What, PhillyBestBYOB, no reviews of Bibou??? And you call yourself an expert on Philly BYOBs?
Although I enjoyed this amazing restaurant a total of 5 times in 2012 and 3 time so far in 2013, I went to the "Bibou at Blackfish" dinner last Monday and we are planning a Southern Rhone wine dinner for next week, for some reason I have kept putting this review off. Perhaps I don't feel that I can really do Bibou the justice it deserves, or maybe I'm having trouble picking the ultimate of ultimate dining experiences, from among so many great meals, about which to write a truly epic ode to French bistros.
Or maybe I'm just procrastinating?
Anyway, I'm going to pick a dinner from last year to write about, since I took photos of all the dishes and have pretty good tasting notes (although appologies to Bibou if I get some of the ingredients wrong...I love Pierre's sexy French accent, but I don't always catch everything).
Since this is an ode, some accompanying music seems appropriate (you know this has to be a great restaurant if someone takes the trouble to write a rap song about it, explicit lyrics and all!):
"She said she wanted foie gra,
And some escargot.
I said I didn't care for that,
Was tired of the snow.
She ordered three appetizers,
And wanted one to go.
I told her she was crazy.
What she doin', I don't know."
Sunday, 21 October 2012 (see photos):
10 of us, 9 guys and 1 gal (Ladies, this is why you should go to our wine dinners, the guys usually outnumber the gals, so you will be totally fawned over!) met for a Champagne and Rhone wine dinner at Bibou. An early seating at 6PM, since these dinners usually last ~4 1/2 hours, and good luck trying to get parking around Bibou at 8:30PM on a Sunday night.
In tiny Bibou, a 10-top takes up ~1/3 the room, and given how long these diners last, we are obviously being treated very well by owners Chef Pierre and Charlotte Calmels, since they could probably turn the space a couple of time (although we always order a 7-course tasting menu, so hopefully this all works out financially for them).
As usual, Chef Pierre created a tasting largely composed of dishes that were on the menu that night, but he often throws in a dish or two just for us, or fulfills a special request (like the amazing 3-fish pate from the old days at Le Bec Fin, which would be too much work to serve to everyone). That night we enjoyed:
1st course: Pheasant consommé, poured over bites of pheasant -- I'm not usually a consommé fan, preferring richer soups, but there is no question that this was an elegant start to the meal.
2nd course: Venison saddle-cherizo-pistashio-foie gras terrine, with date compote, mustard greens -- Always order whatever pate or terrine is on the menu at Bibou and you will not regret it
3rd course: Scallop, butternut squash, pomegrante, milk-lemon-infused verbena, purple potato puree and potato chip -- A visually striking dish (look at the photo!), with a large perfectly seared scallop that was melt in your mouth
4th course: Foie gras ravioli, Pergourdine sauce (usually a veal sauce made with a sweet wine like Monbazzilac), black truffles -- In my mind, one of Pierre's signature dishes, the combination of foie, pasta, truffle is killer
5th course: Beef tripe, baked in a white wine sauce of tomato, onion, garlic, chicken stock, bread crumbs -- I had this amazing dish for the first time a couple of weeks before, so we specifically requested it...it takes 6-7 hours to prepare this...nice with our Rhones, but really dying for an Italian Sangiovese (sorry Charlotte!)
6th course: Venison meat pie, white chanterelles, blood-current-red wine sauce, mustard greens -- A first-time dish for me, Pierre selected this to match our wines (and everyone in the restaurant benefited), this was everyone's DOTN (Dish of the Night)...don't let the blood sauce scare you, a must order dish if you see it on the menu
Regarding the above dish, I overheard the following comment: "Stupid good!" (Craig LaBan couldn't describe it better).