Restaurant: Bibou BYOB
Location: 1009 South 8th street, Philadelphia PA 19147. 215.965.8290
Date: November 23, 2011
Rating: Very good meal
And with a blast the ThanksGavin 2011 is off. Canonically, in a tradition developed over the last twenty years, the gavin Thanksgiving weekend is defined by four major meals. The Wednesday night dinner (out somewhere, usually in downtown Philly), the main event on Thursday, the Friday night dinner at my cousin Abbe’s, and the Saturday deli brunch. For this year’s kickoff a downtown intimate French restaurant was chosen.
NOTE: Technically, this is the ThanksGavin/Flitter as my grandparents had two daughters and so they have different married names. But for simplicity I’ll usually just say ThanksGavin.
A light sancerre to begin. Like many Philly restaurants Bibou doesn’t have a liquor license — perfect pour moi — as I can bring without corkage!
Every year I drag out at least a case of wine from my cellar. My favorite opener varietal, real Pinot Noir. the Parker 93. “An assortment of candied cherries explode from the glass of the 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges Les Perrieres. This seductive wine’s character is drenched in black cherry syrup, rocks, and earth. Medium-bodied, it has outstanding depth, concentration, and a long, expressive finish that reveals copious quantities of ripe tannin. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018.”
Very nice bread and butter from France.
An uncooked preview of the bone marrow special.
A blockbuster Spanish wine. Parker 94. “The 2007 Valdemuz is 100% Prieto Picudo from vines ranging in age from 100-115 years. For this cuvee 20% whole bunches were utilized with aging for 18 months in new French oak. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it offers up a splendid aromatic array of pain grille, graphite, espresso, truffle, black cherry, and blackberry. Dense, ripe, and concentrated, on the palate it is velvety textured and virtually seamless. This lengthy offering will evolve for another 5-7 years and provide big-time pleasure through 2027 if not longer.”
“Foie gras Duo. Foie gras crème brulée & Seared foie gras with caramelized Seckel pear flavored with lavender.” The left hand side was a fairly traditional prep for foie — but excellent with great texture and a nice meaty / slightly spiced flavor to the fruit. The right had good texture, and was nice, but was more like a custard.
“Escargots. Snail ragout, Fava beans and Trumpet Royale mushroom, flavored with tarragon.”
“Half dozen oysters on the halfshell.” From Maine.
“Gravlax. Arctic char gravlax flavored with rosemary & Meyer lemon, Cucumber & apple brunoise, white lentil hummus.”
“Soupe de céleri. Celeriac soup, chestnut purée, poached celeriac in Earl Grey tea.” One of those really good lots of creme with a hint of vegetable soups.
Parker gives this a 92, but I’d put it more like at 95-96. “The 1995 Hermitage La Sizeranne is performing even better out of bottle than it did immediately prior to bottling. It is a full-bodied, dense ruby/purple-colored wine with a sweet, smoky, chocolate, cassis, and tar-scented nose, great fruit intensity, full body, a layered texture, sweet tannin, and good grip. It should be cellared for a minimum of 4-5 years, and will keep for 15-20.”
“Leg of rabbit with parpadelle and butternut squash.”
“Golden Tilefish. Olive oil poached Golden Tilefish, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberry, sweet carrot emulsion.”
“Truite Arc-en-Ciel. Sautéed Rainbow trout, sauerkraut, Romanesco cabbage, pomegranate, jus de poulet flavored with lemongrass.”
“Bœuf. Sautéed hanger steak with green peppercorn sauce, sautéed Fingerling potatoes, green asparagus.”
“Canard. Long Island Duck breast, Chanterelle mushroom, Yu-choy, purple potato chips, red wine duck jus.” This was good duck, very tender and flavorful.
A blockbuster argentine wine. As good as I’ve had from there. Parker 94. “Flechas de Los Andes’ 2006 Gran Corte spent 17 months in new French oak. It is opaque purple-colored with legs that ooze down the glass. The aromatics are brooding but expressive with notes of pain grille, pencil lead, spice box, lavender, black cherry, and plum. Opulent, with glossy fruit, this dense, rich effort conceals significant underlying structure. This intense, powerful, lengthy wine demands a minimum of 5-7 years of cellaring and will be at its best from 2015 to 2030.”
Classic “Creme brûlée, flavored with vanilla and tobacco leaves.”
“Mimi’s chocolate cake, caramel sauce.”
“Floating Island with homemade praline and goat milk creme anglais.” This was probably the best Floating Island I’ve ever had. The texture was lighter than air with a very nice nutty flavor.
“Fresh quince pie.” A bit of figs on the side.
And to finish, some macaroons and meringues. Both very good.
This was a very good meal. Classically French, yet with a slightly updated palette and a deft touch. If you are in Philadelphia I highly recommend.
For more ThanksGavin meals, click here.