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Pigalle-a wonderful French bistro!

d
David De Silva Mar 23, 2002 10:45 PM

My wife and I just ate at Pigalle (N.2nd St. in Northern Liberties) tonight and had one of the best meals we've had in a while. The atmosphere is beautiful and romantic, low lit and tastefully done, like a Parisian bistro. It has a warm, inviting glow and coziness to it. The food is classic French country cooking and the chef (ex Caribou Cafe) is creative and talented.

Everything was excellent, from apps to entrees to desserts. For apps, my lamb sausage on a square of smooth polenta with roasted red peppers surrounded by balsamic vinegar was very tasty. For entrees (which range from $12-19) the monkfish wrapped in proscuitto on a bed of white beans and rosemary infused sauce(like a cassoulet) and the crab cake special on a bed of yukon gold mashed with pureed asparagus sauce were both excellent. Desserts of creme brulee and crepe with rasberries and lemon sauce were also quite good. Our NZ sauvignon blanc ($28) was a good choice and their wine list is reasonable (many choices under $30).

The bill came to about $100 which I know isn't necessarily chowhound cheap but we felt the meal was definitely worth it. Comments from diners near us were just as positive. This place would be perfect if it were BYOB but you can't have it all. We are already hoping to plan our return visit with friends. BTW, Northern Liberties seems to be coming alive.

  1. p
    Persephone Mar 26, 2002 02:03 PM

    My husband and I also ate at Pigalle this past weekend, and it was wonderful.

    As David said, the atmosphere is very nice, romantic and dimly lit. Some of the tables are rather close together, but that is to be expected in such a small space. (It did give us the rather amusing opportunity to listen to some of the conversation at the table next to us. One woman and two men, the men in full "anything you can do I can do better" mode. Very funny, with lots of name dropping.)

    My husband also had the appetizer of lamb sausage with red peppers on polenta. ($9) It was very good, his only negative comment was that the polenta could have used more flavor. But, that is the nature of polenta. He is just more accustomed to mine, I usually throw in some parmegiano reggiano. He quite liked the dish though, it really wasn't a complaint.

    My appetizer was amazing. I loved it. Escargots with ravioli au comte' and parsley butter. ($8) Calling the sauce 'parsley butter' is quite an understatement. It was wonderfully rich, with bits of onion and I believe white wine. The ravioli were tiny and paired well with the escargots. I would consider ordering this as a lighter choice entree in the future. By lighter choice, I mean less filling, not by any means less rich.

    Portion sizes for the appetizers were generous, but not overly so. I think you could go either way, having an appetizer per person, or sharing, depending on your appetite.

    I went with a less exciting entree, the center cut ribeye with wine sauce and remoulade, and pomme frites. ($18) It was very good as well. The plate was filled with frites, which were good, but not exceptional. I ordered my steak rare, which most of it was, but one side was closer to medium. The wine sauce was lovely, dark and rich. The remoulade was also very good, and had a nice slight tangy-ness to it.

    My husband ordered the pan seared scallops with porcini risotto. ($19) I say *ordered*, because that is not what was actually brought to the table. He had considered the monkfish wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of white beans, and that is what was delivered to the table. They of course offered to replace it, but as it was something he had considered, and it looked delicious, he said it was fine and kept it. It was in fact delicious. The prosciutto formed a very nice crust on the monkfish and made for a great flavor pairing. He said it was easily the best monkfish he had ever tasted.

    Due to the entree mix up, dessert was complimentary. I had the crepes with lemon curd and fresh rasberries. ($5.50) The crepes were perhaps a tiny bit thicker than I prefer them to be, but not a big deal. It would be more accurate to describe the 'lemon curd' as lemon sauce. It was wonderfully tart and and lemony. He had the Godiva chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream and butter cookies. ($6) The mousse was extremely thick and dark, rich and chocolatey. Both were generous portions, but again, not ridiculously large and necessarily meant to be shared. But, at the end of a full meal, a couple could easily share a dessert. We were completely stuffed at the end of our meals, and the ride home was peppered with exclamations of "that was so good, and I am so full."

    I agree with David, it would be great if it were BYOB, but the wine list has many selections under $30. I do wish there were more selections by the glass. The by the glass selections ran $5.50 - $7.00. There was also a half carafe of "French red" for $10. I had meant to ask for more information about what exactly the "French red" is, but I forgot.

    I would highly recommend Pigalle, it was a lovely meal. The menu is not extensive, but we had no trouble finding many items that we would have gladly ordered. I look forward to going back and trying something new, but I may be compelled to have the escargots dish again. So good.

    If our desserts had not been complimentary, the total would have been $70 for two apps, two entrees, two desserts and one glass of wine. (excluding tax and tip) I've had many meals that cost a great deal more that I did not enjoy nearly as much.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Persephone
      l
      lovekorean Mar 27, 2002 03:43 PM

      Persephone - what a great review! I'm sitting here with my mouth watering. Do they take reservations? Is there a long wait on a Sat. night?

      1. re: lovekorean
        s
        Sylvia G Mar 28, 2002 09:52 AM

        I know the answer to that one - yes, they take reservations. After reading David's and Persephone's reviews, I called - we were the last ones accepted for our time slot.
        Isn't Chowhound great?!!

        Sylvia

        1. re: Sylvia G
          p
          Persephone Mar 28, 2002 11:50 AM

          Thanks for answering, Sylvia! We went on Sunday, and there were many open tables. We called about 4 pm Sunday, and asked if we needed reservations, and if so, if we could get in that night. (Had been planning all week to go on Saturday, but change in plans and had to cancel)

          They said they had tables available, but still preferred to take a reservation. We were planning to go after a movie (Iris - wonderful, but very sad) and weren't sure exactly when it would be over. They were extremely flexible and said being a bit late was fine -but again - not a busy night. We ended up being half an hour early, also not a problem. I gathered from his review that David De Silva went on Saturday night, so he could probably better speak to the Saturday night situation.

          We had no problems finding parking, either. 2nd Street is quite wide there, with diagonal on-street parking on either side.

          I hope you both like it, please report back! I'm putting Pigalle's Digital City listing in the link below, in case you would like more information.

          Link: http://www.digitalcity.com/philadelph...

          1. re: Persephone
            m
            mattylip Mar 28, 2002 01:06 PM

            On the recommendation of many (this kind of peer pressure is good, I guess), my wife and I will be dining at Pigalle tomorrow night. Will report soon.

            1. re: Persephone
              d
              David De Silva Mar 28, 2002 01:37 PM

              Sylvia,
              reservations aren't really a problem. I actually called Friday afternoon and got a Saturday night reservation (albeit at 6, which is what I wanted). It did not seem overly crowded to me, it was the most crowded by 7:30 or so (naturally). We did not feel rushed at all and our meal was perfectly timed from apps through dessert. I did also want to mention that, even for a man, I thought that 2 apps, entrees and desserts was too much food and we left VERY stuffed.

              I suspect that, as word of mouth spreads, Pigalle will get more and more popular. Go and enjoy, I think you'll love it as we did. David

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