Friday, December 17, 2010


After braving the slick and barely salted streets of Philadelphia for some final Christmas presents, we stopped into Parc for a welcome respite of wine, cheese & French fare. We'd dined at Parc before, but always during the summer at outside tables overlooking Rittenhouse square. I'd almost forgotten how large the interior was, and how cozy this bistro can make you feel on a chilly evening.

Our meal started with a cheese plate that featured an amazing stilton-like sample that was filled with those magical little veins that lend its dark blue coloring. I have dreams about cheese like that. We also had a great camembert-ish cheese that was soft and oozy, served with an addictive bit of real honeycomb and slices of perfectly made French bread. We didn't get the names of the cheeses, unfortunately. The carafe of house wine probably had something to do with that.

Dinner for the finance was roasted salmon with a black trumpet mushroom crust that was cooked perfectly, served overtop fennel puree and fresh chevril (a tarragon-like herb). She loved her meal, and this is from a girl that eats salmon all over the city, and not a huge fan of fennel either.

I went for the special that evening, coq au vin. It's been years since I've even ordered it, but one bite made me start questioning myself for passing on something so good and so French. Chicken legs & thighs braised in good red wine till the meat is falling off the bones, this is heaven on plate. This is the kind of meal that makes you do a little happy dance in your chair.

Overall, Parc does the French bistro thing about as well as anyone in the city (still have a special place in my heart for Bistro la Minette). The menu is brief but well executed from top to bottom, and the atmosphere makes you feel like you're in a neighborhood Parisian bistro. The carafes of table wine are a decently priced at $28, and you should not leave without trying a cheese plate. Can't go wrong with the essentials.

-T. Kaso

Parc is located at 227 S. 18th Street, on Rittenhouse Sq. They accept all credit cards and 11pm on weeknights, midnight on weekends and 10pm on Sundays.

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