According to Craig LaBan, Pierre Calmels is hitting on all cylinders at his new Le Cheri. LaBan’s list of favorites appears to be most of the menu.
I can’t remember a better steak tartare than Le Chéri’s finely diced filet, edgy with Dijon and glossed with raw yolk, mounded atop the crispy potato lattice of fresh gaufrette chips. The onion soup is deeply sweet from onions caramelized for hours, but balanced with wine and stock, then sealed beneath the nutty tang of molten Comte. Familiar steak-frites gets an upgrade with earthy bavette (flat sirloin) and shallots soaked in Marchand de Vin gravy. The potatoes “Darphin,” crispy rails of shredded spuds in clarified butter, are the hash-brown sticks of my dreams. The choucroute is a classic crock of kraut beer-stewed to brown with bacon, foie gras fat, and house-made duck-pork sausage, then topped with a crispy blade of braised pork belly and mildly salted but flavorful duck confit.
Three Bells – Excellent
Calmelses’ Le Cheri: Back to Bistro [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Le Cheri [Foobooz]
House cured and smoked pork shoulder, smothered in Cayenne dry rub.
In early February we told you that Plenty was dropping its excellent Tasso Ham Panini. The news left us bitterly disappointed and we considered descending on the sandwich spot with pitchforks raised. Luckily that won’t be necessary as the tasso ham panini is back for at least a limited time. The official reasoning is that its for Mardi Gras but with the tease that it might be extended, we’re putting this one in the win column.
Plenty – Rittenhouse [Foobooz]
Plenty – East Passyunk [Foobooz]
Rittenhouse Square: where the stately elm trees are almost as old as the 19th-century homes and where a fully finished basement level is marketed not just as an in-law suite but as potential au-pair quarters.
This nearly 6,000-square-foot home features four floors above ground as well as the underground suite. There are seven bedrooms with five full baths and a powder room. Of course any home in Rittenhouse worth its salt also includes a library and a garden, and this one comes with its own 100-year-old elm.
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Handcut Fries at Shake Shack | Photo by Evan Sung
The Shake Shack at 20th and Sansom may have been Philadelphia’s first but it is the last to offer non-frozen fries. But that’s over today as Center City’s Shake Shack is on the fresh-cut bandwagon.
And in honor of the changeover, Shake Shack Center City is giving away free fries with the purchase of a Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister Ale.
The offer runs until the keg is kicked.
Shake Shack – Center City [Foobooz]
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]
On Thursday morning, a 58-year-old woman was found dead in front of the Dorchester building on Rittenhouse Square. Police are calling it an “apparent suicide.” They report that the time of death was shortly after 10 a.m. Read more »
Remember what a big deal it was when Crumbs Bake Shop came to town? We reported on the announcement, tracked the location in Rittenhouse Square and it even made the news when their awning went up. Cupcake aficionados were honestly excited about this publicly-traded, bi-coastal operation coming to Philly.
Well, now the Rittenhouse location is closed. It lasted just over a year in its space, and such a rapid departure for a proven operation like Crumbs has us thinking: Does this closure say something about us as a city?
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In December, they did Top Gun–a classic of American cinema–with excellent themed cocktails based on the movie. And now, the crew from Franklin Mortgage is going back to the well once again for a Sunday Movie Night event featuring the completely insane Cage/Travolta masterpiece Face/Off. There’s gonna be cool drinks for just $11 a pop, pizza from the guys at Pitruco, Mike Treffehn and Catherine Manning behind the stick, and all the madness that comes of anything involving Nicolas Cage.
So, Sunday night, January 26. Make your plans now. And check out the cocktail menu below to get you in the mood.
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The second night of Philly Cooks Tasting Tours are on sale now (the first night sold outin a matter of hours). We’re offering three different neighborhood tours on Tuesday, February 18th. Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square West and Queen Village tours are all on sale now. Tickets to these events are very limited and sure to sell out fast.
Check out the details »
Photo of Allan Domb in the lobby of Parc Rittenhouse by Laura Kicey
Last night at Parc almost every real estate agent in Philadelphia, eight City Council members (Jannie Blackwell, Brian O’Neill, Jim Kenney, Mark Squilla, Cindy Bass, Kenyatta Johnson, Maria Quiñones-Sanchez, and Council prez Darrell Clarke), and a number of important civic leaders gathered to celebrate developer/realtor Allan Domb on the occasion of his inauguration as 89th president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors (GPAR).
The crowd was well-heeled in that brokerish way: the young men made ample use of hair gel and the young women wore LBDs and heels. Everyone looked very polished and coiffed, though the Council members tend to have their own style. Jim Kenney was wearing a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, and looked the entire time like he was about to run off either to teach a class on American poetry or join friends for a few rounds of Guinness.
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