A "wow" moment for Bibou, and for Philly.
The 32-seat Bella Vista BYOB is seventh in Alan Richman's list of GQ's 10 Best New Restaurants of the Year, coming out in the January issue. (How especially refreshing, given that Bibou does not have a public-relations machine behind it.)
Richman, who wrote for the old Evening Bulletin eons ago, blurbs:
"Bibou (technically Bibou BYOB) is the latest and most improbable reason to head down to traditionally Italian and now somewhat Latino South Philly. It’s pure French. Chef-owner Pierre Calmels is French. The hostess (his wife, Charlotte) is French. The butter is French. The music is French. The menus adorning the wall are French. The recipes are, of course, French. Dishes include such rustic favorites as braised pigs’ feet stuffed with foie gras, and hanger steak with green-peppercorn sauce. But there are non-French accents, too: scallops with jicama, mahimahi with a lobster-lavender emulsion. Best of all is a moist, creamy pig’s-head terrine, practically the French countryside on a plate. Bibou is tiny and crowded and mostly unembellished, but it does have pristine white tablecloths. And in this era of cold, hard-edged bistros, perhaps only the French understand what incalculable warmth and intimacy that evokes."