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Philadelphia - Restaurants, the Arts, Travel and people.

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  • 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

    surrounding counties

    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

    and internationally.

  • 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

    Philadelphia?

  • 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

    example.

  • 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.

    Voorhees 856-751-6069

  • WWW.CatelliDuo.com

  • 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

    block away.

    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.

  • Ocean Prime

    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

    Mitchell chain.

    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

    Prime.

    One thing is for sure, if you are a fan of ambiance,

    Ocean Prime just might be your destination of

    choice.

    Ocean Prime

    124 South 15th Street

    215-563-0163

  • The Young Ben Franklin

    BenFranklinToday.com

  • PRIME ARTS

    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.

  • Prime TravelItaly

    Here are 10 Reasons to

    visit this amazing country

  • Alberobello

  • Amalfi

  • Balbianello

  • Bergamo

  • Levanzo Cala Dogana

  • Castelluccio di Norcia

  • Sempre Castelluccio

  • Cattedrale di Pinerolo

  • Erice

  • Fusine Laghi

  • Chiesa della Gran di Dio

    Torino

  • My definition of Peace