[Philadelphia] Parc

[ A+ ] /[ A- ]

Parc | www.parc-restaurant.com
Address: 227 S. 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Date visited: 2013.04
Verdict: Good but heavy
Will return: Definitely

Another day, another Stephen Starr restaurant. This is a great lunch spot with a magnificent view of the hobos living in Rittenhouse Square Park. But no actually, it is a very nice area in center city.

We ate from 1-3pm and the restaurant was packed the entire time. Dat Stephen Starr touch. Take two restaurants that serve similar food: one is like strolling through the park while the Stephen Starr restaurant is like walking through Disneyland. Some people will go once and it is enough while others will go every weekend (yes, unlimited access annual passes at Disney exist). Stephen Starr restaurants are not for all, but worth experiencing at least once.

Parc (and French food in general) is great, but I can’t do it very often. My ancestors harvested rice alright. I am just not genetically designed to consume this much butter and cream. I thought I was being modest with my selections but even with a salad, my faint Asian heart was drowning in butter and cream. I will be back, but after my heart recovers.

Assorted Oysters (Half Dozen $17.00)
Nothing too extraordinary but always a nice starter.

Onion Soup Gratinée ($11.50)
The cheese on top was very nicely done–mildly sharp flavor with a slightly burnt and crusty on top. This was so good but neither of us finished our bowls because it was just so heavy. My heart can only handle this once and then never.

Warm Shrimp Salad ($18.50) 
I am not a huge shrimp person but I felt like it today. This looked so innocent but almost gave me a heart attack because they use a lemon beurre blanc sauce, which literally means “white butter” in French. It is an emulsion made from butter, cream, lemon, vinegar, shallots, and white wine. The sauce is thin, yet so rich (because it’s made from a freaking stick of butter). Healthy fail but was very tasty. 

Traditional Crème Brûlée ($9.00)
There was some excess sugar on top that made me feel like I was diabetic; just needed to blowtorch the sugar a few seconds longer. Otherwise, this was solid.

Though classic creme brulee is vanilla flavored, I have had it with and without actual vanilla bean specks. The specks must be scraped out of a vanilla bean. If there aren’t any specks in the creme brulee, then it was prepared with vanilla extract. While I don’t think the lack of specks is an indication of bad creme brulee, I noticed that all the good ones I have had (including this one) contained specks. Must do more creme brulee tastings to test this extremely scientific hypothesis.