• Friday , 28 July 2017

French Wine Dinner at Lou Bird’s Full of Great Food, Company and All The Wines

Story, photos by Jennifer Ferrell
On a chilly Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of dining at Lou Bird‘s warm brick and wooden elegant neighborhood bar and restaurant. The restaurant hosted a French wine pairing cuisine price fix menu.

Ready for a delicious meal at Lou Bird’s!

Warm reception area at Lou Bird’s.

French cuisine menu for the night.

Greeted with a friendly face and a warm handshake at the front door, I was shown to my seat at the bar. Immediately upon arrival, I was greeted by the bartender, Shane who ended up tending to filling my wine glasses and delivering my delicious colorful plates. I immediately felt at home under the red glow from the specially selected votives adorning the bar. I met with the owner, Norris Jordan, and he let me know this special detail alongside uniquely curated hand crafted tables he created and the selected antiques behind the bar from a former Philadelphia hotel.

Special ordered red votives adorn the bar.

Norris Jordan, the owner and me.

Hand selected antiques from a Philadelphia hotel.

Many locals filled the restaurant for this event, including a friend of mine who we later realized we were seated just a few chairs apart. Our dining began with two glasses of wine, one Vouvray, which was just a tad sweet with a clean crisp taste, and the other, a Beaujolais, boasting very ancient grapes leaving a soft mellow feel on the tongue, as I awaited the beginning of the three course meal. Alongside my wines, I was offered a grilled toast with plump olives bursting through the salty crust, topped with herbed butter. The spokes person for the wines shared his cute corkscrew pin adorning his jacket as he explained how wines should complement a dish in the same way music supplies a dancer his rhythm.

First round of wine tasting, bottoms up!

My new friend of the night’s corkscrew pin was amazing.

Salty crisp olive toast with herb butter to whet the appetite.

The bartender and a Lou Bird regular discussed a special looking orange behind the bar and asked me if I wanted to taste this special fruit the costumer swore by for his cocktail. This was an orange grapefruit hybrid. Shane kindly pressed me fresh juice from this fruit and I immediately felt special and cared for as I enjoyed this surprise treat.

Shane the bartender with a friendly smile.

Juice from a customer’s favorite cocktail.

The first course started with a salad niscoise complete with soft tuna, crunchy haricot verts, softened potatoes, bright green lettuce, and grape tomatoes with a special smashed kalamata olive spread smeared under the vegetables alongside the vinaigrette. Also presented was a seared foie gras with quince puree, which looked like a colorful palette of paints ready for the artist. In this case, the chef!
Secondly, I was served a melt in your mouth scallop in its own shell with butter, gruyere cheese with just a perfect complementary hint of bitter tarragon foam while sipping a Roux Chardonnay and a Chateau Bonnet Bordeaux Rose. This course also included an oxtail French onion soup with a bone marrow crostini alongside it.

Scallop appetizer.

Oxtail French onion soup.

Cheers to the second round of tastings.

The main course was a choice between the fish, duck, or steak entrees. I chose the Skate dish which included very large portions of tender fish dressed in a perfect amount of tartness from lemon and capers, atop a bed of spinach and a generous smashed potato. The tang in this dish offered a nice strong flavor alongside a winter take on a fresh delicate fish. My wine pairing for this course was a Picpoul de Pinet H.B. My neighbor at the bar ordered the steak and was so kind to allow me a photo to share.

Fish dinner of a Skate entree.

Steak entree looked just as delicious.

Very full, but wanting to lick my plates clean, I was desperately trying to save room for dessert as it was promised to be French pastries. During this time, I felt so relaxed in this space I began talking to my friend and her date, the bartender, the owner, and a regular who just moved here from Los Angeles. This varied grouping of people offered just the right element to the relaxed yet elegant interior of Lou Bird’s. I wandered off to the restroom to walk off some of my dinner and take a peak of the larger back dining room. The red glow continued the feeling of relaxation and enjoyment throughout the establishment.

Cheers to friends new and old at Lou Bird’s!

Other patrons enjoying their French dinner and wine pairings.

The main dining area.

Upon returning to my seat, I was offered a surprise wine and eclairs and lemon beignets. They were just the right size to pop into my mouth while finishing my wine and then sipping Dolin Blanc to properly end the meal.

Surprise wine! Who doesn’t love surprises?

French pastries for dessert.

After dinner cocktail because why not?

Dolin was the key ingredient.

This was such a relaxing and tasty experience! I am thinking about bringing my friends out for appetizers and drinks very soon. The staff were friendly, made me feel like I have been there many times yet still special and the other patrons were from varied backgrounds and interests and were enough to keep me lingering before I grabbed my Uber home. The food was expertly prepared, creative yet traditional French fare. I cannot wait to head back to Lou Bird’s again sometime in the near future. Be sure to check out the regular menu offering seasonal cuisine.

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