February 1, 2013
Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, Philadelphia PA
Mixed Green Salad
Trio of Petits Desserts
[Candied Orange Peel, Craisins, Almonds]
Casey and I love Restaurant Week, $20 lunches, and French cuisine. That’s how we ended up, on this sunny but incredibly chilly day, at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse. We were seated promptly in comfortable chairs, overlooking a barren Rittenhouse Square. The atmosphere was so light and uplifting that we knew we were in for a luxurious, casual, and exquisite experience. That is exactly what we got.
Our server brought out a Bread Basket with French baguette, sesame flatbread crisps, and butter. The baguette was crusty on the outside but warm and soft on the inside so that the butter melted into the bread. I loved the sesame crisps. They had cumin and other spices as well as toasted white and black sesame seed. It had such a lovely flavour and was so crispy.
For my first course, I got the Mixed Green Salad with dressing on the side. It was just spring mix with a sherry balsamic vinaigrette that was acidic and slightly sweet. I loved that vinaigrette. It may be simple, but they also put in finely minced scallions and red onions that were so fine you could not really see them but most certainly could taste the flavour.
I tried some of Casey’s Fennel Soup with black olives and mango. That was just superb, so creamy, rich, yet light and refreshing. The fennel flavour was lovely and heightened by the little bit of black olives. The mango gave it a very slight tartness. This was certainly an excellent way to start the meal.
For my entrée, I chose the Scallop, which were pan seared and came in a broth with white beans and diced chorizo. A slice of toasted baguette with mustard spread was such a smart way to soak up the remaining broth. The scallops had a great sear and were so tender and succulent. They were certainly the stars of the entire meal. The chorizo and white beans made the broth incredibly hearty and rich. The few leaves of arugula cut through this richness with its bitterness, which I loved.
Casey’s entrée of Tagliatelle was also excellent. The tagliatelle was clearly freshly made, cooked perfectly al dente. It also soaked up the broth, which was hearty and flavourful. The black trumpet mushrooms were so good, picking up all the flavours in the broth as well. Finally, the coddled egg on top was a great addition in my opinion. I love a barely done egg.
The dessert was a Trio of Petits Desserts, including a cinnamon profiterole, a banana chocolate mousse cake, and a lemon meringue tart. The cinnamon profiterole changed my mind about cream puffs. Okay, so I am still not in love with puff pastry, but the cinnamon cream inside was out of this world. It was slightly spiced, slightly sweetened, creamy, yet very airy and light. The banana chocolate mousse cake was like banana bread in mousse form. The banana flavour was great and the mousse was light with great texture. I enjoyed the thin layer of banana cake on the bottom as well. The lemon meringue tart was decent but nothing amazing. The meringue was light and the lemon custard very tart. The tart crust was firm and crumbly. Overall, none of the desserts were overly sweet, all making this a light, delicious ending to a lovely meal.
As we got our check, we were presented with a small dish of Candied Orange Peel, Craisins, and Sugar Coated Almonds. These were lovely to munch on as they processed our credit cards and we figured out tips. There were a little too much powdered sugar on the almonds but we both loved the candied orange peels. They were sweet, tangy, and just a tad bit bitter.
I was impressed with the presentation and flavours. It is not surprising the portions were incredibly small, but every bite that we had were wonderful. Lacroix is perhaps out of my price range on a regular basis but that just gives me more motivation to go during Restaurant Week.