If you recall, a while back I sunk my teeth into some French cuisine via a place in Northeast PA called Southside Bistro, accompanied by my best friend Kelley. We had escargot and blood pudding sausage, among other scrumptious eats. We promised we’d go back whenever I was home and we could – and then the restaurant closed. The woman who ran it fled back to France and, from what I understand, left the whole thing tied up in legal and money problems. Thankfully it was all sifted through and the restaurant is now named Le Manhattan Bistro and run by Gwen Le Pape, who formerly served as chef.
I was in town this weekend to not only belatedly celebrate my birthday but also see my cousin Emily in her spring play, which was “Beauty and the Beast” this year. Since I was around and Kelley and I have birthdays two days apart, we decided to hit up Le Manhattan again and see how it fared.
Oh. My. God. MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm.
My beautiful lady date with her Menage A Trois (Or-G, Canton Liqueur, Blue Coat gin, Champagne) and my Mr. Manhattan (Bourbon, Apple Jack, house-made smoked bitters, sweet vermouth) in the forefront. The decor in the bistro hasn’t changed a bit, but that’s ok – that was part of its charm.
For an appetizer we decided to split La Frisee Aux Lardons, which is bacon, croutons and a poached egg over greens drenched in a sherry vinaigrette.
For my brunch I chose Kodiak Eggs Benedict, which was crab cakes on an English muffin with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. I also sprung for truffle fries. Listen, I love me some eggs benny – but holy crab. This dish was beyond flavorful and I wish it had never ended.
There was simply no way I could ignore creme brulee on the dessert menu. This thing was ENORMOUS. I expect a typical 6 or 8-ounce ramekin. No, no. This was a little plate of creme brulee. That crack of crust was superb, the custard below a perfect sweetness. I was stuff by the time I was halfway through, but there was no way I wasn’t finishing it.
I’m so glad we had the chance to re-visit the Bistro, and with such stunning results.
That professional chef will now serve as my bible.
“Beauty and the Beast” was a blast; my alma mater always gets it right when it comes to theater. Emily made an adorable townsperson/dancing fork, and the entire cast was spot on. Cogsworth and Lumiere were highlights (those boys had great comedic chops), Mrs. Potts was adorable (and the poor girl held her arm up almost the entire time she was on stage to elicit the look of a tea pot), Gaston was perfectly played and I, all around, forgot what an emotional roller coaster “Beauty and the Beast” was for me as a child – why would Disney do that to a kid?!
I also got to bring two wonderful friends along, and I totally made them buy and wear princess crowns there.