after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Nous aimons Bibou …

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t says: Ok, so it’s been about a decade since I’ve had French classes – so the title might not actually say “We love Bibou.”  But if it does – hooray!  Because we’re about to give you an update about the joint:

IT …



g’s mom got us a gift certificate for Christmas, so we wasted no time in booking a reservation.  We signed up to go for the the Sunday dinner fixed price dealio and cabbed our way down to the restaurant.  Forget the rest of the setup – let’s dive into the food …

1/2011, Sun 8pm, Party of 2. First course was a delicious sunchoke ?cauliflower? soup.  It was a nice start to a winter meal.  Its was warm and rich, but the flavors were light enough to make us want more.  But I’m glad they didn’t give us more – I wanted to pace myself.  I knew what was next …

The escargots.  These escargots are no mere snails.  They are an unstoppable company of elite gastropods whose sole mission is to make your mouth happy.  I get them every time, and every time, they are the perfect appetizer.  Perfect texture, perfect flavor (but you have to like garlic – it’s a major component), perfect size, and the perfect sauce that g and I just have to sop up every bit of because to let the dish go back to the kitchen in any condition but completely clean is an absolute, unforgivable travesty …  I need to take a break while I clean up the puddle of saliva that has accumulated on my shirt as a result of merely thinking of the escargots.  Take over, g!

g says: I tried a special of the evening — wild boar chop with red quinoa — and was simply blown away. For being “wild” boar, Pierre certainly tamed it, as my dish was not the least bit gamey, and it was rather light and tender. I had always thought French food required a certain level of heaviness, but this meal was anything but.  In fact, the bottle of Chablis that we brought took me through just about my entire meal, which was a pleasant surprise (my other courses included arctic char tartare, a cheese plate, and honey/chocolate ice cream). All fabulous, and a nice reminder of why we return here at least once or twice a year for special occasions.

t says: Ok, the puddle has been mopped up.  For now.  I say “for now” because I will next describe for you the fried pig’s feet stuffed with foie that I had as my main course.  Holy bejesus – it was like a red-headed step-child of a stupendous pork belly (the fat), pork shoulder (the meat), and fried chicken (the skin).  But this was a good red-headed step-child – perhaps it was more like “a cross between Fergie and Jesus” (Step Brothers, anyone?).  The moist tender meat sung a sweet/salty pork, backed by luscious fat and a delicately crisped skin.  I’m not sure the foie was completely appreciated in this dish – or maybe that’s why it was so silky on the tongue?  The french lentils underneath were good, too.  Personally, I normally feel like lentils are a “filler” that lacks much flavor on its own, but here they are executed well enough where I actually took a few spoonfuls unaccompanied by pieces of the pig feet superstar – quite tasty!  I remembered how a friend of ours claimed that Bibou does the best pig’s feet he’s ever had (he’s Chinese and has consumed a lot of pig’s feet).  While I’ve never had pig’s feet prior to this, I would not be surprised if they are indeed the best ever and would be quite content to simply never eat another foot of pig if it meant that I’d avoid future disappointment.

What else was great?  Well, first off, we love it with Monsieur Calmels comes out and greets us.  g totally shmoozed him up with how great her dish was (she didn’t lie or stretch the truth – but as you can tell – the truth is flattering enough).  He was very nice and humble and told us a bit about how it was prepared; he’s comes across as a very nice guy and a class act, complete with a soothing French accent (not the kind that’s pompous like on cartoons).

We also love it when Charlotte “gets real”.  She sat down at the table next to ours and chatted in French with those guests.  That’s right – we eavesdropped the entire time.  What’d they talk about?  I have no idea – I don’t speak French (high school was a long time ago – l, we really needed you!!!).  However, there were some definite phrases that I understood, because they did have to translate for one of the guests at the table who spoke no French.  So what were they talking about?  Well, I can’t give you details (because it might be inaccurate and I don’t want to start any rumors), but what I think we got was an insider’s scoop into some thoughts about the French-ness of French restaurants in Philly, the similarity of Biba and Bibou, the style of Stephen Starr, the accuracy of Philly Mag’s Top 50 list, the accuracy of Blackfish’s number 1 position standing in the Philly mag Top 50 list, and more!  Even if it was just some late-night gossip, it was still a ton of fun.

Were there any drawbacks?  Yes, there was one.  One that nearly crushed g’s heart.  When they took our dessert order, they told us they didn’t have any banana tartine left, which g was gunning for since she first saw the list when we sat down.  We decided to go for the ice cream and the creme brulee instead (which were both still very good).  But alas – we found out that we were lied to.  The table of French-speaking people who arrived after us and were sitting with Charlotte were given an order – and they had ordered their dessert (and were seated) way after us!!  We definitely could not mistake what our ears heard as their desserts hit the table: “Banana Tartine” (I’m saying it with a thick/fake/ridiculous French accent).  Yes – I’m sure they were friends of the owners or something, and g and I admitted that we’d do the same – but I guess I’d do it just a little more discreetly.  I think we weren’t disappointed that they participated in such a practice, rather, we were envious that we were not [yet] buddy-buddy enough to receive the forbidden fruits of the “we’re all out” excuse.  Maybe next time.  After all – we have run into them at Cochon eating brunch before.  And as we have come to find when we told Charlotte where we’d like a cab to take us, that we and she were almost neighbors (we’re in the same neighborhood!).  Awesome.  I think we’ll have to keep an eye out for them …  Maybe we’ll just carpool next time (why the hell is it so hard to get a cab to come out to South Philly?).  If nothing else, in our neighborly discourse, it’d also be interesting to hear her thoughts about restaurants more local to us … like Meme …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

28 January 2011 at 4:38am

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