Saturday, July 19, 2008


227 S. 18th St., Philadelphia, 215.545.2262

Parc hasn't been open even a week yet, but I work nearby and have been watching the crowds descend on it. It's Steven Starr, after all. Well, it's also Girls Dinner so why not head there to see what the hype is all about. We called the same day to see about reservations but the earliest was 5:30 (way too early) and the next open was 9:45. We stopped by about 8:15 to see how long the wait would be. For an outdoor table facing either Rittenhouse Square or on Locust Street, it was 1 1/2 hours, inside was an hour. We headed over to Tria for a drink first and to wait out the crowd.

I like Tria because it's a great place to try new wines and cheeses, plus they pair their cheese with interesting condiments. We had La Tur ($9), a goat, sheep and cow's milk semi-soft cheese from Piedmont, Italy, with honey marmalade and Cashel Blue ($7), a blue-veined cow's milk cheese from County Tipperary, Ireland, with a chocolate fig sauce. The La Tur is their most popular. I'm not sure why. We didn't love it.

By 9ish, we went back to Parc and were seated right away. Although, the wait for a table outside was still an hour!

The decor is authentic vintage Parisian. Every little detail was considered, right down to the European styled phone number on the awning out front. The floor is made up of tiny tiles. The tables are marble top. Huge mirrors on the walls have been antiqued. The bar is Paris in Philly. The only thing I noticed that wasn't so French was the wine list. A bottle of Angeline Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, California was priced at $42. That hurts, especially when I see it in Total Wine for $10.

The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is the noise level. It's astronomical. Even at 10 pm, we were still yelling to each other. The crowd is about as diverse as Philadelphia. Old, young, sloppy, dressed up. Everyone is checking this place out. And they should be. It's amazing. Steven Starr has simply outdone himself.

The menu is, surprise, Parisian bistro. The winners for the night were the Tuna Carpaccio and the Boeuf Bourgiunonne. Girlfriend Roz does not ever eat anything raw and she raved about the tuna. So, I'm just sayin', it was good. My bronzino was delicious other than it was a tad overcooked. Lingiuni with Clams was just ok. Service was on the slow side, but we'll give it a pass since it's new. According to our server, they are taking 400 to 500 reservations a night, and doing about 800 covers, if that gives you any indication of what's going on here.

Get there. Run, don't walk.

Others say: Phoodie;


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