Restaurants & Bars 5

One day in Philly

hhost.ca | Sep 19, 200907:47 PM

We are passing through on the way back to Canada so I figured we should spend a day.

My last trip to Philly was disappointing. I could not find a cheese steak sandwich that was even good. Lot's of recommendations but give me a break with the cheese whiz and canned mushrooms. Nothing close to a good sandwich when you use those toppings.

This time around I had very limited time and reservations at Bibou so as soon as I got to the city I went to Dalessandro's. Finally a cheese steak that I consider to be really, really good. I'm sure there are many more in the city but the last time I only went to 3 places and all were average.

That brings us to Bibou.
I did a lot of research on this board and others and the consensus seemed to be that Bibou is the best if not one of the best restaurants in the city. Really?

With all due respect this restaurant is average.
And I don't even mean average by big city standards. I can name 4 better restaurants in Charlottetown, PEI.

Started with the foie gras.
I'm pretty skeptical when I order foie and it's only $15 but they pulled this dish off very well.
A tiny poached pear with a cinnamon scented pastry and ginger jus. Very nicely done and a good portion of foie.

The chilled fennel soup was good. I'm not a big fan of fennel but this was balanced well with the tomato. My wife enjoyed it more than I did.

They had a special of sauteed chanterelle mushrooms on this evening. Pretty basic, sauteed with shallot, garlic, port/sherry, and cream.
This could have been very good because I love all mushrooms but as usually happens the shallot/garlic blend is sauteed at too high heat and the flavor ends up dominating the dish and you can't taste the mushroom.
IMHO the mushrooms should always be sauteed first and then the shallots and garlic just sweated in the mushroom juices before adding glace and cream.

Main courses were the Pied de Porc, which was OK. The flavor was fine and it was served in a bowl of lentils flavored with bacon. Certainly nothing outstanding and very little foie gras to be found.
A few days ago I had the stuffed Pied de Cochon at the restaurant of the same name in Montreal so the bar was set pretty high. This one didn't match up at all.

I also had the veal dish. Veal medallions with sweetbreads.
I love sweetbreads but not the way they were presented here. The veal medallions were fine but they were just salted and seared on a flat top. Nothing new here.
The sweetbreads, instead of being cut in nice slices were basically chopped into small bits and almost seemed deep fried. They were mixed in with an unremarkable orzo.

Risotto would have worked much better and a simple seared slice of sweetbread would serve the dish much better.
Worst of all, the greens that were mixed in with the orzo were very gritty. They were either not washed at all or they were very poorly washed.
That is unacceptable on all levels.

I don't mind a crowded room. I don't mind a little noise.
The hostess, (one of the owners?) was very friendly. The servers ranged from good to sloppy.

Overall I would only give this restaurant a 5.
I know that may be fair based on a single visit but that's the only visit I will probably make.

On a side note, what is the deal with the traffic.
We were in Philly on a Saturday Afternoon and it too an hour to get a few blocks in any direction.

I assume that at least one of the teams were playing.
Was Penn playing? I didn't think Ivy league started this early.
I know Temple was playing at Penn St.
Is PS in the city?

There is also a ton of construction it seems.

It must have been a nightmare summer of driving if this day was any indication.

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