Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >
Jun 21, 2009 07:25 AM

Bibou - A superlative meal!

We went to Bibou for our anniversay last night and it was everything I could hope for and more. First, it is a charming little place, probably around 10-12 tables, depending on how they configure them (they had a 6-top set up out of three 2-tops). Charlotte, hostess & co-owner greeted us warmly. Throughout th evening, I noticed she knew at least 2/3 of the customers, greeting them with kisses and speaking in French to several. Overall, it had a very warm, lovely feel, and the service was excellent throughout.

The menu is small, but everything on it appealed to me. Then our server came over to tell us about the specials--each sounding better than the last: sweetbreads w/porcini, a chantarelle fricassee, a bone marrow appetizer, a tripe dish. Just as we were thinking we'd never be able to decide, the server also mentioned the 7-course tasting menu for $70. The couples on either side of us were having it and were very enthusiastic. Since it was a special occasion, we decided to go for it, just reminding the server that my husband had to have a gluten-free meal. We didn't regret the decision, though I already want to go back for some of the things on the menu we didn't get as part of the meal.

We started with a cold squash consomme--it sounds odd but was delicious, very squashy tasting without a sign of actual squash, a clear brown broth with little bits of very tasty duck breast in it. Next we each had a terrine. Mine was oxtail, which was what was on the menu. It apparently had gluten, so they subbed w/a rabbit terrine for my husband. The oxtail was good, but the rabbit was sublime. I was wishing for more than the little bite I got to have. Next was foie gras, some of the best I've had, with a piece of toasted pumpkin bread (left off of hubby's plate), vanilla poached pear, wine poached pear, and liquor soaked cherries (hubby got extras of these). Next, a seared scallop w/cauliflower puree. Another sublime dish. After that, a small dish of the chantarelle fricasee in some kind of cream sauce. The "main" was hangar steak in a green peppercorn sauce w/asparagus and potatoes. For dessert, hubby had the house made sorbets (a scoop each of limoncello and blood orange) and I had a piece of chocolate cake drizzled with caramel.

Everything was superb, the flavors were bright and focused. All of the sauces were phenomenal, and I was lucky enough to soack them up w/the delicious bread they provided. I can't wait to go back!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Boognish

      Sounds great! Never heard of it--can you tell us exactly where, and maybe provide phone number?

      1. How were they with the GF issue? Did your husband have any reactions?

        1 Reply
        1. re: joluvscards

          They were great about it. Very gracious, didn't seem to think it would be a problem with most of the dishes and made substitutions where necessary. My husband didn't have any trouble at all.

        2. Agree that the food is fantastic. It can be a little too cozy if you're at a 2 top.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Den

            I've read so many raves about this place that I am seriously thinking about changing my dinner reservatio at Distrito to lunch the day I leave Philly so that I can have dinner at Bibou.

              1. re: Buckethead

                I honestly haven't thought much about it. On arrival day, I could grab a bite at RTM........or maybe have a nice sit-down at that Ethiopian restaurant in Rittenhouse Square (that's where I'm staying) - Almaz Cafe.

                First day, I'm in the Independence Hall area - that day is packed. I could go to RTM again or maybe go to Paesano's. Someone had posted that I could take the subway there from City Hall..........and it seems pretty easy - just not sure I want to take the time out to do it as, again, the day is packed. Any suggestions?

                Friday - I'm not sure - I'm doing a tour of Citizens Bank Park and then heading for the Penitentiary/Art Museum. I know Sabrina's is there - not sure what else is in the area. I could eat around the park or just eat elsewhere before I head to Fairmount......not sure what the best thing to do would be.

                Saturday - Italian Market., I'm definitely going to Los Taquitos de Puebla. Is this a sit down restaurant or do most people get their food to go?

                Sunday - Cafe Estelle's for brunch as I'll be at the Poe House. By the time I finish with the Headhouse Market, I''ll probably be hungry again. I'm staying in the area for the Physicik and Powel houses - any ideas?

                Monday - Lunch at Rangoon

                Tuesday - I'm leaving ,but not until later in the afternoon, which is why I'm thinking of having lunch at Distrito that day (it's not that far from 30th st. Station) and trying Bibou for dinner the night I was supposed to go to Distrito. It's not like there aren't French bistros in NY, but I don't live in the city - when I go to NY, it's usually to one of the "nicer" restaurants as something of a treat for myself. I love bistros and Bibou is just getting wonderful reviews. Is Distrito good for lunch?


                1. re: Betsypaige

                  I was just referring to your lunch plans that day, I was wondering what you would be skipping for lunch if you were to go to Distrito instead. I've never been to Distrito for lunch but I just checked the lunch menu and most of my favorites from the dinner menu (the tortilla soup, the carnitas tacos, the los hongos huarache) are there, so I don't think you'd lose much by going there at lunch instead of dinner. The only thing that's missing from the lunch menu are some of the great ceviches, specifically the hamachi ceviche. So if you're a huge ceviche fan, you may want to stick with dinner at Distrito, but otherwise I'd do it for lunch and go to Bibou for dinner instead, it's fantastic. I've been there a few times now and it's been excellent each time. It's BYO.

                  Thursday- I'm not sure where exactly you'll be, you mention Independence Hall and City Hall but the two are not really close to each other. You can take the subway from either one to Paesano's, the Girard stop on the Market-Frankford subway line is only a couple blocks away from Paesano's.

                  Friday: The ballpark and the penitentiary have basically the whole city in between them, so you can go anywhere pretty much. I don't know if Kanella is in your dinner plans, if it's not I would definitely go there for lunch this day. It's a couple blocks out of the way at 10th and Spruce, but their lunch is great. It's BYO.

                  Saturday: Good! It's sit-down, not much atmosphere but the food is awesome.

                  Sunday: You could grab a falafel sandwich at Alyan's, on 4th St. just south of South St., or walk a block further and go to the Famous 4th St. Deli at 4th and Bainbridge. Both are like a 2-minute walk from the Physick house.

                  Monday: Good!

                  Tuesday: Distrito

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    Oops, I'm sorry! I wrote a whole book, didn't I?

                    I wouldn't really be skipping anything as I'm leaving Philly that day - the only thing is I would be shlepping my luggage in Distrito, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm not a big ceviche fan, so no big deal there and the lunch deal seems like a steal at $15.00

                    I'll be in and around the Independence Hall area on Thursday, but since I need to eat.....I could do Paesano's. It's easy enough to get to, the food apparently is out of this world and it would be a quick lunch. Sounsd perfect to me.

                    The only reason Kanella is not on my list is because there were too many other options - Philadelphia is really a terrific food city. I will definitely consider it for lunch if I think I can make it to the Pentientiary on time...I think the last tour is 3pm.

                    Sunday - those are great tips and both would be perfect for me.

                    I appreciate your help - I will certainly post a report when I return!

                    1. re: Betsypaige

                      If you are independence hall area why not go to campos for a great sub or cheesesteak. Alternatively continental is great for lunch. Both are on market street. A much better mode of transportation is the philly pflash. Its a purple bus that goes from penns landing to the art museum along market or jfk. It's $2 or $5 for a day pass. Seniors ride free.

                      1. re: joluvscards

                        I love the Philly Phlash - I used it all the time when I was in Philadelphia the last time. $5 for an all-day ticket was a downright bargain... Campos? I'll keep that in mind for a cheesesteak run......yum! Thanks!