Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bistro La Minette : Philadelphia

I always feel a little out of my element writing about french food. I know enough to recognize that I don't know a number of cooking techniques, ingredients and spices, which are important to know before competently reviewing French dishes. But at the same time, I feel driven to: a) write down thoughts on a dish before my goldfish-like 2-second memory erases the experience into oblivion and b) to hopefully provide a naive, but fresh & unadulterated perspective on things.

This dinner was also special. I just graduated from school and this was my graduation dinner with my Dad and my gf. My Dad has never really had good French food before and I was hoping to turn my Dad on to the fabulousness of French food. (btw, Cochon was also on my list to go to, but got scratched off because of the cash-only inconvenience. I will try you sometime, Cochon.)

Anyways, on to the review.

Bistro La Minette was a cozy place with a warm feel. Aesthetically, it was perfect for a small dinner with family and friends.

House Red - A little lacking flavor and perhaps alcohol(?), but then again this is house red wine.

Tartare de Saumon aux Lentilles Vertes du Puy (Salmon Tartare, Puy Lentils, Blood Orange Vinaigrette) - Nice, perhaps a little too subtle to blow a newbie away. Tender salmon pieces, the dollop of creme and the sauce having a slight tartness. Lentils cooked properly (So this is what they're supposed to taste like. All lentils I've had before have either been severely undercooked or grossly overcooked.) All light in texture, but also a little light in taste.

Bar aux Artichauts Facon Barigoule (Crispy Black Sea Bass, White Wine Braised Artichokes, Carrots) - Nicely cooked. Pretty naked. Lightly salted with some pepper. Again fairly light in flavor.

Navarin d'Agneau Printanier (White Wine Lamb Stew, Seared Lamb Loin, Spring Vegetables) I don't really remember much of this. I do recall that the lamb was fairly tender, but not amazingly so. (May come back to edit this after refreshing my memory with my gf)

Surpeme de Poulet Estragon (Chicken Breast, Mushroom Duxelle Stuffing, Potatoes Savon, Carrots Vichy, Tarragon Sauce) - This dish was probably my favorite of our dishes. Having a decent crunch to the skin, a tenderness to the chicken breast, with a mushroom stuffing and a slightly sweet, white wine sauce to dab in, I enjoyed this. The carrots and potatoes, were cooked better than average, but really played second fiddle by far to the chicken.

Assiette de Fromages (Daily Cheese Selection, Salad) - I forgot the cheese names the second after the waitress mentioned them, though I do recall what she described them as: blue cheese, crumbly English Cheddar, and a Brie. I liked all of them and enjoyed the fact that they each paired well with the toast, as well as the salad.

Mille Feuille aux Framboises Caramelized Puff Pastry, Vanilla Pastry Cream, Raspberries - Quite good. Flaky pastry, lovely cream and a not overly sweet raspberry sauce.

Congratulation Truffles - nice touch, sniff, sniff.

All in all, this was a satisfying meal, well-executed and done so in a warm, cozy, and welcoming place, contributing to an enjoyable meal with family. There wasn't one particularly stand-out dish, but overall the meal was quite well executed.

Bistro La Minette
623 S 6th St Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Map)
(215) 925-8000

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