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South Philly bistro doesn't skip a beat for Valentine's Day

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Bistrot La Minette

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While Cupid is busy flinging arrows into Old Man Winter, the City of Brotherly Love prepares itself for the romance holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day. And with the arrival of this holiday, many couples will look towards a tranquil dinner and lavish dessert options when scouting out that perfect, cozy venue for a love-filled evening under the city’s bright lights.

Fortunately, for Philadelphians, Queen Village, just off Penn’s Landing, offers a plethora of exquisite flavor and candle-lit bistros. However, the careful selection of Bistrot La Minette has led to a fruitful discovery, sprinkled with traces of passion and intimacy in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

Bistrot La Minette, located on 623 South 6th Street, has convenient hours and a reasonably priced menu. Their French cuisine has allured many city folk into making those special reservations for two. In particular, with French being one of the romantic languages and Bistrot La Minette’s booked Valentine’s Day seating arrangement, this little dive will sure have you screaming for ‘amore’!

What makes this place the easy choice for Valentine’s Day is the quaint charm. Aside from the Bistrot’s ranking on the top 8 romantic restaurants of Philadelphia, and its 4th place ranking on the 2011 edition of Philadelphia’s Top 50 Restaurants, Bistrot La Minette exudes a pleasant, fragrant aroma. It’s almost as if you might walk out of the doors after a delightful meal and expect to stroll along the banks of the Seine.

Led by head chef Peter Woolsey, Bistrot La Minette has received constant recognition in the culinary world over the past several years. Woolsey has reaped the successes to the point of taking on another restaurant project for the near future, while naming Kenneth Bush as the head executive chef of Bistrot La Minette.

Along with a wide variety of vintage Bordeaux’s, the dishes and sides contained a tasteful dash of the cultural essence of French cuisine. Even though the escargot has spread like wildfire in the restaurant’s reviews, the Tartare de Saumon, or Salmon Tartar, leaves many diners speechless and spoiled.

Coated in a refined, sparkling blood orange vinaigrette, the Tartar absorbs mustard textures and the rich abundance of crème fraiche present in the starter. The Puy lentils, a French legume originating from the Le Puy region of France, add a peppery burst to the already bright first course.

The main course is a taste bud expedition with many popular choices ranging from butter-basted Lancaster chicken, Leek ravioli, Miller-style trout, to a mustard-braised rabbit as well. Although each is destined to amaze patrons, it is the Joue De Boeuf Bourguigon that represents a culinary masterpiece.

Burgundy-style beef cheeks, served with crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions turns the palette into a 70s roller disco. The roasted potatoes and carrots top off the hearty entrée with a necessary starch, while, acting as a sponge for the residual trails of beef juice.

The intervals between courses is balanced and should be viewed as an art in timing, as the cordial staff always seem to be right at your side at the appropriate moment. Not only do the smiling, charming waiters succeed in timing, but also in presence. They respect the fact that many of the patrons are on dates. They allow room for private conversation. And on Valentine’s Day, that would certainly be courteous.

If there is anything on Bistrot La Minette’s menu that glitters, it would definitely be the eloquence of their trademark French desserts. For first time diners, the dessert Mille Feuille aux Framboises, which is a caramelized pastry puff with cream and raspberries, is sure to leave a lasting impression. For frequent diners, the Mille Feuille aux Framboises is still the best route to take.

Perhaps, the deep red glow of the raspberries, or the highly accented French atmosphere, will serve as an aid to the cloudy, grey doldrums present this time of year. Or maybe, it’s as simple as enjoying a romantic meal with our better halves, hoping that the persuasion of the meal never ends and that walk along the Seine is, indeed, on the way home.

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