Thursday, October 23, 2008

Parc: the Bistro Experience

Photo from Parc's website:

As you walk down Market Street, the first thing that really catches your attention is Rittenhouse Square, with its bright flowers and dapper old people lounging on park benches. As my friends and I plopped ourselves on the grass, only on an afterthought did we notice the restaurants that lined the sunny green paradise. Parc is one of these restaurants. From the outside, the restaurant looks deceptively low-key. Tables that face onto the park sit outside the restaurant, and the windows are accented by wood that gives the place a light, casual feel. We ate early, around six on a Wednesday, so the restaurant was nearly empty. A considerable amount of effort was put into making the restaurant resemble a ritzy French bistro--the vaunted ceiling, open lighting, the long oak wooden bar, and the images of 'French' life on walls. Sure, the setting was a little contrived, but the view of the park and the elegant ambience sets you at ease immediately.

The main courses ranged from cheeseburgers to beef bourguignon, and most of the twelve main dishes would fall into the category of French-American gourmet. Over the course of the evening I tried the Trout Amandine, Shrimp and Linguine, and the Pan Roasted Salmon. The meats were very tender and flavorful. The linguine has a light buttery sauce that balanced the shrimp, and the salmon was flaky and moist, as it always should be. On the down side, the portions were tiny and very pricey. So was the food good? Very. Overpriced? Unfortunately. Thankfully, the service was quick and my waiter friendly, so when the bill arrived I didn't cringe (too much). All in all, this was a great place to dine. Whenever you're meeting up with friends to commemorate a big occasion (or you just have cash to spare) head down to Parc for a good meal in a setting that can't be beat.

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