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.
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.
This weekend Metropolitan Gallery 250 will showcase artwork from students in the Fresh Artists’ “Palates to Palettes” program. Designed by Philadelphia art teacher Deva Watson, the program highlights fine art and culinary art, allowing Wissahickon Charter School and Meredith Elementary School students to experience both first hand.
La 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.
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.
Citypaper’s Adam Erace recently reviewed the Philadelphia brasserie, La Peg, praising the restaurant’s architectural aesthetics, comfortable energy, and window view. However, while Erace enjoyed various classical options at La Peg, he was critical towards any diversions from the traditional French cuisine offered on the menu.
“At La Peg, there’s a freewheeling spirit you don’t get at the beautiful and severe Minette, but a little of the latter’s discipline could help sharpen the experience here. Sriracha turned up a lot, which felt like a trick of a lesser restaurant,” he said.
“The picnic-friendly Parisian sandwich could use ham with more character (and smoke) than the timid French import filling its buttered baguette,” Erace criticized. However, when the last course of the evening, the apple tart, was served, he said he forgave all other imperfections: “I savored the last bite and view. Perfect, both of them.”
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.
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.
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.
Chefs Alex Boonphaya (of Circles) and Peter Woolsey (of Bistrot La Minette) were just going to get together for a plain old collaboration dinner in celebration of the upcoming Thai New Year. But then they thought, “Hey, you know what would be more fun? Let’s turn it into a battle!”
Which is exactly what they’re doing–a 3-course by 3-course, head-to-head cook-off wherein 40 guests will get to determine who is the best Thai cook in the house. And if you’re up for it, you can be one of those 40 judges.