PRIVATE DINNER WITH CHEF GEORGES PERRIER AT BARIL
(Rittenhouse Square, Philly)
(Posted on my blog, so forgive the history lesson lol.)
I came back to Philly for a long weekend specifically to attend a private dinner for 12 at Baril prepared by legendary French Chef Georges Perrier in collaboration with Chef Ken Wallace.
If you don't know Chef Perrier's history and the history of Le Bec Fin, which was once considered the best French restaurant in the America, I urge you to watch the documentary "King Georges" (on Hulu.com). Julia Child and he are often credited with really introducing French food to Americans in the 1970's.
Apparently Georges has been involved in this restaurant since it's predicessor, and it appears he continues to be involved (or at least a mentor and supporter) under it's new Chef Ken Wallace. The famous LBF cheese cart is still being wheeled around Baril!
I am fortunate to have dined many times at Le Bec Fin starting in 2010, and was even there for their very final service night on March 3rd 2012 (I'm still pissed I didn't end up in the movie!). So it was a real pleasure to have the chance to taste Chef Perrier's cooking again. However, this was a private dinner that may not be the typical dining experience at Baril. But if you would like to replicate this meal, talk to the restaurant! Also, according to this article, Chef Perrier cooks traditional bouillabaisse at Baril on the first Friday of every month:
For our excellent 8-course menu (plus we couldn't pass up a cheese course from that famous cart), for $160/pp we enjoyed:
SOUPE TROPINAMBOUR: Jerusalem artichoke, summer truffles, gaufrette
NANTUCKET BAY SCALLOPS: Bouillabaisse consomme
BLACK BASS A LA ORIENTAL: Preserved lemon, parsley, crispy Basmati rice, wild garlic
PAMPLEMOUSSE GRANITE: Grapefruit
FOIE GRAS-CHICKEN LIVER TERRINE: Perigourdine gelee, English pea puree
CAILLE: Roast breast and confit leg of quail, quail egg, Pommes Maxim, Jus de Caille
PENNSYLVANIA LAMB SADDLE: Ratatouille, Pommes Boulangere
CHEESE CARTE (additional cost for 4 cheeses x 3 for 12)
SOUPE DES FRUITS
ILE FLOTTANTE: Poached meringue, Creme Anglaise, dried caramel
As you can see from the menu, this is old-school cooking, a la Le Bec Fin. I've actually attended one of these dinners before at the predecessor restaurant and have had the Soup des Fruits, but the rest were new dishes. However, when we actually got down to eating, I realized that several of the dishes had interesting modern twists in them, which I presume was the result of the collaboration with Chef Wallace.
In particular, I absolutely loved the Black Bass dish. It looked old school, and the fish was cooked perfectly, but the addition of the crispy Basamati rice added a modern contrasty texture that put the dish over the top. My Dish of the Night.
As you can see from my photos, the Foie Gras wasn't really what I would call a terrine, but more of a mousse. We had some debate about what wine to pair with this dish, the d'Yquem or the Huet from a legendary non-boytricized year. We went with the sweeter d'Yquem, which turned out to be the best wine-food pairing of the night.
Speaking of wines, we BYOB'ed the following:
~2000 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon
~2013 Cédric Bouchard Champagne Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine (dis 4/15)
~2014 Cédric Bouchard Champagne Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine (dis 4/16)
~2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
~1996 Dom. Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées Clos de la Truffière
~2010 Domaine Robert Groffier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Seuvrées
~2012 Cournut Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Maltroie
~1995 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle
~2005 E. Guigal Ermitage Ex-Voto
~2001 Dom. Robert Groffier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Seuvrées [corked]
~2004 Château d'Yquem
~1989 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Le Haut-Lieu
A leisurely meal, pace-wise, but the service was excellent and I don't mind a slow pace when you have lots of wine and friends to engage with. Wine glasses were excellent and the servers iced, poured and decanted as appropriate. We had the back 1/2 of the restaurant to ourselves, but others were dining in the front or at the small bar at the same time. There are garages in the area, as the restaurant is only 1/2 block off of Rittenhouse Square (no valet though).
Not the least expensive foodie adventure you can do in Philly, but hanging out with a legendary chef and enjoying serious old-school French cooking is well worth the price of admission. The only disappointment was that while I got to shake Chef Georges' hand, he took off before we were done, and so no groupie photos to share!
This was my 2nd meal in Philly of the weekend, preceded by omakase at Royal Sushi and Isakaya on Friday and dinner at At the Table BYOB in Wayne on Sunday night.
I won't count chili dogs at Nathan's (NJ Turnpike) as a meal!
267 S 19th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103