Qui! Qui! Qui! Toques off to Chef Peter Woolsey, and his fellow chefs, whose Lapin had this local Philly food blogger doing a Meg Ryan on the red banquette last Saturday. To call Bistro La Minette sublime, would be an understatement. I don't care if you have the best ingredients on planet Earth, if you don't have the old chef mojo, technique, technique, technique, you don't got it going on. Rabbit is difficult to prepare well and this bunny was the best I’ve ever eaten. Overall, best meal this Philly girl has had in eons.
A fellow foodie friend and I hopped in a cab, post-theatre on Saturday night. We arrived at the bistro 15 minutes before the flat top went cold; last patrons to show up. If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know us. We are not your favorite customers, especially at the end of service on a busy night. Typical line cooks just want to get out, tip a few and wish you had stayed home. But alas, despite our "dreaded diner" status, we were greeted warmly, graciously seated at previously mentioned, comfy banquette and treated as if we had arrived for an 8:00 reservation. Our kudos, to all of La Minette's staff, for their professional service and unexpected late night courtesy.
Our waiter, Kane, was well versed in culinary French. He was familiar with every menu selection, knew his ingredients, and he earned his culinary chops with me as he described each dish with aplomb. I would gladly hand over my best pair of tongs to have him at the front of my house. A well trained staff is worth its weight in Truffles, on both sides of the kitchen door.
Taste buds well tantalized, we placed our order. With the restaurant staff and the late hour in mind, we opted to share. The fois gras appetizer special could give any goose its gander and mussels with poached egg and a velvet tarragon cream did not disappoint. Aforementioned, rabbit arrived, perfectly timed, like a carnivore’s dream. Lapin flesh, a moist succulent pink, enveloped in caramelized mustard crust that would do any chef proud. Peter and his colleagues got their mojo working on this dish. We did my Mom’s clean plate club proud and devoured each juicy morsel. A busser swept our plates away. We were well sussed, feeling oh so Parisian, when Kane lay the dessert menu before us.
To sweet, or not to sweet? I believe you know the answer. Desserts, priced at a pittance, $8 each, could you have resisted such tres' French temptation? We savored each bite of our Mille Fuille au Framboise, a.k.a. thin, expert-crisp, caramelized puff pastry sheets separated by vanilla pastry cream and raspberries the size of my grandma Gert’s thimbles. All knives aside, truly authentic, expertly prepared and lovingly presented French bistro fare, a meal that this chef can live by.
Cheers to Philly's own, Chef Peter Woolsey, and to all of the Bistro La Minette staff. A fantastic culinary experience was had by all. In honor: I, local Philly food blogger, christen thee my new favorite.