January 7, 1994 |
South Street lost a bistro when Alex on South closed late last year, but gained another when Adrienne's opened not long afterward one block to the east. Like Alex's, Adrienne's has hearty food, big portions, moderate prices and a casual air, even though the dark-hued, 48-seat dining room hung with equestrian prints has the clubby look of a Ralph Lauren home furnishings showroom. Husband-and-wife proprietors Wally and Adrienne Hertler are on the premises - he working the front of the house, she in charge of the kitchen.
January 8, 1988 |
I had been eagerly awaiting the opening of Odeon for a number of reasons. First, I've always loved the space on S. 12th Street, the original home of Battles Florist - with its stained glass name still on the transom. Second, Odeon has the pedigree of two accomplished restaurateurs, Steve Ledbetter of Alouette and Gary Bachman of Frog and La Terrace. And third, I hungered for some genuine bistro food, having sampled it in New York where it's been the rage for some time. The restoration of the building by the new owners is splendid.
September 12, 1999 |
Audrey Taichman - a.k.a. Audrey Claire - commands the northwest corner of 20th and Spruce Streets with a cordless phone in one hand and a waiting list in the other. The sidewalk in front of her hip little bistro is thick with young and beautiful would-be diners, waiting alongside some older Rittenhouse Square regulars with wine bottles in hand. "Somebody's phone is ringing!" one says, sending half the crowd diving to the bottom of giant designer purses. It's just another call for Taichman, who cheerily tells the caller, "The wait's about 45 minutes.
January 2, 2009 |
Brasserie Perrier, one of the landmarks on the Walnut Street restaurant row, has closed without notice. New Year's Eve was the finale, as staff learned that night. The bistro, which opened in January 1997 under Georges Perrier, received a slew of awards, including four stars from Mobil. Its closing had been inevitable. Co-owner Chris Scarduzio, who started as a sous chef and was elevated to partner in March 2004, said that based on the lease signed in 1996, the partnership was paying about $19 per square foot for rent at 1619 Walnut - about a third of current local rates.
October 25, 2009 |
Clark Gilbert isn't promising the moon at Gemelli, his new bistro at the edge of Narberth, on rowhouse blocks once called - when the town was Irish-er - "the Italian section. " He is a seasoned chef, under his belt stints at the Four Seasons, Tony Clark's short-lived Square Bar on Rittenhouse Square, Avalon in West Chester, and the elegant, now-departed Taquet in Wayne. But he is the first to point out that the menu here, his first truly solo venture, is not the wheel reinvented: He offers a proper Caesar salad (add $2 for white anchovies)
September 27, 1996 |
They are expanding at Bistro St. Tropez, adding another room. Pourquoi, I ask, based on a recent visit, where the kitchen had serious problems handling the demands of Friday night diners in the existing space. Service was painfully slow, various items were undercooked, others overcooked, lovely bride got a platter meant for someone else and you couldn't tell the no-smoking section from the smokers without a gauze mask. And, oh yes, the wine list was bleak and overpriced.
December 15, 1995 |
While the view from Bistro St. Tropez offers a splendid cityscape tableau, it certainly can't compete with the breathtaking panorama of the Mediterranean one gets from Nice. But to Patrice Rames, who attended culinary school in the Riviera resort, it's the perfect background for his contemporary French food served with artistic flair at some extremely reasonable prices. Rames, 34, the proprietor and a product of Le Bec-Fin, opened Bistro in 1987 on the third floor of the Marketplace, a design center at 24th and Market that deals strictly with architects, designers and those in related businesses.
January 31, 1993 |
Ever since it opened a year ago, I have heard good things about Main Street, the European-style bistro in the Princeton Shopping Center. Curiosity finally got the upper hand, and I went for a visit. I only wish I had gone sooner, for Main Street is an attractive, friendly place with excellent food that shows both originality and high accomplishment. The menu defines a bistro as a bustling "neighborhood restaurant . . . where folks chat happily across the room while pleasant waiters duck between the closely spaced tables.
March 19, 1993 |
French bistros are vastly underrepresented in Philadelphia's restaurant mix. A tip of the beret, then, to Alex Cormier for deciding we shouldn't have to subsist solely on pasta when we dine out. His new restaurant, Alex on South, has the proper bistro essentials: hearty food, big portions, moderate prices, casual atmosphere, personable service, proprietor on the premises, foie gras on the menu. It feels French, even when the background music segues from Edith Piaf to Patsy Cline.
August 6, 2009 |
New and just off City Avenue: Avril (134 Bala Ave., Bala Cynwyd, 610-667-2626), a cozy BYO bistro from chef Christian Gatti and his wife, April Lisante - hence the name. Gatti's Mediterranean menu starts in southeast France and heads into Italy. It will go farther inland as the weather cools off. Lisante, who spent a decade as a reporter, food writer, and editor at the Philadelphia Daily News, met Gatti in 2003 when she interviewed him for a feature about hot, young chefs.