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Peter LaGuardia

LaCroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel

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I've always wanted to eat there.

I had reservations for brunch a couple years ago and got there to discover that it wasn't quite "brunch" as a NY'er would understand it.  We ended up leaving (feeling embarrassed but a giant spread wasn't what we were looking for at the time)...it's too bad because if I had been prepared for it...it looked wonderful.  Glad to hear it's still the same.

OK, I'm curious... what does a NY'er expect brunch to be? :unsure:

__Jason

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brunch is something we do at least once if not twice every weekend.

its a casual, usually light, meal with friends at about 2 in the afternoon.

many of the finest restaurants in NY serve brunch -- Jean Georges, Perry Street, Eleven Madison Park etc.

however, it is usually an ala carte menu (with some expensive items off the dinner menu and some cheap (but usually very well-made) "brunch items" -- lox on a brioche or Belgian waffles....all refined and innovated somewhat...but along that line.

I know of nowhere in the city where it's a massive spread and a $100 a person meal. (there might be some hotels that do this for tourists...I don't know)

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the thing is:

I'd heard they had a "good brunch" but no one had described it....and neither did the website....so the setup was a complete surprise to us.

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I have not been to LaCroix since Matt took over the kitchen, but after reading your review of the party food, it sounds like it might be time. I am a long time fan of Levin's having first eaten his fantastic food when he was the Executive Chef at Moonlight in New Hope (closed for a few years) His food blew me away and I am happy that he has found a new home in Philly.

Interesting.......As inspector Clouseau would say.....very interesting Indeed.

there was no actual review of the "party food" to the degree of rushing over there,was urbanfabric's post edited ?

Well, maybe not a review, but certainly a comment:

They served small plates of the items off the tasting menu and the new ala carte apps and entrees.  They had a raw bar area and a carving station as well as the passed food. Everything was wonderful and there were a few stand outs like the venison, squab on a shrimp shumai/wonton hybrid, and a piece of cuban pork belly on a bed of black beans.

(emphasis added)

To Jason and Nathan: Maybe sumptuous pricey Sunday brunch buffets are a Philadelphia phenomenon, or more accurately, a Philadelphia hotel phenomenon. The buffet wasn't in the kitchen, but I had a very memorable Sunday brunch buffet in the Swann Lounge of the Four Seasons back on our 20th anniversary that was probably along the lines of Lacroix' for variety if not creativity.

And speaking of Matts: Confidential to matthewj: Your name came up--okay, I brought it up--at the planning meeting for Issue 2 of Postscript this morning. You're definitely on the radar screen, and the subject of including Hospitality Management alums more prominently in our alumni publications also came up. If you got a copy of Issue 1 (you should have), I'd love to hear what you thought of it. Edited to add: A colleague of mine here in University Relations also knows you and says you're a great guy.


Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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"To Jason and Nathan: Maybe sumptuous pricey Sunday brunch buffets are a Philadelphia phenomenon, or more accurately, a Philadelphia hotel phenomenon."

the sunday brunch at the hotel dupont, here in wilmington, certainly qualifies a sumptuous, but not as pricey as la croix.so, i don't think it is just a philly thing.

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I don't think it's regional, there are big fancy, expensive brunch buffets all over, often in hotels, but not always. The Lacroix brunch is certainly an extreme example, it's the most expensive (and the best) that I've encountered, but I've seen plenty of elaborate, pricey brunch buffets on various scales.

That said, I can see the confusion, there certainly is a tradition of the casual, low-key weekend brunch as well. We in Philly will just have to be a little more careful about setting conditions when recommending a "great brunch."


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Well, maybe not a review, but certainly a comment:

You missed the point........and the elephant on the coffee table.

Read between the lines.


Edited by Vadouvan (log)

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I have not been to LaCroix since Matt took over the kitchen, but after reading your review of the party food, it sounds like it might be time. I am a long time fan of Levin's having first eaten his fantastic food when he was the Executive Chef at Moonlight in New Hope (closed for a few years) His food blew me away and I am happy that he has found a new home in Philly.

Interesting.......As inspector Clouseau would say.....very interesting Indeed.

there was no actual review of the "party food" to the degree of rushing over there,was urbanfabric's post edited ?

Perhaps a better review would be a Chef Lacroix food vs. Chef Levin food comparison? It's not like I've eaten a bad thing at Lacroix under either regime.

Outlining that comparison would probably not make you rush over there. I think that I was trying to represent that there had been no decline in quality of food, service, or experience.

If you've never been, I feel it's worth the money. If you've been before, I would say go back... the food is different, but the atmosphere is nearly unchanged.

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My issue isnt with your post urbanfabric....its the suspiciously ethusiastic one that follows it.......

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My issue isnt with your post urbanfabric....its the suspiciously ethusiastic one that follows it.......

Didn't think it was, just realized when I read over it again that I hadn't really drawn many conclusions/comparisons, especially any that would really make someone excited about Lacroix/Levin.

And, while I wouldn't say "suspicious," I had no idea that Levin had followers. :biggrin:

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Big boss, Murcury,

Young MathewJ the king of bees, thanks for the honey, it rocks.

Guess who Laban's reviewing next week...?

I bet you cant wait...... :shock:

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that will certainly be interesting. i only wonder whose menu(s) are going to fall under the microscope.

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I seriously doubt that any review will give that restaurant the kharmic slap in the face it deserves. It's like the House of Usher; no one will see just how rotten to the core it has become on the inside. I feel bad for the people I know who still work there.

that will certainly be interesting.  i only wonder whose menu(s) are going to fall under the microscope.

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Ouch....Bigboss.

Clearly you know more than I do.

It certainly will be a barometer of if the dining public at large has any interest in (pardon the use or should I say misuse of the term) "molecular gastronomy".

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mmmmm. We shall see.

Let us see if will be accurately critiqued with out the baubles and whistles,subliming gasses, and meat glue.

I think it will be critiqued wisely.

Rosebud


Edited by matthewj (log)

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The rumor mill is churning and if there is any truth to what I am hearing then we are all in for a BIG surprise...cue suspense building music.

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we are all in for a BIG surprise

Well the restaurant always had 3 bells and with Jean Marie Lacroix no longer affiliated with it, conventional wisdom would be that it would maintain the status quo or lose 1 bell.

Though i am not one to speculate about these things, I am interpreting the word "surprise" to mean 4 bells ?

Ultimately while I consider Inquirer reviews to be entirely subjective, it would be *completely* insulting to JML to give the restaurant 4 bells after he left and I frankly would be interested in what that last intangible aspect of the place was..........but as you say, its all speculation until noon saturday

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Four Bells is hardly deserving of a chef that has only been at the helm for only 3 months. Although the systems are in place it is hard to see that short of being Thomas Keller, it would be difficult to pull off. When we won three bells at Lacroix I believed that it was accurate to award us Three and not Four bells. We were a Three bells restuarant, trying for Four. Service was not perfect and he had some issues with timing of food, which I agreed with him. The standard Four bells I think should be attained by only a few, as a bench mark of CONSISTANT, excellent, food and service that has to be legitimately achieved, and not some political "here you go run with it"- award. That is why the Four Seasons, Vetri and Le Bec are the only ones deserving of that title.

Even by Michelin's standards deduct stars when the chefs leaves. It gives the restaurant time to earn the stars back.

That being said we will see on Sunday, heck I am in another city, we shall see.


Edited by matthewj (log)

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My guess is that the restaurant finally got the points for service it lacked during our tenure there. Having a capable and consistent manager over the last year, coupled with some necessary "culling of the weak," has probably resulted in a perceptible difference in the service experience that we in the kitchen would not notice. Like I said upthread, though, from what I hear from people that still work there, I cannot accept that the food has improved under the new management. And I do not mean that comment to be self-aggrandizing at all. I am curious to see what Laban says.

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I agree That service probably has become considerable better under the rule of Ed Wildman, he was an is an excellent ambassador for proper service, wine knowledge, and managerial duties. I wish he was Gm when I was there I believe things would have gone a lot smoother. Ed has the knowledge to push a collective effort for a more perfect serving atmosphere.

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I know that "more perfect is not grammatically correct, but if it is in the preamble of the constitution, I am going to write it too

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I know that "more perfect is not grammatically correct, but if it is in the preamble of the constitution, I am going to write it too

More perfect is acceptable Matt... :smile:

George Orwell said "All animals are equal but some are *more equal* than others"

I suppose those would be the ones that havent been pumped up with antibiotics, hormones and tryptophan.................. :shock:

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I know that "more perfect is not grammatically correct, but if it is in the preamble of the constitution, I am going to write it too

Actually, you used the phrase exactly right.

You: "...a more perfect serving atmosphere..."

US Constitution: "...in order to form a more perfect Union..."


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I know that "more perfect is not grammatically correct, but if it is in the preamble of the constitution, I am going to write it too

More perfect is acceptable Matt... :smile:

George Orwell said "All animals are equal but some are *more equal* than others"

I suppose those would be the ones that havent been pumped up with antibiotics, hormones and tryptophan.................. :shock:

I thought tryptophan occurred naturally in turkey. You mean to tell me they inject it along with the water?


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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