Le Philosophe is the kind of casual French restaurant that provides you a good, very solid dinner either by yourself, as you can saddle up on a bar stool in the back of the restaurant, a date, up to a group of friends, like I have.
It was bustling despite the fact it was a rainy Thursday night with very loud conversations blasting when we arrived. Thankfully, we were taken downstairs where conversations were at much tolerable levels where we don’t have to shout throughout the evening to the point we’d lose our voices.
The menu is succinct and has the tried and true traditional French dishes that you would expect like foie gras, roasted bone marrow, steak frites (the steak cut is a Flat Iron), and lobster thermidor with reasonable prices.
We started with plates of cured foie gras terrine ($18) garnished with cara cara orange purée, mustard, coriander and slices of toasted brioche. Fail safe kind of dish of silky, buttery, not too livery foie with a touch of sweet acid of the orange purée and a fresh bitterness of the coriander. The pork & duck paté ($12) with served with a side of crunchy pickled radishes, vegetally bitter watercress, and spicy whole grain mustard to cut the delicious fatty, porky, rustic terrine.
The roasted bone marrow ($12) with roasted shallots, lemon zest, capers, and watercress was a decadent, delicious offal that adore. Rich but not overtly so with the accompaniments to cut through the fatty marrow. The frogs’ legs ($14) with a delicious mixture of earthy hen of the woods, nutty sunchoke, watercress, and garlic. (If you never had frogs’ legs, it mostly tastes like chicken with a touch of white fleshed fish. It’s tasty.)
The blanquette de veau ($23) with jardinière and a small pot of buttered jasmine rice. Not too much of a heavy stew that was doable for a warm summer evening with fork tender chunks of veal and al dente vegetables. The side of buttered jasmine rice was delicious and easily eaten on its own.
The general disappointing dish was the duck a l’Orange ($29) where the kitchen overcooked the poor bird’s breast when we requested for medium rare. At least it still tasted good and it’s serviceable with the buttery, somewhat liquid potato purée and pan gravy moistened the meat.
To view more photos of this visit, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set):
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