According to Trey Popp, the Art Alliance may have finally found its restaurant in Pierre and Charlotte Calmels’ Le Cheri. Popp bestows three stars on the French bistro, despite being served testicles under the guise of “pistachio fries.”
Calmels cuts his boudin noir—another “Bizarre” selection—with extra flour, pushing the sometimes-crumbly texture of that blood sausage into the realm of dense chocolate cake. Best I’ve ever had.
And if there’s ravioli on the menu, get it—even if it sounds boring, like the delicate cream cheese ones whose tangy fillings turned out to be infused with truffle peelings one night.
Three Stars – Excellent
Restaurant Review: Le Cheri [Philadelphia Magazine]
Le Cheri [Foobooz]
Craig LaBan finds that Nick Elmi is doing more than just turning out fantastic plates at his BYOB, Laurel. It appears the chef has also found serenity.
His albacore starter may be the best raw tuna dish in town, firmed ever so slightly in tepid olive oil before being dressed with the delicate sweetness of shaved Asian pears and a powder of frozen horseradish and yuzu “snow” that melted in mouth with a cooling sparkle. A bracing edge of mustard oil, chile-spiked ponzu, and fermented daikon cubes were the perfect foil to assertive Spanish mackerel seared crackly warm on the skin side and sashimi raw on the reverse. A study in Berkshire pork – loin roasted, belly braised, tender shoulder pulled then formed into a patty – was memorable for its elegant necklace of huckleberry, kale, and chestnut sauces.
Three Bells – Excellent
A “Top Chef” champ returns to his roots [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The neighborhood let out a collective groan when, over the summer, Chick’s announced that it was closing. But the good news came with its replacement, The Good King Tavern—this excellent little brasserie with chef Paul Lyons (a graduate of Barbuzzo and Jamonera) in the kitchen. Fans of Chick’s cocktail program will be pleased to know that the list here features drinks like the Sazerac, Aviation and French 75, and there’s a wine list filled with relative bargains. Lyons’s menu is small and unambitious, but that’s okay. The octopus will make you forget about neighboring Dmitri’s, and the substantial $15 steak frites is understandably an early hit. And when your server tries to sell you on the crispy chickpea flatbread as a starter, just say yes.
The Good King Tavern [Foobooz]
First appeared in the February, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Illustration by Kagan McLeod
In the beginning, there was France—just this dumpy two-bit European country where everyone grubbed around in the mud, ate rocks for dinner, caught cholera and died at 34.
But over time, France became a colonial power. It went all over the globe picking fights. And everywhere they went, the French brought their armies, their ridiculous hats, their whores and, because they were French, their chef’s knives.
Everywhere they went, they pillaged the local cuisine, stole every good idea, then gave them all French names. To the French, codification was tantamount to ownership. The great French cookbook-slash-encyclopedia, Larousse Gastronomique? A world history of plundered cuisines.
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Peter Woolsey | Photo via COOK
Peter Woolsey has been the face of Bistrot La Minette since it opened almost six years ago. But with another restaurant project on the horizon, Woolsey is turning over the day-to-day running of his restaurant to Kenneth Bush, a longtime employee who also has had experience working for the Garces Group.
Woolsey wouldn’t go into details regarding the new project but we have previously reported that Woolsey has been tagged as the man in the kitchen for the restaurant coming to the FringeArts space at Delaware Avenue and Race Street.
In Woolsey’s own words »
Tomorrow, February 5th, Fitler Dining Room is welcoming wine consultant David McDuff for a special four-course wine dinner featuring wines from the Savoie region of France. Before Fitler Dining Room opened, chef Robert Marzinsky toured through France and Savoie in particular. For this dinner he’ll be highlighting the region’s cuisine with gruyere souffle, musssel cream soup and spiced duck breast.
There will be two seatings, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Dinner is $85 per person and includes wine pairings (but not including tax and gratuity).
Reservations are required and can be made by calling 215.732.3331.
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Cochon has certainly picked a great day to roll out its winter menu. The Queen Village BYOB’s menu has warming options like housemade sausage with pork jus, balsamic glazed pork belly and duck breast with a Madras curry sauce.
Full winter menu »
Today the wine world (except for exasperating cork dorks who seem to increasingly hate on the day) celebrates Beaujolais Nouveau. The first wine from the 2013 harvest.
In Philadelphia, Midtown Village goes French for the night with a series of events at the neighborhood’s restaurants and boutiques. There are free samples, specials and sales galore.
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Val Stryjewski | Photo by Yoni Nimrod, Cook
Le Chéri is now open in the Art Alliance building at 18th and Rittenhouse Square. The successor to Rittenhouse Tavern is owned by Pierre and Charlotte Calmels of Bella Vista’s much-praised Bibou. The chef de cuisine is Waldemar “Val” Stryjewski who comes from a.kitchen. The price point is less than that at Bibou with entrees ranging from $17 to $30.
For now the restaurant is BYOB but a liquor license is in the works. Reservations are already tough to land but a tipster informs us the bar is first-come-first-served.
Check out the opening menu »
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.
Bibou duo coming to Rittenhouse Square [The Insider]
Bibou [Official Site]
Photo by Yoni Nimrod | Cook