after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

in case there was doubt

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t says:  With the opening of Le Cheri, the Calmels’s new spot on Rittenhouse, one could imagine a scenario where their flagship Bibou might suffer.  After all, Pierre can’t be in two places at once.  Always up for an investigation, the adsz team was all over it like white on rice, making the state-of-emergency-all-hell-is-breaking-loose snowstorm into an opportunity to dine at a restaurant that normally is just too booked to get into.  Well here are the results …

February 2012, Thursday Dinner, Party of 5.  Roll the pictures:

wine

We started the dinner off with a unique wine from Ayoub, a small production winery in Oregon.  This was a Blanc-de-Noir, a white wine made from pinot noir grapes, similar to a Blanc-de-Noir champagne.  Only 20 cases were made in total, so to say that it’s limited would be accurate.  As you can see, it’s not a completely “white” wine, with a hint of orange in the glass.  On the nose, it smelled of apple pie, and on the palate initially there was rich fruit and vanilla (almost like a Chardonnay that had undergone MLF), but then such a bright citrus zip on the finish that was quite amazing.  A very different style of Blanc-de-Noir than I’ve had in the past, but we’ll see what some bottle age does for it.

app

Shrimp salad / “Crevette”: This was a very refreshing appetizer and highly recommended.  Although there are a lot of other things on the plate, the shrimp was the highlight and came through nicely.

bone

bone marrow: this was supposed to be an entree but we got one for the table to share as an extra appetizer.  Yes, it was rich and luscious and everything you’d hope bone marrow could be.  I do wish there was a little less breadcrumb so you could get a little more of that unctuous bone marrow texture, but it was nevertheless a great appetizer.  And yes, a and I did do a small 2001 A Space Odyssey reenactment.  g and v disapproved.

snail

oh the escargots … still bowl of garlicky crack if there ever was such a thing.

pig

pig’s foot.  Yea – it’s still my number 1 choice.  The lentils were a little more al dente than I’ve had in the past, but the trotters piggy sweetness still sang its 80’s-style power-ballad with such dramatic flare that you cannot help but be moved.  (v says: but mine didn’t rock my world as it usually does!  something just doesn’t seem right.)  I felt like it was the lentils – they could have used a bit more pork and a bit more of that smokey/salty flavor.

a suspected that his venison special was superior (a says: My venison was prepared beautifully, the best meat I’ve had in a long time – gamey without being overpowering; succulent), and while I agree that that, too, was an extraordinarily well-executed piece of animal meat, it could have been a touch too sweet for my taste.  a promptly told me to stop being an idiot.

syeak

g went for the steak, which is not surprising.  She gave me half of one piece in lieu of the typical two-piece allotment of steak I routinely get.  Conclusion: it’s still awesome.  The secret is in that peppercorn, asparagus, red wine sauce.  Similar to the pig’s foot, there may be crack in there, too.  Never having had crack, I have no basis for comparison, but I know the flavor haunted me long after the waiter had cleared the plates.

cake

Bibou’s weakness has always been dessert.  The desserts aren’t flashy, which I understand, as this is supposed to be “French peasant” after all.  My problem is that just because they’re simple doesn’t mean they have to be boring.  This is a piece of chocolate cake with some banana and banana-rum topping.  That’s it.  Chocolate, banana, rum.  Maybe a few berries strewn around.  The cake is like a dense, slightly crumbly chocolate cake.  Alas, it does not at all compare to the likes of desserts we’ve had at Serpico and Talula’s Garden.  It is a sweet way to end a meal, but deep down inside, don’t you wish for a finish with a bang? (or at least a nearby Capo Giro …)

chee

Similarly, the cheese selection and accompaniments are not that blow-your-mind, either.  It strikes me as very simple.  Very European.  Bibou’s just like: “hey – here’s some cheese and some bread.”  No candied nuts.  No lavender honey.  No garlic dulce-de-leche.  No 6 different kinds of crisps.  Just some cheese and some bread and some apple.  Oh – and there’s some tomato jam as well.  Don’t get me wrong, the cheeses are solid selections, and they are able to end a meal just fine … but don’t you wish there were fireworks?  Maybe I’m just too American about my desserts …

So, in summary, Bibou’s food is pretty much the same as it was in the past.  Sure, there are some very subtle rough edges (the lentils didn’t have as much pork strewn about, the escargots were a smidge smaller than previous), but it’s still absolutely worth going to, as the kitchen is still cranking out top-notch foods that make you feel all warm and happy inside.  And had we not known that Pierre wasn’t there, maybe we wouldn’t have even noticed  … well except at the end when Chef Ron comes out to say hello instead of Pierre (he’s still a very nice guy – maybe lacking the charm of Pierre’s bashful French accent, but still very nice).  I think what adsz will miss the most, however, is the front of house.  Our favorite server has moved on to Le Cheri (the replacements are very capable and kind, but we miss our guy’s award-winning smile), and we miss having Charlotte flit about the room, speaking French, shmoozing with guests (although Yuki’s demeanor is very warm and inviting).  In sum, we’re sure they’ll do very well there.  For the future, we look forward to tasting the non-steak, non-pig’s-foot, non-escargot dishes (i.e. the ones chef is obligated to continue to serve because too many people would cry if he stopped), as I’m sure we will come to find Chef Ron’s voice among the Pierre’s legacy.

All in all, it was a great dinner.  And to be honest, the only real “bad” part was trudging back to South Street through Snow-pocalypse IV due to lack of cabs in the area.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

17 February 2014 at 12:07pm

Posted in in Philadelphia, Restaurant Reviews

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