after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Bibou: Cozy and Delicious

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t says: As we sat in Meritage on the Saturday of the first big snowstorm we’ve ever experienced in Philly (and what turned out to be the first of many snowfalls for the 2009-2010 winter), we realized that, in all likelihood, restaurants were going to be empty the next day, as the accumulation was >20″.  So was there any place that we’ve been dying to try but just couldn’t get a reservation?  One name came to mind: Bibou.  So the next day, g camped out on opentable.com and waited for someone to cancel their reservation – which they did!  Sooo … we aerated/decanted a bottle of ’05 Bordeaux (from the Left Bank), hailed a cab, and off we went!  We had effectively squeaked into Bibou!

Unfortunately, a lot of time has passed between now and when we ate, so our memories of the components of each dish are a little fuzzy – but our general impressions are intact and below for your consideration.

12/2009, Sunday 5:30pm, Party of 2, $45 4-course dinner. We were seated promptly at a two-top near the window, which would have been nice, but, because it was snowing, it was quite drafty!  We inched away from the window a little bit and went for our wine to give us a nice warm feeling inside.  Fortunately, the service was so good that I felt that our location was made up for.

For our first course, we both went with the white bean soup.  It was warm and creamy, but still very light and inviting.  I was not concerned with filling up on soup.

For our second course, g had the oxtail terrine and I had the escargots.  g’s terrine was a cold dish, and she was surprised that she liked it as much as she did, as she’s not the biggest fan of oxtail.  I felt that the escargots (with fava beans) outshone the terrine.  They were amazingly tender and in a garlicky sauce that tastes “like home”.  Don’t be confused – I never had escargots when I was growing up (I’ve actually only had them a handful of times) and I don’t make them in my apartment, but there was something about this sauce that felt homely – it was simple but delicious.  After I devoured the snails, g and I proceeded to sop up every last drop of the sauce with our bread.

For the entree, I had the lamb (+$8 premium), while g went for the hanger steak.  I remember that the lamb was superbly cooked and well-seasoned – it was a solid, delicious dish of lamb.  I unfortunately can’t remember much of the other flavors they coupled with the lamb because I also tasted g’s dish.  Hers was better.  This was shocking because I love lamb.  While I only took a few bites of hers throughout the meal (we like to share), I can say that hers was the best hanger steak I’ve ever had (something about their seasoning, their sauce, and the texture of the meat was as tender as a braised short rib!).  Now I know why every restaurant keeps trying to serve it!

We went for the optional cheese plate which gave us three super-flavorful cheeses (no wussy cheeses here).  While we don’t know a whole lot about cheese (except for that we like cheese), we appreciated that they picked cheeses with a variety of tastes and textures.  That said, g and I are not huge fans of blue cheeses, so we gravitated towards the other 2.

For dessert, we enjoyed the buche de noel and the slice of cranberry pie.  While the yule log was an excellent dessert, it didn’t really put forth a ton of flavor; it was simple and to the point: chocolate cake and creamy vanilla filling.  It was like a good dessert one could make at home (if one routinely makes buche de noel at home).  I preferred the pie.  First, the size of our slice of pie was very large for a dessert course – I wonder if they were just trying to get rid of it?  Even if they were, and gave us an entire pie, it wouldn’t have mattered – I would have eaten it all.  The cranberry tartness was salient but balanced well by the sweet.  The filling was not too stiff and not too runny – right on!  The crust wasn’t soggy, either.  Once again, this was a simple [well-executed] dessert with no frills, however, as you might be guessing, I finished the entire slice, even though I was full – I couldn’t help it.

In summary, Bibou offered a nice, cozy atmosphere and delicious, no-frills food.  The hanger steak and escargots were shining stars, while the desserts (that pie!) were a pleasant, simple period on the end of a great meal (Zahav has more of an exclamation point).  These, in combination with a great bottle of wine made up the best meal we’ve had since Cochon (it’d be a tough time figuring out who’s better).

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

20 February 2010 at 10:16am

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