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Pif in Philadelphia


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Sorry if this is a repeat thread. It seems everytime I search, it takes me back to eg forums in general. There was nothing under Pif. Then I put in Pif Philadelphia, and I got basic Philadelphia restaurants, no Pif....(suggestions? Please email a personal note!)

Anyway, four of us went to Pif on Thursday night. It's nice, basic, bistro food. The appetizers and desserts rocked.

Appetizers were:

-- Soup de Poisson-thin and a complete puree, good though, served with a bit of crouton.

--Escargots au Pernod, served with a head of roasted garlic, sweet as can be, the escargot tasted nicely of Pernod.

--Roasted fig and goat cheese and pine nuts.

--Quail with beets! Nice size whole quail, which my husband picked up and ate, didn't leave any meat on the bones, with a nice side of cubed beets.

The bread on the table was very good, and the red salt on the butter was extremely delicious.

Entrees:

--Cote de boeuf with anchovy butter. This was a huge, fatty rib-eye, and the anchovy butter was super. Served over mash and haricot verts. $30 is expensive, but I had lunch the next day! I ordered it rare and it came out med rare, very tasty, might have been too chewy if really rare.

--Trout with brown butter and capers-Two people had this, its the whole trout, head and all, with what sounds like a basic sauce, but it was delicious. We even ate most of the skin! Tasty.

--Crab galette with cucumber salad. This was small, but tasty, almost nouvelle in its presentation. Not really a crabcake, maybe panko crust?

Desserts:

--Chocolate Fondant-very rich and chocolate cake.

--Creme brulee Pistache-subtle pistachio flavor, perfect creme brulee.

--Financier. Perfect almond financier cake. Delicious.

--Crepe with vanilla ice cream. Least favorite, didn't do anything for any of us.

We had a definite Moore Bros night-Marigny-neuf from Ampelidae (which we visited in January), Beaujolais Villages, Cote de Blaye bordeaux 2000, and the dessert wine! Chateau Laffitte Ceston...

Without the wine, it was $86 per couple plus tip.

We felt the entrees weren't creative, but basic and very, very good. The same with the desserts. Appetizers were a little more creative and worked.

Service got backed up, but we didn't mind at all, we were happy drinking, eating, talking, spending time DINING. The service was very good, really...

Philly Francophiles

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The bread on the table was very good, and the red salt on the butter was extremely delicious.

Pif is our favorite restaurant and I find myself purposefully avoiding it so I can get to other places for a change. It has been a while though and this thread may change that.

The bread is from right nearby called Artisan Boulanger Patisserie. As a bread baker I tend to look down on commercial breads but he is sensational! A vietnamese baker who is classically french trained in bread baking. Try their sourdough baguette (not sour tasting but uses a natural yeast) and then post back when you come back to earth!

The salt is hawaiian alaean pink salt. I had called Chef David Ansill one night because my wife always talks of that pink salt and got the info. It's baked in red clay and is available at amazon believe it or not at this link. Guests at our place love it. It tastes light and is a nice pink color.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...t-food&v=glance

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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The bread on the table was very good, and the red salt on the butter was extremely delicious.

Pif is our favorite restaurant and I find myself purposefully avoiding it so I can get to other places for a change. It has been a while though and this thread may change that.

The bread is from right nearby called Artisan Boulanger Patisserie. As a bread baker I tend to look down on commercial breads but he is sensational! A vietnamese baker who is classically french trained in bread baking. Try their sourdough baguette (not sour tasting but uses a natural yeast) and then post back when you come back to earth!

The salt is hawaiian alaean pink salt. I had called Chef David Ansill one night because my wife always talks of that pink salt and got the info. It's baked in red clay and is available at amazon believe it or not at this link. Guests at our place love it. It tastes light and is a nice pink color.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...t-food&v=glance

Evan

Pif is our favorite too. Thanks for the information about the salt. I love their bread and butter (and everything else). We do the same as you, just so we will try other places. We get to Pif about once a month but, really, I could go twice a week!

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that trout with brown butter and capers is fantastically good.

before i ate fish (yes, yes absolutely impossible to be vegetarian at a french restaurant) they made me a plate with most of the side dishes.

so beautifully arranged: the smoothest potato puree, that whole head of garlic topped with some sort of stuffing i forget, a little bundle of cabbage hiding sauteed mushroom duxelles inside, all sorts of other treasures.

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We went there about a year ago with a vegetarian friend.

They made this huge platter, center was a fantastic french lentil dish with shallots, surrounded with all sorts of wonderful vegetables....Our friend was in heaven.

Philly Francophiles

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We went there about a year ago with a vegetarian friend.

They made this huge platter, center was a fantastic french lentil dish with shallots, surrounded with all sorts of wonderful vegetables....Our friend was in heaven.

Took folks to Pumpkin last night instead of Pif. Next time we will not stray from this gem.... see Pumpkin thread a bit later for details...

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Being true to my word, I went back with my wife to Pif last night after an absence of maybe six months. It was the best meal I have had there yet.

The bread is always good. They had the lofty sourdough baguette from Artisan pattisserie Boulanger in the basket last night. I had it once from the source and can spot it a mile away. The butter with the pink hawaiian salt to us says "Pif".

For appetizer I chose the sweetbreads verjus, a reasonable portion of sauteed swetbreads on a bed of haricot vert topped with a reduction of unripe grape juice and hazelnut chunks. Easily the best sweetbreads I have ever had. Even my wife, like Sam I ams friend, finally said "hey I think I like sweetbreads!" Great. Next she is going for fight me for the turkey oysters, neck and tail on thanksgiving.

She had the roast mussels with lavender. Roasted, not steamed, and topped with a light preparation of their own jus, chive, butter and lavender. My kingdom for a glass of rose! I could have closed my eyes and felt like I was in Provence.

For entrees, their are usually a choice of 5 entrees. I chose the cote du boeuf which is usually not my thing. I am not a big steak guy but I was not in a fish mood so I ordered it. I am uncertain how a plain ole ribeye can be transformed but this was spectacular. I finished the whole 16 cut and of course there was the bone (my fave) as a surprise. That would make it a rib steak no? Anyway, it was wonderfully seared and seasoned and the reduction was some damn tasty demiglace with a kick from anchovies! I would not have guessed but I had to inquire why this dish was so good. This is a frequent if not standard menu item so try it one day.

My wife had the veal with chanterelles which she enjoyed even though the portion had her waving the white flag. It was pan fried in a herbed crust with a dominant but not overbearing note of tarragon. Topped with fresh and pickled chanterelles and surrounded by a few chunks of .... sweetbreads. She ate those, the rat!

I have never liked the desserts at Pif but since we were getting clobbered after finishing our very first bottle of Turley (02 Old Vines - yum!!), I ordered the financier, a supersweet almond cake. Otherwise, I would pass like I usually do on the dessert.

The service is always great. Michael, the maitre D, was our server and it was nice to catch up with him. We got to talk to David Ansell, the chef, and chew the fat a bit. Their wonderful sous chef - another David, is back in the kitchen after an unappealing stint at Le Bec and society hill hotel. He is just terrific and I am glad he is back.

If you have never been - go. It is our favorite restaurant. If you dont like it, get the doggy bag and PM me for rapid pickup. :wub:

Tell them Evan sent you.......

Dough can sense fear.

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The butter with the pink hawaiian salt to us says "Pif".

Yeah, I feel the same way. It's just a little touch, but it's a nice and representative one.

For entrees, their are usually a choice of 5 entrees.  I chose the cote du boeuf which is usually not my thing.  I am not a big steak guy but I was not in a fish mood so I ordered it.  I am uncertain how a plain ole ribeye can be transformed but this was spectacular.  I finished the whole 16 cut and of course there was the bone (my fave) as a surprise.  That would make it a rib steak no?  Anyway, it was wonderfully seared and seasoned and the reduction was some damn tasty demiglace with a kick from anchovies!  I would not have guessed but I had to inquire why this dish was so good.  This is a frequent if not standard menu item so try it one day.

I think you're reading my mind, Evan. I'm also an indifferent steak eater, but when we went to Pif about a month back, I had the côte and it was really terrific. I didn't know that it was anchovies that made the demiglace so good, but in retrospect, it doesn't surprise me. (I wonder if you can use a splash of fish sauce to get the same effect without having to deal with a can of anchovies; anybody know?)

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I didn't know that it was anchovies that made the demiglace so good, but in retrospect, it doesn't surprise me.  (I wonder if you can use a splash of fish sauce to get the same effect without having to deal with a can of anchovies; anybody know?)

i don't know that it would be the same, since fish sauce is fermented while anchovies are just cured/preserved. they do kinda serve the same purpose though, i guess.

but if you don't want to have a can of anchovies around (although i'm not sure why anyone wouldn't), you could get a tube of anchovy paste. i wouldn't use anchovy paste for anything where you care about actual anchovy flavor (because it's made of the bits and pieces and whatnot), but for things like this where you want anchovy to add a depth of flavor without actually being tasted, it's a good secret ingredient.

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Yes, tubed anchovy.  Brilliant!  Just don't get it confused with the Crest.

The only thing worse than making that mistake would be having a glass of OJ right after it...

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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I had dinner at Pif again last night. I would normally not go again after just being there a week ago. Since we got shut out at Studiokitchen and a couple of guests had wanted to go to Pif, I was happy to oblige after they accommodated a short notice party of 8.

As always, its delicious.

The out of towners would not stop eating pink salted butter on the sourdough baguette (the one with the dark "burnt" crust). Its the best bread in Philly IMHO.

Sadly, the cote du boeuf was not on the menu but I had the razor clams in herbed butter followed by Filet mignon bordelaise. That was good but not the same as the entrecote. I thought of Andrew as several folks got the sauteed chicken livers. The duck confit on traditional lyonnaise salad topped with a foie gras jus was very good.

We also brought too much wine and wound up only drinking one red, one white and a bottle of champagne. I was waiting to try the Two Hands Bellas Garden Shiraz again after trying it at the Jake's wine dinner a few months ago. What a "big" BIG powerful wine. Of all the wines I tasted that night, this was the winner and for a special occassion - well worth the $40.

Interestingly, they showed me the "back room" which is a private dining area behind the kitchen designed for private parties of 8-12. I thought it would be a perfect egullet get together in the fall. They said they would be happy to have us and set up a tasting menu. Right now its kinda hot and the A/C on hot summer nights is not powerful enough back there but perhaps in October I will set up a dinner to meet up with some new and old egulleteers. I will post on the ISO thread as it gets closer.

Stay tuned....

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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Yes, tubed anchovy.  Brilliant!  Just don't get it confused with the Crest.

The only thing worse than making that mistake would be having a glass of OJ right after it...

Evan

Really? I think the citrusy goodness would mix well with the salty goodness.

But hold me back while I'm leaning over puking.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Hey Evan, thanks for the report. Sadly I think even amazing food in any restaurant would feel like a let-down when you had been planning on the whole Studio Kitchen experience. But hey, Pif still sounded good! It made me want to go. (And happy birthday!)

Interestingly, they showed me the "back room" which is a private dining area behind the kitchen designed for private parties of 8-12.  I thought it would be a perfect egullet get together in the fall.  They said they would be happy to have us and set up a tasting menu.  Right now its kinda hot and the A/C on hot summer nights is not powerful enough back there but perhaps in October I will set up a dinner to meet up with some new and old egulleteers.  I will post on the ISO thread as it gets closer.

I think you should do that for sure!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 1 month later...

Was at Pif last night with some francophile friends. David Ansill is giving up the chef's job to concentrate on being an "owner" and his long time sous chef, another David, is taking over. I have seen him in the kitchen there for years for a while David 2 has been there frequently flying solo.

They are also going CASH only and they have swapped out linen tablecloths for homey brown paper. Must have some bill to pay for the new restaurant David A is opening in Queens Village.

Anyway, the food is still great. I had the blessed entrecote with a black truffle sauce and also shared and a braised lamb shoulder - falling apart tender - upon a bean ragout and broccoli rabe. For appetizer, I had a brochette of veal heart and kidneys. After multiple people told me how good it was (including David A) I tried it and it was pretty darn good. They also had skate wing bordelaise which was ordered by 2 others and it was sensational.

It was totally empty last night. After coming off vacay for a week, people probably decided to make plans at other places for this week already. I think you can walk right in for a bit!

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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so all your raving about pif prompted us to go last night, evan. k had the entrecote; i had the pot au feu, which came with a nice pile of brisket, a slice of tongue, and a marrow bone. all was delicious.

but the appetizers were key--a sweetbreads verjus that paired perfectly soft yet crisp sweetbreads with a tangy verjus that cut right through... i'm still thinking about it today. k had hamachi, which was marinated and served nicoise an dwas really excellent as well.

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so all your raving about pif prompted us to go last night, evan.  k had the entrecote; i had the pot au feu, which came with a nice pile of brisket, a slice of tongue, and a marrow bone.  all was delicious.

but the appetizers were key--a sweetbreads verjus that paired perfectly soft yet crisp sweetbreads with a tangy verjus that cut right through... i'm still thinking about it today.  k had hamachi, which was marinated and served nicoise an dwas really excellent as well.

Lucky you. MrB. When I was there Thursday, I asked if they had any spare sweetbreads in the back they could whip up for me. The chef came out to tell me they just got them in and they werent cleaned so come back tomorrow or the next day. He pointed me toward the offal brochette instead. I am glad you got them and I can live vicariously through your palates. I had them there recently in a grape verjus and it was killer (wonder if thats what you had?). I will sometimes ask if they have them even when they are not on the menu just in case I can get lucky.

The best thing I ever had there was monkfish liver and I just asked if that is ever coming back again. He said the season is autumn so be on the lookout. Not to be missed. :wub:

As stated above, I hope it stays just as good with the change in the back....

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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Lucky you. MrB.  When I was there Thursday, I asked if they had any spare sweetbreads in the back they could whip up for me.  The chef came out to tell me they just got them in and they werent cleaned so come back tomorrow or the next day.  He pointed me toward the offal brochette instead.  I am glad you got them and I can live vicariously through your palates.  I had them there recently in a grape verjus and it was killer (wonder if thats what you had?).  I will sometimes ask if they have them even when they are not on the menu just in case I can get lucky.

isn't verjus grapes, by definition?

either way it was a truly great dish.

As stated above, I hope it stays just as good with the change in the back....

we'll see, but david a wasn't doing any cooking on friday and the food was great, so it would seem that the guy can hold his own...

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isn't verjus grapes, by definition?

either way it was a truly great dish.

So it is... I have learned something new today....

http://www.epicurious.com/cooking/how_to/f...y/entry?id=5087

Evan

Evan:

Here is a better definition and a source. One literal translation is "Green Juice".

Sadly this vintage is sold out, but Navarro Vineyards makes an excellent verjus I've seen more than once professional chef employ. Here is what's available at Amazon.com Gourmet Shop.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 9 months later...

Pif: June 29, 2006

gallery_23992_3172_51287.jpg

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Poached Char, white asparagus, endive in vinaigrette

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Escargots au Pernod

gallery_23992_3172_47487.jpg

Foie Gras terrine with spiced apples & almonds

gallery_23992_3172_27244.jpg

Marinated Scallop, mint, pink salt

gallery_23992_3172_39336.jpg

Roasted Red Mullet with olive tapenade

gallery_23992_3172_53392.jpg

Pig Foot Terrine with shallots and microgreens

gallery_23992_3172_27939.jpg

Fig boucheron tart

gallery_23992_3172_38232.jpg

Rabbit Gratin

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the Katie special: capogiro honeysuckle sorbet and moscato floats

gallery_23992_3172_63429.jpg

Boucheron, Blue d'Auvergne, and a third cheese

gallery_23992_3172_18040.jpg

Crêpes with Raspberry Jam

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Chocolate Pot du Creme

gallery_23992_3172_38092.jpg

Coupe Lorraine

gallery_23992_3172_76513.jpg

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Pif: June 29, 2006

gallery_23992_3172_51287.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_27079.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_43187.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_47487.jpg

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gallery_23992_3172_39336.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_53392.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_27939.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_38232.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_29307.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_63429.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_18040.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_6606.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_38092.jpg

gallery_23992_3172_76513.jpg

That's it, no commentary??? Please fill in the blanks with what each dish is. We're going there next week after Cirque Du Soleil. Looks incredible, once again damn fine photography.

Jeff

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That's it, no commentary??? Please fill in the blanks with what each dish is. We're going there next week after Cirque Du Soleil. Looks incredible, once again damn fine photography.

1. poached char, white asparagus, endive in vinaigrette

2. escargots au pernod

3. foie gras terrine with spiced apples & almonds

4. marinated scallop, mint, pink salt

5. roasted red mullet with olive tapenade

6. pig foot terrine with shallots and microgreens

7. fig boucheron tart

8. called rabbit gratin, but seemed to me more like a rabbit shepherd's pie

9. the katie special: capogiro honeysuckle sorbet and moscato floats

10. boucheron, blue d'auvergne, and i forget the third cheese

11. crepes with fruit

12. i forget--chocolate pot du creme maybe?

13. ice cream with some kinda sauce that i forget and bergamot crunchies and fruit

excellent stuff.

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I barely remember dessert. :blink: I think at that point I'd had enough wine. :biggrin:

A truly lovely dinner with marvelous company, impeccable service and fabulous wines. I did not play wine scribe for the evening (probably for the best) but I'm hoping someone (Percy??) wrote down all the lovely wines we drank. I know we had the Latour Grande Roche with the escargot, which were undoubtedly the most tender ones I've ever had. And the scallops were amazing too. All of the terrines were incredible. Chef David Ansill has a way with terrines and the <ahem> lesser appreciated parts of various critters. This is true bistro cooking done at a masterful level. Simple rustic cuisine that delights all your senses. Yum.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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