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My take on Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill

As I said, "lack of attention to detail."

Aug 20, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

My take on Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill

I liked the space as well, and yes it was noisey. I think you're right about Philadelphia restaurants. Most of them seem to be loud and it makes me wonder if it's by choice. There are things a place can do to add sound proofing but it doesn't seem to be a priority here.

I'm curious to know if either you or JanR had the steak frites at Paris Bistro. I'm hoping what I had will be good every time, but given the inconsistencies of their other dishes I wonder if that will be the case.

Aug 16, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

My take on Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill

Ate there last night for the first time. Went on a whim and they were booked but we were able to eat in the jazz lounge. The music was pretty good but I would have preferred sitting upstairs so we could have talked with our company. I must be getting old! Will make reservations next time.

I have mixed feelings about the food and the experience, but first let me say that I had the Steak Frites and the steak was amazing!! It has been a really long time since I had a steak that had me daydreaming the following day about the next time I would have it. It was very flavorful; perfectly cooked, and so tender that it barely needed chewing. I seriously think I could have cut it with a butter knife. I hope this was the rule for their steak and not an exception.

Unfortunately the rest of the meal didn't live up to the steak. The potatoes were good but it was as if I got the dregs from the bottom of the fryer. After 3 or 4 regular sized frites, the rest were like crumbs, perhaps a quarter to a half inch long. Unacceptable.

I started with the roasted beet salad served on a bed of watercress. The beets were okay but nothing to write home about, not even cut uniformly, and the watercress was served with the long stems left on the greens (I'm talking about 3 or more inches of stem!), and there were two thick slices of raw carrot on top. I love watercress and I serve it frequently. When I do, I break off most of the stem (I'm talking about the small-leafed watercress that has bare stems) to make it easier for dinner guests to deal with, and also because it makes the salad taste better! It's awkward trying to stuff stems in your mouth, and just as awkward trying to cut them with a knife and spear them with your fork. The raw carrot was ridiculous. Who wants two big half-inch slices of raw carrot the size of a silver dollar in their salad? Not me. Blanched carrots would have added a whole other dimension to the salad; otherwise they should have just left them out. It seemed lazy.

This is just picky, but when the waiter re-set my silverware after the salad he put my steak knife on the right side of my plate with the blade turned away from the plate, and he put my fork to the left of my knife! As I said, that's picky, but to me it was another lack of attention to detail.

The three other diners had shrimp cocktail and crab and avocado salad to start, and I didn't hear any complaints. There was complimentary bread for the table. I didn't have any but one of the diners said it was pretty bad. That surprised me because Philadelphia is full of good bread and there is no reason to serve anything bad, but I trust the diner's opinion because he's a bit of a bread aficionado. One person had the burger and he liked it. The only complaint was that it was messy. Salmon cakes and scallops were two of the other entrees and they looked pretty good, although I thought the presentation could have been better. Two of the diners shared a cauliflower gratin and the complaint was that the cauliflower should have been cooked more than it was. I had a taste and it was indeed nearly raw, which is not what you expect in a gratin.

We skipped dessert because the food was pretty filling.

I will go back, if for no other reason than to have the steak, but I can't wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant. I will say - it was booked up on a Thursday night so people must like it. I didn't have a really bad experience but I hope I have a better one next time.

Aug 15, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk for lunch

Hmmmm, very nice drink selection for my thirsty company. Thanks!

Aug 14, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk for lunch

I didn't know about Manayunk Brewery. Sitting outside might be nice. Lebus is really the only place I'm familiar with in Manayunk. I was looking for something different for myself, but our guests would love it. I just sent the 3 menus to our friends and I will let them decide. Thanks!

Aug 13, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk for lunch

Thanks. I forgot all about Jakes! Someone mentioned it before. I definitely want to eat there sometime.

Aug 13, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk for lunch

Does anyone have a suggestion for lunch in Manayunk? Our guests, who are considering a move to the Philly area, like to drink - so a tavern/burger joint would be nice. It looks like a lot of places only open for dinner. Thanks!

Aug 12, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

That was one thing I found to be a little odd. At no time during making the reservation, changing the reservation, or them calling to reconfirm the reservation, did anyone ever mention that they were cash-only. After the fact I noticed that it's mentioned on their website but if you're going there to look at the menu you don't necessarily read the fine print, and it wouldn't take much effort for them to mention it while you're on the phone with them.

That said, it didn't in any way interfere with having a great dining experience.

Jul 28, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

I don't know how many people in this thread recommended the Birchrunville Store Cafe, but thank you! Four of us had dinner there Saturday night and the food was sublime. I loved the atmosphere of the old general store and going into the post office for the bathrooms. It's a lovely drive. We allowed extra time and meandered around the back roads. Beautiful country.

It's a byob and cash only, but here's the funny thing. My husband and I always take cash because it makes it easier to split the tab but our friend handed the server a credit card at the end of the meal and she was so apologetic - she told him not to worry about a thing - that he could just send them a check! He ended up having the cash, but the offer of sending a check was a nice gesture and obviously something they do quite often with no hesitation.

Our reservation was for 8:30 which I recommend because the candlelight is nice. None of the food we had is on their online menu so I'm a little short on some of the details but I'll do my best.

I had the beet salad to start. The beets were sliced, very al dente and pickled. Served with mixed greens, feta and a delicious vinaigrette. My entree was a crab cake and branzino w/shaved veggies, a little potato rosette and potatoes kind of smashed with something green in them. The branzino was wrapped in a thin crepe and fried crisp. It was served on a bed of tomato confit or some such thing and it was delicious! For dessert I ordered the butterscotch cake with dulce de leche gelato and it was heavenly. Strawberries, blueberries, starfruit and a cherry rounded out the plate. My husband didn't want a dessert and said he would just have a "bite" of mine but he ended up gobbling up most of it, including the cherry! I told him next time he gets his own dessert.

Other dishes enjoyed by the group were asparagus gazpacho w/crab & roe garnish - baked figs stuffed with goat cheese and bacon w/mixed greens - veal tenderloin w/chanterelles, string beans, risotto & potato rosettes with a red wine reduction - sole stuffed with lobster and scallops served with a beurre blanc sauce and shaved vegetables and those smashed potatoes - and Grand Marnier creme brulee! There were no complaints from anyone.

If I had any complaints it would be about the dishes, of all things. Each item is served on a different modern white dish. My beet salad was served on what appeared to be a bowl as it had a narrow, fairly deep indention in the center. It made it hard to cut the hard beets. My entree was served on a very curvy plate and the edges of the plate kind of curled under. It was impossible to rest a fork or knife on the edge of the plate. The dessert was served on a flat dish, thank goodness. Not much to complain about.

Great spot - charming, intimate, and well prepared food. If you go, call early. It took a couple of months to get a reservation.

I'm going to share a photo of the beet salad, the figs and my entree.

Jul 14, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia
1

Smith Road Produce Stand

Thanks! So the corn is finally in? We just took a trip up to MA this past weekend and I only saw corn at one stand. I'll definitely try to get out to Maple Acres this weekend.

BTW - not sure you were part of the discussion about the Birchrunville Store Cafe, but we have reservations this Saturday night. Really looking forward to it.

Jul 09, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Steak in Montgomery County

Localgal, where did you end up?

Jun 24, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Steak in Montgomery County

No argument about that but evidently Thrillist deemed them worthy of being included in a top 5 list. Personally I doubt that these are Philly's top 5 steakhouses but it doesn't mean that Buona Via doesn't serve a good steak.

http://www.thrillist.com/eat/philadel...

Jun 17, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Steak in Montgomery County

I've never been, but I just saw that Thrillist named Buona VIa (in Horsham) in their top 5 Philly steakhouse list - also Creeds. If you try it I would love to hear how you like it!

http://www.buonavia.com/

Jun 17, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Derek's in Manayunk

No doubt. We knew it was the tried and true one - just because of its longevity.

Jun 16, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Derek's in Manayunk

Derek's was recommended as well. We have pretty good Thai and Chinese near us so we first picked Jake's, Goat's Beard, or Derek's. We decided Jake's had been there for a long time so maybe we would try one of the newer places. Derek's menu looked kind of interesting so we settled on it. You never know until you try. I had no idea that Derek's was the same guy that owned Sonoma. That would have put up a red flag.

Will definitely try Jake's next time.

Jun 16, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Steak in Montgomery County

I thought Bridget's was okay but not the greatest steak house I've ever been to. I've never eaten at the Fireside Grille but I have friends who go there for the prime rib. I think they have several steak options.

Of course, there's always Sullivan's in KOP and Fleming's in Wayne.

Jun 16, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Steak in Montgomery County

I hate to ask the obvious, but have you tried Bridget's or Fireside Bar & Grille?

Jun 16, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Derek's in Manayunk

That's a lot of butter, although I'm not sure what Joel Robuchon has to do with Derek's. These potatoes were not pureed, they were actually dry despite all the butter. Just a big glob. Not in any way appealing.

I make a potato puree that I serve with David Tanis' braised beef that has 2 sticks of butter, whole milk, and creme fraiche and it's amazing.

The chef at Derek's is no Joel Robuchon.

Jun 16, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Derek's in Manayunk

Last night 5 of us went to Derek's in Manayunk. I'm probably going to get some push back about this review but I was not impressed. It's not that it takes a lot to impress me but it felt to me like the food had been prepared with a very heavy hand. No delicate sauces here! All I ask for is good food that looks pretty on the plate. This was not that.

A friend and I had the "modern margarita" w/agave, lemon, lime, and orange. We asked for them on the rocks with salt. When they arrived (with no napkins!) both drinks were spilling over the sides, and the salt had washed away - not to mention the pool of sticky tequila left on the table. The server said Derek was pulling bar duty and that he gets a little carried away. My friend asked for new glasses with salt, which the server brought to the table but he was oblivious that our table was covered in tequila. I honestly had to ask for napkins and then had to clean the mess up myself. We also had to pour our drinks into the new glasses. The server should have taken them back to the bar to remedy the mess but he didn't. It didn't make us mad but it left us shaking our heads. The margaritas themselves were very strong and tasty, but the citrus had blemishes. It was not a very nice presentation all around.

My house salad was drowning in poppy seed dressing (the dressing was very good) and it totally overpowered the salad. When the server asked me how I liked it I told him it was too wet and he said that "so and so" was making the salads that night and he had a tendency to make them too wet. He said he would let the person know not to do that for the rest of the evening. I thought that was very odd. On the job training?

My husband had Derek's "secret recipe roasted chicken." He said the chicken was pretty good but his serving of mashed potatoes tasted like it had an entire stick of butter in it.

Other dishes consumed were sweet potato dumplings, tuna tartare, brisket, scallops, and steak salad - also creme brulee, raspberry bread pudding, and peach cobbler, which I will get to in a minute.

The scallops were 4 large scallops on 4 large slices of potato sitting in a large pool of a cream sauce with leeks, and then topped with caramelized fennel (I think). Maybe that's why they call it a Large Plate! Everything about it looked heavy.

About dessert - I don't know how the bread pudding tasted but the plate was decorated with a strawberry in each corner which looked kind of silly. The cookie stuck down in the creme brulee was ridiculously hard and over baked, and the peach cobbler was nothing like any cobbler I have ever had. It was inedible. The peaches were very soft and stringy. I couldn't cut them with my spoon and they had some nerve calling it a cobbler. There was no separate biscuit topping, just some bread like thing mixed in with the peaches. The strawberry garnishes had been warmed and added nothing to the dessert.

I'm attaching a few photos. I'm of the belief that it doesn't matter how your food tastes if it doesn't look good.

I won't be in a hurry to return to Derek's. The restaurant was only half full at 7:30 on a Saturday night, and that's probably a bad sign. Maybe it's headed in the same direction as Sonoma.

Jun 15, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Thanks, everyone! We have a reservation at Derek's tonight.

Jun 14, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Just yesterday someone mentioned Zachary's but never heard of Barbacoa. I don't mind a hike for good bbq and Ardmore is in my old stomping grounds. Thanks! They're both on my radar now.

Jun 14, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Can anyone report on how LeBus is faring these days? I always thought it was pretty god, but that was over 15 years ago.

Jun 13, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Hey, thanks for that!! I had been wondering if there was good bbq around these parts. Tried Fat Jack's in Jenkintown. It was okay but this looks better. Do you know anything about Phamous Phil's? I saw it mentioned somewhere the other day but didn't really get a good review.

Jun 12, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Thank you! Nice, simple menu.

Jun 11, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Interesting. So that's where Michael Nutter came from! Manayunk definitely has some hard boundaries. I sure miss the Smith and Hawken stores.

Jun 08, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

That seems like an odd thing to do. I don't think I have ever heard of that before. I sure hope they can make a comeback.

Jun 08, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

That sounds a little more promising. I was looking at LeBus online. It looks like it changed hands in 2003. I guess that's when it became Winnie's. Is it still good?

Jun 08, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Very sorry to hear that. Poor planning? It's such a unique little place. I don't remember Jake's but I'll check it out.

Jun 08, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Manayunk

Can we talk about the food scene in Manayunk? I couldn't find any recent threads on CH.

There wasn't much there when I lived here in the early 90's. Winnie's Le Bus was pretty good but I don't remember much else. I will rarely order meatloaf in a restaurant but I ordered it there a couple of times and I remember it being the best restaurant meatloaf I had ever had.

So what's going on there these days? Has it become a destination for food? Thinking of going there for an outing next weekend. Any advice on restaurants or other must-do things would be appreciated.

Jun 08, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia

Romantic, Intimate Anniversary Dinner

That's funny that you didn't remove your comment. I got a kick out of it. Sometimes I think the moderators take their job a little too seriously.

Jun 07, 2014
JunieB in Philadelphia