Mar 2007

Petite Passion – Philadelphia

March 8, 2007
Cuisine: American (New)

2300 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone: 215-405-6766

Dinner roll, almond bread, cheese and garlic flatbread (complimentary)

Appetizer I: Steak Martini – Citrus Vodka Dressing, Micro Greens, Bacon, Crostini

Appetizer II: Lobster Flan – Caviar, Citrus Crème Frâiche, Saffron Tuille

Soup I: Pasta and Bean Soup – Drizzle Olive Oil, Reggiano Parm Crisp, Fried Basil

Soup II: Pacific Seafood Chowder – Wakame Pesto, Sesame Cracker

Entree I: Macaroni – Port Wine Demi-Glace, Swedish Meatballs, Shaved Asiago

Entree II: Olive Oil Poached Halibut – Oven Dried Artichokes, Roasted Eggplant, Red Wine Reduction

Dessert I: Sacher Tart – Strawberry Coulis and Mango Puree

Dessert II: Pana Cotta – Mint and Caramel Sauce with Pistachio Brittle

Petite Passion is operated by students studying Culinary Arts at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. According to their website, “students spend eleven weeks in Petite Passion either preparing your meal or in the dining room as your server.” The restaurant is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays for lunch (11:30 AM, noon) and dinner (7 PM). The Astronomer and I met up for a rare weekday lunch when he happened to be in the city for a doctor’s appointment.

Petite Passion offers a prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. The four-course lunch is priced at $15. The dining room was fairly packed when we arrived and the crowd was diverse.

We began our meal with complimentary breads–I chose the flatbread, while The Astronomer had a dinner roll and almond bread. The flatbread was cheesy, but was cold and stale. I suspect the bread was made last night for dinner service. The Astronomer thought the dinner roll was decent, but the almond bread relied to heavily on almond extract for flavor and lacked real almonds.

For our appetizer I went for the Steak Martini, while The Astronomer chose the lobster flan. The steak martini was pretty darn tasty–the steak was moist, the greens were lightly dressed in a citrus vodka vinaigrette, the bacon added great flavor, and the presentation was precious. Aside from presentation, it wasn’t the most innovative dish, but I was quite pleased with the Steak Martini overall. I was hesitant to try the Lobster Flan because it sounded a little too ambitious for culinary students to execute well. The flan was served cold and tasted more creamy than lobstery. The Astronomer enjoyed the flan much more than I did, but found the Citrus Crème Frâiche unnecessary because the flan was already rich.

For our soup course I chose the Pacific Seafood Chowder and The Astronomer ordered the Pasta and Bean Soup. The chowder’s broth was delicious, but the “seafood” was lacking–one shrimp and a hunk of fish. The sesame cracker was really tough and definitely stale. The Pasta and Bean Soup was too salty for the Astronomer, but I thought it was excellent. We switched bowls mid-course because I liked his soup more than mine and vice versa.

For our main course The Astronomer went for the Macaroni and I had the halibut. The Macaroni was great. The pasta appeared to be made in-house, the meatballs were yummy, and the Port Wine Demi-Glace was an unexpected, but pleasant sauce. The Astronomer and I debated whether the pasta was al dente or actually undercooked–we decided that it could have used a few more minutes in boiling water. My halibut was very disappointing. The fish was boring and tasteless and the vegetables were unspectacular. I had a couple bites and gave the rest to The Astronomer to eat with his Port Wine Demi-Glace.

For our final course we shared a slice of Sacher Tart and some pana cotta. The tart was a dense chocolate cake coated in 1/2 an inch of fudge and topped with raspberries. I enjoyed the fudge immensely and The Astronomer loves chocolate paired with fruits. The panna cotta was really interesting flavor-wise. The combination of mint and caramel is unorthodox and really good! My only complaint were the copious mint leaves within the panna cotta. I prefer my panna cotta smooth, not chunky. The Astronomer choked on a mint leaf.

The food at Petite Passion is hit or miss, but the ambiance and enthusiasm is contagious. Culinary students are an endearing bunch. I hope that didn’t come off too condescending.

Petite Passion on Urbanspoon

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2 thoughts on “Petite Passion – Philadelphia

  1. I found this awesome culinary contest for culinary students that I think readers would be interested in.

    The Office of Champagne, USA is hosting a culinary contest for Culinary Students, the winning prize is a trip to FRANCE! Here is some of the info…

    3rd Annual Champagne Pairing Culinary Contest

    Office of Champagne, USA cordially invites culinary students from around the country to participate in its 3rd Annual Champagne Pairing Culinary Contest. Champagne, long recognized as the world-wide drink of celebrations, has a place at meals too. Champagne is a versatile wine that can complement a wide range of cuisines. From succulent shellfish to delectable desserts, Champagne is ready to take its place in American culture as a complement to a variety of dishes.

    Culinary students interested in entering the contest are asked to submit an original recipe in one of three categories – appetizer, main course or dessert – paired with their favorite style of Champagne. Each recipe will be judged on taste, creativity/originality, ease of preparation and Champagne pairing.

    Three finalist’s recipes in each category will be prepared by a renowned Washington, D.C. chef and judged by a panel of independent experts who will determine the winner in each category.

    The creators of the three winning recipes will receive a trip to the Champagne region of France, including airfare and accommodations. While in the Champagne region, winners will take part in a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience. They will learn firsthand about the terroir, history and strict winemaking regulations of the birthplace of true Champagne.

    To view the application and contest rules, please visit our website at

    Entries should list ingredients, instructions, as well as the recommended Champagne pairing. A written explanation as to why the Champagne style pairs well with the recipe must also be included.

    All entries must be received by Friday, June 29th, 2007. Finalists will be announced in July.

    Applications may be submitted electronically through the website or via email at [email protected].

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