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Le Cheri

  • j

I believe you were there for the opening last night PhillyBest. Looking forward to your impressions. Snagged a table for Saturday and really looking forward to that.

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  1. Yes, six of us attended opening night at Le Cheri. If you like Bibou, you'll like Le Cheri!

    The menu is in a very similar style to Bibou, but mostly dishes that I haven't previously had at Bibou (and a few of Pierre's classics like pike quenelles in lobster sauce). There is more overlap on the dessert menu. The dish of the evening was the fantastic cold foie gras poached in red wine.

    I never had a chance to eat at the former Rittenhouse Tavern under Nicholas Elmi, but it is a beautiful space (and the kitchen is almost as big as all of Bibou!). Patio dining is something to look forward to next year.

    Currently BYOB until they get their liquor license. After that, Charlotte says there will be a $20 corkage fee for BYOB.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

      Thanks PhillyBest. We were at Le Cheri last night and loved it. The food and ambience are superb. And, of course, the gracious Pierre and Charlotte add to the experience. I greatly enjoyed my meal but there are several other dishes on the menu that I'm eager to try. Last night, it was a battle between the short ribs and the pike quenelles. The short ribs won, mainly because I liked the red we'd brought more than the white.

    2. I'm excited to check it out and have a reservation for next week--already tough to get in! Has anyone tried the cassoulet? That's what caught my eye.

      Anyone have any info on when the liquor license is supposed to come through?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

        Duck confit cassoulet is a Pierre classic that he always serves during the Winter months. I had it recently at Bibou and it was excellent.

        Full menu is here:


      2. How would you all recommend Le Cheri compared to Bibou?

        I was just at Bibou about two weeks ago, so not sure if there'd be too much overlap (not necessarily a bad thing!) or if I should mix things up.

        I've been on a restaurant kick the past year, and have done many of the highlights in Philly: F&F, Talula's Garden, Morimoto, Noord, BLM, Parc, Lacroix, Amada, Zahav, Vedge, the Fountain, Butcher and Singer, and Vetri.

        I tend to enjoy edgier places, such as Zahav, Amada, Morimoto, and Vedge the most.

        On the radar screen is Fond, Big Fish, and well Le Cheri! Any recs?

        8 Replies
        1. re: dndicicco

          If I were you I'd put Fork and Fitler Dining Room ahead of Fond and Little Fish. I haven't been to Le Cheri yet.

          1. re: dndicicco

            I would say that Le Cheri is quite different from Bibou, both in atmosphere and food. The surroundings are quite elegant, and the food is more traditional French.

            1. re: JanR

              Thanks much! I'll follow up on what we do. Interesting to hear more traditional French. That worries me somewhat, as I'm a health nutt and am wary of heavy-cream French cuisine. I remember being stranded in Boston for a couple weeks, and overdoing L'Espalier and Menton, and literally gaining about 8 pounds in the process!

              1. re: dndicicco

                I wouldn't say all of the dishes are of the heavy-cream variety. There are fish courses. My mackerel gravlax appetizer with beets and Meyer lemon was delicious and not heavy, nor were my husband's scallops. I hear the roasted branzino is very good.

              2. re: JanR

                JanR I am very curious to hear more about what makes you find it more traditional french. Are there dishes you didnt expect there? Are there dishes you miss from Bibou?

                1. re: cwdonald

                  I will be honest and admit that I am not an adventurous eater. I love raw oysters, crude and anchovies but that's probably the most adventurous I get. I like Bibou for many reasons, not least Pierre and Charlotte's charm, the intimate ambience (and my fond memories of the location when it was Pif). When I go to Bibou, however, I stick to dishes like hanger steak, soft shell crab in season, etc. "More traditional" was perhaps the wrong way to put it. There are more menu options at Le Cheri and they are more appealing to someone like me. I must add, they are not at all boring and all executed with creativity and panache. There is a section of the menu called "bizarre" which has a couple dishes that would appear at Bibou I believe (and which cowards like me would eschew). Going back tomorrow with another couple and perhaps I can give a more intelligent response.

                  1. re: JanR

                    We went back to Le Cheri last night, this time with another couple. They loved it and plan to return. We were seated at a four top near the bar and near the window looking out to what will be the outdoor garden in season. Nice table with a lot more privacy than the banquette seats (which were also fine with me - hey, I'm just happy to be here). Our server was very nice and professional. I appreciate that there was less hovering than last time. I had the mackerel gravlax again for an app. I gave everyone a taste, and they agreed it was excellent. Although I was tempted to order the short rib again, I tried the pike quenelle. Very nice but I would probably order something else next time. Just personal preference. My husband enjoyed his butternut nut squash consommé and Arctic char with cous cous and Brussels sprouts very much. Friends had the short ribs and the waygu beef culotte with "fries" (much better than ordinary fries). They were very complimentary of these dishes. Desserts were super tarte tatins with cinnamon ice cream and mango tart. Finished with cafe filtre and cappuccinos. Another lovely evening here.

                    1. re: JanR

                      Super helpful, thanks so much!

            2. I was there last night as well. We had a really nice time. It seemed like our server was a bit inexperienced, but well meaning and trying hard. The food was excellent--my DP had a fish ravioli with lobster sauce to start. This was a special and was terrific. I had the escargot & chicken oyster app which was good, though the chicken was a touch dry. For mains, we had the steak frite and cassoulet. Both terrific. My DP loved the frite, which were kind of like tater tots on steroids. For dessert we shared the creme brulee, which may be the best restaurant dessert I've had all year. All in all, a lovely meal and we will be happy to go back.

              1. We're going again this week. Apparently they jut got their liquor license, but there is no corkage for BYOB this week ($25 in future).

                1. This is a cursed restaurant location... already lost their chef: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/th...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: barryg

                    I follow Val on Facebook, and he seems to have a lot going on in his life. I wouldn't read too much into this.

                    From what I can tell from 2 visits, they are doing a lot of business.

                  2. Bounced after a month ... http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/th...

                    Clearly it is going to be a stretch for both Bibou and Le Cheri to keep up quality. My prediction is that one of the two will close by the end of the year, preferably Bibou since the addition of the liquor license will make the restaurant a lot more viable and profitable in the long term.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: cwdonald

                      Your prediction and opinion of what's going on with bibou and Le Cheri are manifestations of the color of the sky in your world.

                      bibou remains very profitable. They do three turns a night, the Calmel's own the building, it's booked full as soon as reservations are made available, and Ron, the long-time sous, who is now the head chef maintains consistency. Pierre is there frequently.

                      By all accounts, Le Cheri is serving great food and the FOH is terrific. They're booked as quickly as bibou. If Charlotte is to be believed, Val has the chef chops they needed, but not the managerial skills. Major staff changes in new restaurants is not uncommon, but certainly rocks the boat.

                      Pierre and Charlotte are seasoned professionals and he will fill in until a new chef is found. Le Cheri is a risky location as it is not visible from the street. But like most higher-end locations, it's not a walk-in type place; seats are filled by reservation.

                      No one knows if either place will succeed or fail, long-term, but the notion Le Cheri is in a cursed location and predicting failure based on a single chef leaving is just silliness.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        Wanna bet a 7-course Bibou tasting that Bibou & Le Cheri will both still be open at the end of 2014? I'll even give you 2-1 odds (I'll buy you 2 if I loose, you only have to buy me 1 when I win). ;-)

                        BYOB of course.

                        1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                          Is your offer to me (I decline) or CW?

                          1. re: george2

                            CW, but you are welcome to attend my victory dinner too!

                            1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                              Indeed I will! Never having met you, I'm certain you'll bring some great wines.

                          2. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                            2-1, l will lay 7-2 they will both be open.
                            If Starr can run as many as he does and many are barely so-so, P&C can do two without breaking a sweaty.

                            Was at Bibou on NYE and they were full, except for one last minute cancellation, at $ 125 per.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Canceled Bibou tonight due to snow (and DP stuck in NYC).

                              Slow start to the year...

                          3. re: cwdonald

                            Ron has been spectacular in the kitchen at Bibou lately. I actually enjoyed my recent meals there more than I did when Pierre was still running the show, which is pretty impressive given it's long been my favorite restaurant.

                          4. Is there a picture of the menu online? I apologize in advance if it's already posed, but I don't recall off the top of my head.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: dndicicco

                              Google La Cheri Pa and menupages comes up near top.

                            2. Here's one advantage that Le Cheri has over Bibou, SPACE:


                              1. Not to derail this thread, but I saw something fairly shady on Yelp. Someone lambasted Charlotte and certain food dishes in one review, and then within a few days there are two new 5-star reviews on Yelp, both of which are which are written in a similar format, mention Charlotte as being great, and each user has only one review, yep, for Le Cheri. Bad vibes.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: dndicicco

                                  Usually single reviews aare censored on Yelp ...

                                  But clearlly they are still growing, and will continue to improve over time as they get a new chef and stabilize the kitchen staff.

                                  And the most important advantage le cheri has over bibou is that it has a liquor license so that restaurant has the potential to be much more profitable (or at least generate more cash flow) than Bibou.

                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                    I hear you. I loved the fish dishes at Bibou in particular (bread seems strangely blah), and I would appreciate a little more space so Le Cheri sounds very promising. I'm sure it'll be a success.

                                  2. re: dndicicco

                                    So far there are 19 Yelp reviews of Le Cheri, with zero filtered out. Of those, 15 are 5-stars, 3 are 4-stars, and 1 is 2-star. Of all of these, 3 are by reviewers who have only 1 review.

                                    So if someone is trying to run up Le Cheri's stars by posting one-off reviews, they are not working very hard at it.

                                    I don't have any evidence to support this, but I suspect scam positive Yelp reviews are mostly associated with low-profile business. Pierre & Charlotte have such a high profile in the Philly restaurant scene, and so much positive press, I doubt they worry too much about the effect Yelp reviews will have on their restaurants (although I know Charlotte reads them, which any smart business would do to get feedback on their customers experience, just like they read comment cards). LaBan on the other hand is probably a reviewer they do worry about, since his opinion will have an effect on their business.

                                    I believe I've read about a study that showed ~10% of Yelp reviews are fake, which means 90% are real. And it is usually pretty easy to detect, or at least select the ones that are so informative that they are unlikely to be fake. Yapping about fake Yelp reviews gives Eater and Foobooz something to write about, but in the real world it is largely a non-issue.

                                    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                      Interesting and appreciated analysis of reviews. Glad to see it survived. If I even hint at a dubious post of a first time poster I get bounced. Guess the difference is you are not relating to a specific poster. Nice work, thanks.

                                      1. re: Bacchus101

                                        The estimated proportion of fake reviews is 25% per a harvard study. http://officialblog.yelp.com/2013/09/...

                                        That said, you can get the overall perception of a place by reading more than one review. Crowd sourcing has its benefits in large numbers.

                                        1. re: cwdonald

                                          Only 10% of my reviews are fake, but Harvard didn't consult me.

                                          1. re: cwdonald

                                            Upon careful reading of the link it is Yelp which culls out the 25% based on a software algorithm. Harvard looked at that 25% to conclude that in that group there were, in their opinion, bogus posting by businesses with poor ratings trying to counteract them. Another brilliant statement of the obvious by Harvard.

                                        2. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                          Interesting analysis. The thing that kills Yelp for me is that people ding restaurants for price and portions so often.

                                          That said there is a metho. If you cross tabulate restaurants recommended in Chowhound to Yelp, the best ones have 4.5 or 5 stars. That is rare on Yelp. The 4.0 restaurants are usually solid, but the 4.5 are almost always great (assuming there are enough reviews to be significant). 5 is extremely rare.

                                      2. I'll be there in 2 weeks and can't wait. I am hoping the sound factor on a Saturday night isn't deafening.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: arepo

                                          I don't think noise was much of a factor both times we were there (picture window table in front room, and back room), and they were sold-out both times. Obviously it is a much bigger space than Bibou, but more importantly, despite having >2X the seating, it is much more spread out and broken into different rooms. Trying the private dining room in a couple of weeks...

                                          1. re: arepo

                                            We have been there twice, both times on a Saturday. Once sitting at a banquette table against the wall and once at a table for four near the window. At neither time did we have a problem with noise.

                                          2. Trey Popp review:


                                            Nice shout out to Delroy, everybody's favorite waiter from Le Bec (that's him in the back right of the photo I posted earlier).

                                            1. Good week for Le Cheri continues: 3 BELLS


                                              I've never had that stuffed quail "en cocotte lutee", but I want some.

                                              But I don't understand LaBan's story about the "bistro ugly" pike quenelles in lobster sauce. Surely he must have had this dish more than once at Bibou, where it is an almost constant fixture on the tasting menu?

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                Great review. LaBan is such a talented writer.

                                                I think I need to give Le Cheri a second chance after this. Agreed on all LaBan's points.

                                                1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                  Our dinner at Le Cheri a few Saturday's ago was pretty much as LaBan described. We brought our own wine (Ch. Smith Haut Lafit '95, Ch. Evangile '90 and Ch. Latour '86) and gladly paid the corkage. I didn't really look at their wine list until I got home and was impressed. Among the most reasonable mark-ups anywhere I've been with well thought out selections across the board.

                                                  1. re: george2

                                                    Why didn't you invite me? I would have brought a 1961 Yellow Tail.

                                                2. A somewhat equivocal Adam Erace review, but he loves the desserts:

                                                  "Like all the bread here, the brioche that accompanies the foie is baked in-house under the direction of pastry chef Rebecca Craig. Working for TLC’s Cake Boss bakery may be the gold star on her resume, but her desserts at Le Chéri will change that. Get ready to hear more about this unknown and her dark, milk and white chocolate mousses, caramel-rippled mango tarte tatin and pear charlotte, a ladyfinger tepee framing whipped cream cheese."