Laurel Goes Exclusively to Tasting Menus

Photo by by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Starting in May, Laurel will be moving to only offering tasting menus. Currently, Nick Elmi’s East Passyunk BYOB offers the option of a la carte during the week with tasting menus only on Fridays and Saturdays. Elmi tells us, 70% of weeknight guests are now choosing the tasting menu and “it really doesn’t make sense for a small space like ours to carry a full menu.” Elmi says it has always been the goal to go tasting menu only at Laurel, and the restaurant’s reception has allowed him to speed up the process.

The number of courses and pricing remains the same, 7 courses for $85 per person.

May reservations will be available beginning on Tuesday, March 3rd, starting at noon.

Laurel [Foobooz]
50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia – 2015 [Foobooz]

One Bell for Fishtown’s Girard

girard-burger-940

The burger at Girard was one of the things Craig LaBan did like.

Craig LaBan savages Girard, the BYO on Girard Avenue that made headlines before it even opened, with its no-tipping policy. LaBan found poor execution and something even more surprising, a line on the check for tips.

But too many dishes failed to connect good ideas to a plate of complete success. Oliveira’s signature omelet was textbook perfect, stuffed with avocado, creamy cheddar and bacon. But the side of charred grapefruit, grilled face down (letting the sugar fall off) instead of brûléed with a torch, was bitterly burnt. The lamb ragu had an intriguing daube-like inflection of olives and orange, but was literally braised to a mush that was poorly paired with doughy gnocchi. A torchon of foie gras, usually a luxuriously creamy disk of delicately poached liver, was an off-tasting smudge of tan butter on toast overwhelmed by a thicker smudge of fig jam for $13.

One Bell – Hit or Miss

Bold but confusing Girard Brasserie and Bruncherie in Fishtown [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Girard [Foobooz]

Fond Adds $35 Prix Fixe, Revamps Menus for Winter

Chef's Table at Fond

Chef’s Table at Fond

Fond on East Passyunk Avenue has updated its menu for winter 2015. Lee Styer and Jesse Prawlucki’s restaurant is now offering a $35 prix fixe menu that changes weekly.

That’s in addition to the regular a la carte menu and the five ($59) and seven course ($69) menus, Fond’s Chef’s Table can be reserved for four to ten people and chef Styer will work with his guests to create a custom nine-course tasting menu.

Fond’s winter menu »

Two Bells for La Peg

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig LaBan reviews La Peg and finds that the restaurant it heading in the right direction after a rocky start. But along the way, at least there were some naked performers and a great view of the Ben Franklin Bridge and Delaware River.

By my final visit in December, though, a shift to a more traditional app-entree menu format, and a subtle reversion to a more classic French repertoire, seemed to have smoothed out most kinks in chef de cuisine Nicholas Bazik’s kitchen.

Two Bells – Very Good

La Peg, pumping up the polish [Philadelphia Inquirer]
La Peg [Foobooz]

Meritage Names New Chef, Rolls Out New Menu

meritage-beets-400Meritage at 20th and Lombard has named Paul Gauthier as its new executive chef. Gauthier, who is a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute replaces Anne Coll (who is going to be running the kitchen at Susanna Foo’s new Center City restaurant) who was the longtime Meritage chef and her successor, Adam Ratmoko.

In a adjective rich release, Meritage promises Gauthier will bring “seasonally inspired cuisine prepared with a modern French technique” to the restaurant.

The menu no longer has any hits of Asian influence but now offers standards like Beef Bourguignon, Bolognese and seared salmon.

Check out the full menu » 

Petit Rôti Brings French Rotisserie to Washington Square West

petit-roti-400Chef Olivier Desaintmartin of ZINC and Caribou Cafe has opened Petit Rôti, his French rotisserie at 248 S 11th Street. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., serving a menu of rotisserie chicken as well as roasted pork and prime rib. Sandwiches range are $8.50 and dinners range from $15.50 to $22.50.

Petit Rôti also offers baguettes, pâte, smoked ham and a chicken soup of the day. A pantry is stocked with oils, vinegars, mustards, jams and more for home use.

The storefront is mainly to-go but does offer some stand up space in order to eat-in.

Read more »

Full Menu for Girard’s Opening Day

girard-on-girard-interior-940

Girard–the new 70-seat, “no-tip” Frenchy BYO brasserie and bruncherie–is opening today. As a matter of fact, it’s open right now.

The restaurant (which is open from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays) is featuring brunch standards, as well as liquefied fruits and vegetables–which are presented as “Liquid Breakfast.” The menu will be health conscious and seasonal.

A “Roti,” or roast, will also be available on rotation, starting with French leg of lamb on Tuesdays, roasted cauliflower on Wednesdays, crown roast of pork on Thursdays, and whole roasted fish on Fridays.

Girard is also reservation-only, so if you want to dine, you’ll have to arrange it in advance.

And with that, here’s the full menu…

Read more »

Two Bells for Bardot

 

Craig LaBan heads to Northern Liberties to take in the cooking of Rhett Vellner atBardot, the French bar/restaurant from the Pub on Passyunk East’s Dennis Hewlett.

Vellner shows real delicacy in his take on the common beet, salt-roasted in coriander-fennel spice and paired with creamy onion soubise, goat cheese, and the crumbles of a walnut-rye bread streusel (de rigueur these days, as faux “soil”). A crisp fillet of arctic char was also spot-on, with an earthy duo of parsnips (pureed and creamy with ginger; crisped into ribbons) and the surprising fusion spark of funky kimchi.

Two Bells – Very Good

Bardot Cafe: Sophisticated, if a bit faux, French fare in Northern Liberties [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Bardot [Foobooz]

La Peg Now Offering Brunch

la-peg-upstairs-940La Peg is starting to serve weekend brunch, starting this weekend.

The French brasserie’s  brunch menu will be served on Saturdays and Sunday from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. and includes an array of breakfast foods, along with more lunch plates.

Breakfast dishes offered include Eggs Florentine; Omelette with bacon and caramelized onion, gruyere, potatoes, salad; crepes with sweet mascarpone and fresh fruit; and biscuits and gravy.

Chef Peter Woolsey brags, he knows brunch, it’s the only meal he and his family get to eat out during the week.

Read more »

Adaptive Reuse Proves Difficult at La Peg

La Peg at FringeArts | Photo by Kevin Monko

La Peg at FringeArts | Photo by Kevin Monko

Rick Nichols checks in at La Peg, Peter Woolsey’s two month old French brasserie at the once-upon-a-time pump house that is now the home of FringeArts. Nichols finds that the transition from early 20th century high-pressure water station to present day restaurant has been difficult.

That its menu takes liberties with disciplined bistro classics doesn’t help matters. My bowl of Vietnamese beef-noodle pho consomme was cloyingly sweet. And while my wife was happy with her steak-frite, as was I with a small plate of roasted striped bass, my choucroute garnie – so wonderful when the sauerkraut is cooked long and slow enough to soak up the flavors of the sausage – tasted as if a bag of crunchy, coarse-cut kraut had been warmed up at the last minute, then layered with grilled sausage, entirely missing the point of the dish.

Reinventing pump house as eatery proves daunting [Philadelphia Inquirer]
La Peg [Foobooz]

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