Friday, April 16, 2010

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse: Philadelphia

My fiancĂ© and I previously had had an outstanding experience with Lacroix for dinner.  While it was a particularly special occasion, but the meal itself was fantastic enough that we looked forward to returning to try out their Sunday brunch, which looked to be an all out blitz.

And it is a blitz.  Here's the menu below, which we were told, regularly changes...



...but I don't think it quite prepares you for the spread of things to try.













(And on to the uglier layouts of random things on our plate...)






It's funny looking back at these photos, since they seem to be mostly dessert or sweets focused, when in fact, there was a more entree and sides type of servings than sweets and ironically, the dessert tray in particular was our least favorite portion of the brunch.  Notes below:

Dessert tray - Not really having much of it. A lot of it, surprisingly sweet, overly simplistic.  Really rather disappointing, particularly when comparing them to the more complex desserts we enjoyed at dinner last time.
* Flourless chocolate cake - A bit on the dry/powdery side
* Strawberry shortcake - Tasting like the standard strawberry shortcake, overly sweetened
* Pomegranate (?) soda - The fruit choice was the interesting part of this, the sugaryness (corn syrup?) found in most sodas was not.

The ice creams were pretty interesting:
* Vanilla ice cream - much lighter back-end than most ice cream.
* Chocolate ice cream - initial taste fairly similar to the standard chocolate ice cream, but then switches up on the back-end with a dryer, dark chocolate after-taste.
* Blood orange balsamic sorbet - Decently sharp citric flavor.  Appreciated the sharpness, but not really sure we really liked it.

Raw bar
* Smoke salmon, sushi - I felt like these were just added to pack in more variety, but were not necessarily a great addition from a quality stand-point
* Raw oysters - These were decent.
* Caviar - Okay.

Breads
* Chocolate croissant - Somewhat of a disappointment.  Perhaps better earlier in the day when they were fresh?
* Apricot danish - the fruit the best part of this, this again suffering from the freshness portion of the croissant.

On the more positive side, here are some of the dishes, we did enjoy and remember:
* Foie gras, malted milk crisp - a burst of fatty goodness.
* Short ribs - Nicely braised short ribs
* Waffles - Good crunch, airy, sugar ice cream cone like flavor
* Scrambled eggs - yum, on the more moist, almost liquidy side.
* Lacroix Frittata - Smooth texture like steam eggs, but with the slight graininess as if slightly more yolk than whites.
* Green peppercorn Grissini - Long crunchy breadsticks that I suspect most other customers overlooked, since they were so long and they were at the cured meats table.  Surprisingly distinctive and almost elegant in flavor.
* Creamy avocado tart - the avocado a very unexpected, but decent taste to be had with a tart.

A few of the things that were strikingly not traditional brunch-like and which we appreciated for their not being constrained by "normalcy."
* Giant diver scallop sausage - Sausage just brings out the wrong association.  Reminding of Chinese fish balls, except more slippery in texture.
* Artichoke Pot de creme - Savory.  I liked this, it reminding me of a savory soup in a creamy texture.

Walking out, I just got the creeped out feeling of an over-emphasis on variety and quantity, rather than quality.  There were certainly dishes that pushed on at least my notion of brunch and there were others that were nicely executed traditional brunch dishes.  And in that respect, it was interesting to have tried out the brunch here once.

But all of the disappointing selections on the dessert tray, the not-so-impressive pastries and the only-okay factor of the raw bar just brought down my overall brunch experience.   And for 60 bones a pop, well, we just felt we wouldn't be returning for brunch.


Lacroix at the Rittenhouse
210 West Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia, PA 19103-5726
(215) 790-2533
lacroixrestaurant.com‎

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