Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Bistro St.Tropez (Philadelphia) 01/2014
There are a large number of restaurants in Philadelphia purporting to serve French style meals but we have not had much success finding ones that really fit the bill. Bistro St.Tropez is a little off the beaten track, on the 4th floor of a building housing high quality home ware stores. Only five minutes from the centre of town it still seems to be isolated and is now a destination restaurant. The entrance to the building is graced with some graffiti art.
Their is no doubt when one eventually reaches the entrance to the place.
It's restaurant week here just now so a large number of restaurants are providing three or four course meals for $35. This is something of a community service as many of these meals would normally cost twice that, and many restaurants are struggling, even waiters will be getting much reduced tips. Such is life.
Here the four course French menu, with English descriptions, consisted of a creamy truffle wild mushroom soup as first course a second course which was a choice of one of Saumon, a Terrine Duet, Escargot, Tarte de Legumes and Salad d'Artisan.
Third course, the main course, was a choice of Dorade (stripped bass), Agneau (Lamb shank), Canard, Cassoulet, Bavette (Hanger steak), Coquilles, Saumon or a Vegetarian dish.
The last dish was a choice of Tart Tatin, Creme Brulee or St.Tropez cake. A remarkable menu for the price.
The soup, in a small cup, was delicious, rich and full of taste. I could have enjoyed three times as much.
Escargot, sauteed Burgundy snails and mushrooms in a herb garlic butter sauce was the popular choice.These were quite good but I have a preference for them in a garlic and herb butter sauce in their shells. They're more photogenic that way too!
The salad, field greens with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, golden apples, walnut pralines, walnut vinaigrette was a successful dish and a very good size serve.
Cassoulet, traditional white bean stew with lamb, pork, sausage and duck leg confit was excellent although I found it rather too dry.
Saumon, pistachio and goats cheese crusted Scottish salmon filet wrapped in phylo with carrot puree, piperade and curry sauce was another good choice.
All three desserts were very good. Few chefs can turn out a first class tart tatin, they did here.
Creme brulee is a test for a good chef and they passed with flying colours.
For me the St.Tropez cake, a sort of opera cake, was beyond criticism
The whole meal was enhances by the pleasing room with attractive table settings and a fine view.