Stephen Starr has conjured a stunning vision of Paris on Rittenhouse Square in this re-creation of a vintage brasserie that feels so authentically French - from the crusty baguettes and grand sidewalk seating down to the smoke-stained mirrors. It's the biggest restaurant spectacle in recent memory, but also a victim of its runaway success, with a noise problem that requires les earplugs and a kitchen that consistently struggles to serve its polished bistro fare hot to more than 1,000 diners a day.
Bread; raw oysters; steak tartare; pissaladiere; escargots; pate; brandade de morue; warm shrimp salad; macaroni gratin; steak-frites; New York strip au poivre; branzino; cheeseburger; lamb shank; duck a l'orange (Wednesdays); quiche (breakfast); profiteroles; tarte au citron; tarte Tatin; pot de creme.
The substantial French-centric list ranges from good sub-$50 choices (Alsatian "Sept Grains," $42; Madiran, $45) to big-ticket Bordeaux and Burgundies. There's a complete list of decent wines by the glass, hard cider, craft beers, pastis, brandies and themed cocktails (which still need work).
An earsplitting 94 decibels, and that's in the quieter back room. The front room is even more insanely noisy at night, though plans are in the works to dampen the sound. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Breakfast Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.; lunch daily, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until midnight; Sunday until 10 p.m.; brunch Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.