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DESCRIPTIONPhiladelphia - Restaurants, the Arts, Travel and people.
PRIME CONCIERGE November, 2013
Meet Jamie Cooperstein President of the
Philadelphia Concierge Association
We are committed to
excellence as we strive
to serve the City of
Philadelphia and its
and states. Our members
are some of the finest
concierges who are
empowered and dedicated to establish and
promote high professional and ethical
standards. Our mission is to encourage
friendship, communication and integrity
throughout the Philadelphia region, nationally
Since the early 2000s, the discourse about
the decline of French food has been oscillating
between satisfaction and sorrow: some cheer
that ever-arrogant France no longer produces
the best cuisine in the worldhowever
exaggerated that claim ever waswhile
others simply mourn the loss. Much of the
concern revolves around the decline of haute
cuisine at the top and the invasion of fast-food
joints at the bottom, as if there were nothing
worth reporting between these two
extremes. Sophie Brissaud, Food Arts
In our November Restaurant Report, we talk
about the decline of high-end French
Restaurants, and yes, Chef Perrier is
mentioned. We realize that its time to allow
the man to retire in peace (if such a thing is
possible). And yes, it is time to move on, even
though we still find the man interesting.
The Restaurant Report
by Bob Bickell
Vetri in South Jersey; Catelli Duo;
Brasserie Perrier; and Ocean Prime.
Who would have thought that a Marc Vetri would
place an upscale restaurant in a South Jersey Mall?
But who would have thought that Vetri would
build two restaurants on Broad Street in North
I would also add who would have thought Vetri
would have a pizza joint (Pizzeria Vetri) on
Callowhill Street in Fairmont?
Of course the word joint doesnt apply to
anything the Vetri people do, and some people
think of his Osteria simply as an upscale version of
an Olive Garden (obviously people who have never
dined at Osteria).
The short answer is that Marc Vetri and Company
can do whatever they want to do, and everything
they want to do ends-up as a winner. Quality in
every phase of their business is their secret (so to
speak). They take chances because they can, and
how many owners would even consider the
thought of opening in a shopping mall?
Well see what happens, and shortly well see
what happens to yet another owner soon to open
his Distrito at the same mall.
Jose Garces is even getting ready to occupy the
former Old Original Bookbinders in Old City.
When you get on a roll, and when you have the
talent (and success) of a Jose Garces, you take
chances, simply because you can.
The big winner here is South Jersey. Its been a
chain dominated restaurant community for far too
long, and an Osteria and a Distrito have to be a
welcome sight for the local folks who appreciate a
more serious (chef-driven) dining experience.
Catelli Duo While there might be a shortage of
outstanding independent restaurants in South
Jersey, there are still great independent
concepts, and Catelli Duo is the perfect
After a 17-year run with Catelli Ristorante,
they wanted to make things even better.
Invariably, a restaurant that is planning to be
around for the long haul needs a great chef,
and Chef Lou Imbesi is one of the areas best.
The addition of Chef Roberta Adamo makes it
even more interesting, and a visit to their site
will tell you everything you have to know.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words,
so we have included some photos to help
make our point.
Open seven days for Lunch & Dinner
with weekend Brunch
12101 Town Center Blvd.
You hate to see a great restaurant going out of
business, and closings have implications in terms of
the direction of a given restaurant community. This
one is most interesting because in my opinion, this
closing had so much to do with the most recent
closing only one block away.
Brasserie Perrier opened in 1997 and basically after
Chris Scarduzio took over the kitchen, this spot was
an amazing success. The people responded to a
more casual French-oriented presentation and a
very happening bar scene.
This restaurant officially closed on New Years Eve in
2008. The problem was presented as real estate
related as the owner of the property demanded a
more realistic deal regarding the rent. Of course,
the key owner of Brasserie Perrier was George
Perrier, the owner of Le Bec-Fin located only one
Its important to note that in approximately 2004,
the classic French restaurants in New York were
closing, one after another. Places such as Lutece,
Chanterelle, and La Cote Basque closed their doors,
and in January of 2008, Daniel Boulud (a close
friend of Chef Perrier) opened a more casual French
Bistro called Bar Boulud. The writing was clearly on
the wall, but George was determined to keep his
high-end Le Bec-Fin going.
George was upset that many of his loyal customers
were attracted to the more casual Brasserie Perrier,
and he produced a situation where he was basically
competing against himself.
In a strange way, it is my belief that George was
simply not ready to accept the fact that the high-
end French restaurants were simply on their way
out. He didnt fight the real estate issues, and with
some obvious problems, they could have moved
Brasserie Perrier to a new location (possibly even to
the building one block away that he owned).
Brasserie Perrier was precisely the perfect way to
go, and as I said before, look at the success of his
one-time top chef, Pierre Calmels of Bibou - one of
Philadelphias best (French) restaurants.
French food will always be, but the high-end
(expensive) French restaurants are basically
yesterdays news. George had a great run of some
42 years, and its intriguing to consider the
possibility that if in 2008, he would have accepted
the French bistro idea, we would have avoided all
the craziness of the past few years.
Brasserie Perrier might still be happening.
The recently opened Ocean Prime is dazzling to say
the very least. Philadelphia marks the addition of
the 10th Ocean Prime from the popular Cameron
It will be interesting to watch as Ocean Prime is
essentially a steakhouse, and located in a crowded
neighborhood with the likes of The Prime Rib, Del
Friscos, Mortons, The Capital Grille, The Palm,
Butcher and Singer, Ruths Chris, and Barclay
One thing is for sure, if you are a fan of ambiance,
Ocean Prime just might be your destination of
124 South 15th Street
The Young Ben Franklin
The Museum Shop
Take advantage of extreme discounts on a multitude of Museum merchandise at our Underground Bazaar.
November 29th, 30th, and December 1st from 10am to 5pm, held in the rarely seen Vaulted Corridor underneath the Museum.
Choose from furniture, framed prints, giftware, note cards and much more - all at extraordinary savings. All sales are final; no additional discounts apply; and shoppers are responsible for transporting their purchases home.
Here are 10 Reasons to
visit this amazing country
Levanzo Cala Dogana
Castelluccio di Norcia
Cattedrale di Pinerolo
Chiesa della Gran di Dio
My definition of Peace