lunch Menu (PDF)
Le Cheri [Foobooz]