Sunday, February 14, 2010

A luxurious evening in Philadelphia.

Last night Meredith and I went out for a night on the town to celebrate her birthday, and the obvious Valentine's ritual. Last year we had gone to Steven Starr's Tangerine (now closed and only used for private functions). The atmosphere of Tangerine was excellent, and the food amazing for the price point. It was dark and one of the walls beautifully lit by hundreds of small candles sitting in personal little stone cubbies. The tables were small, and the chairs short to the ground, but not so that my prosthetic, an old one at the time, did not feel comfortable. A fantastic evening.

Yesterday was mixed. I got out of work at 8:30 and rushed home to change and make it for our 9 pm reservation at Bar Lyonnais, the downstairs restaurant of Perrier's Le Bec Fin classic. We got their 3 minutes early, and stood there in front of the host's podium for five minutes, unwelcomed, and listened to an assistant manager tell the manager of three customer complaints, while the manager replied to him that "[he] didn't care about Mr. X. He can wait. He doesn't impress me!" Wow, as a guest, I really enjoyed that conversation. We were led downstairs, our coats taken and left to mingle. There are about 8 tables and a long beautiful bar. The lighting is perfect and Charlie Parker gently played. But it is Saturday night and the the place is packed!

It took another 15 minutes to get a drink order taken (time now is 9:20), 10 minutes to get the drink, and only then did they realize that our reservations were for downstairs. We sat down at 9:30. Besides this pointless half hour, at least we were hanging out in a nice place! For our first course, they had ran out of the Rabbit terrine, so I had the Mushroom Ravioli with Ivory sauce. This was five postage stamp ravioli stuffed with duxelle, centered sauteed lobster and chantrelle mushrooms, micro green garnish and doused in a creamy mushroom ("ivory") sauce. Good, and the dished tasted what it was supposed to taste like. A mushroom. I think there was an acid component missing...maybe a trinkle of sherry or white port in the cooking. This would have kept the flavor consistent from start to finish rather than what really happened: I couldn't really taste it by the last mouthful. Meredith had snails in a hazlenut butter served in a silver cassoulette, and was delicious. We had a bottle of '96 Bourdeaux, Chateau Bourg. At about $80, one of the cheapest on the menu.

I took a steak frites rare (ribeye) and bordelaise and Meredith had the cassoulet with rabbit sausage and duck confit. Cheese course was ok, but they were described as "Spanish blue, triple cream, smoked gouda, italian hard???, and goat cheese with ash." I am a chef, and would like to have known the real names. Oh well. Dessert was arguably the best part of the meal. We had a tasting of three cakes: the Mathilde (raspberry and key lime) was AMAZING! Then the Le Bec Fin chocolate cake and an apple tart were both excellent.

After dinner we headed to the Four Season's Swann Lounge for jazz, campari and dancing. Truly a romantic end to a wonderful night.
Hope everybody had a fantastic weekend!


1 comment:

  1. As I read this, Charlie, I wonder if service and staff attitude problems, like those you just described, would have been tolerated at Kempinski Djibouti.