Search Results

Below are your search results. You can also try a Basic Search.

Lacroix at the head of the class in French cuisine

(02/26/03 10:00am)

There isn't an awful lot that can distract a person from the beautiful view from the second floor of The Rittenhouse Hotel. The cuisine at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse is one thing that can. In bringing his culinary genius to Rittenhouse Square, the renowned Jean-Marie Lacroix seeks to offer his patrons the finest in traditional French cuisine with maximum flexibility -- the tasting menu is available in three sizes, three ($55), four ($65) and five ($75) courses, with an optional cheese selection ($6) and dessert included. Choice is the operative word at Lacroix. And the choices are superb. Compliments of the chef, an uni soup appetizer with smoked eel and fish fum‚ was an elegant beginning. The creamy, almost meringue-like sea urchin broth was breathtakingly delicious in its simplicity. Lacroix 210 W. Rittenhouse Square (215) 790-2533 Fare: French Among the "first plates," the velout‚ of green lentils stands out -- a sublime, thick puree accompanied by perfectly matched veal sweetbread and foie gras. Similarly, the Hudson Valley duck foie gras was magnificent, an extremely flavorful terrine accentuated by a succulent cabernet and port wine reduction. The generous Scottish pheasant plate was excellent, but the natural glac‚ and sauteed Fuji apples, sweet and understated, made the dish. The artichoke rilletes p‚rigourdine, accented with shaved black truffles, were a pleasant light interlude in an otherwise overwhelmingly rich meal. Almost unspeakably delicious, the seared sushi grade tuna with a sweet carrot puree was a highlight among a meal of incredible dishes. Served rare, the tender cube of tuna is a transcendent delight in a lobster emulsion. Almost equally fantastic is the lapin and homard duet. A sweet, buttery cut of rabbit is wrapped around Maine lobster, a perfect combination. Lacroix's other lobster offering, the cold water Maine lobster, prepared perfectly "monte au beurr‚" with amaranth and stewed prunes, was mouthwatering and tender. The sauce foyot only made it more so. Lovers of red meat need not fear: Lacroix offers several expertly prepared cuts. The whole roasted lamb loin "porterhouse," accompanied by a barley risotto, and the saut‚ed beef tenderloin, topped with garlic escargot and served in a sherry wine vinegar sauce, were both superb and juicily tender. Prepared medium or rare, each is as delicate and flavorful as anything on the menu. As one might expect from a restaurant employing a "maitre fromager," Lacroix's cheese selection was astounding, and, at $6, a bargain. Outstanding choices include a roquefort-infused goat cheese and the English farmhouse cheddar. Of course, no fine French meal is complete without a "sweet plate" finale. The chocolate souffl‚ with Spanish almond ice cream was, unsurpisingly, delectable, as was the tropical crŠme brul‚e, served with an ethereal "fruit foam." Both served as fitting conclusions to a monumental meal. With no disrespect meant to the chef, Lacroix boasts a treasure equal to the food: sommelier Eric Simonis. The restaurant's resident wine expert, Simonis' selections to accompany each dish is nothing short of brilliant. With the Maine lobster, Simonis served a spicy, fruity New Zealand sauvignon blanc. The strong scent of passion fruit and mango, and the complementary flavors, made this an eye-opening pairing. The riesling he picked for the velout‚ was magical. Sweet whites accompanying the foie gras and another with crŠme brul‚e were fantastic. Always eager to assist patrons, Simonis is a resource ignored only by the foolish diner at Lacroix. The wise patron will put himself in his hands and be amply rewarded. Enjoyed in a beautifully appointed, serene dining room, waited upon by the extremely attentive and helpful staff, Lacroix is much more than amazing food. It is one of Philadelphia's premier dining experiences. And for those looking to make a night of it, the answer is right down the hallway from Lacroix. The Boathouse Row Bar, the Rittenhouse's small but elegant drinking establishment, offers an extensive selection of libations in a regal setting.

Onyekwe dominates in box score and beyond

(02/12/03 10:00am)

Just 21 seconds into the first half of last night's matchup of rivals, Penn forward Ugonna Onyekwe made his presence felt. Scoring the first points of the game, the senior took a feed from teammate Andrew Toole, turned and dunked the ball over Princeton's defense. The tone was set. It is very tempting to call last night a breakthrough game, but it was not. For the first time this season, Onyekwe showed up to play -- to dominate. Penn fans have known, for a long time, that Onyekwe has the potential to do what he did. It's just that he had never put every element of his game together in one single night. Maybe it was that first play, maybe it was the fans going wild in the stands, maybe it was the defeated looks on the Tigers' faces. Whatever it was, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year took the spotlight and ran -- and never looked back. Onyekwe finished the night with daunting statistics -- 22 points, 12 rebounds, one block and one steal. Not bad, but those numbers don't tell it all. "He's a terrific player," Princeton coach John Thompson III said after the game. "He definitely hurt us." Onyekwe dominated the game in a way that transcended the box score and demoralized the Tigers. It's one thing to knock down routine jumpers; it's another to dunk emphatically enough to elevate the Palestra's emotion to a fevered pitch. Onyekwe's antics deflated the Princeton bench and rallied his teammates. "I think he played awesome. He really looked like a man amongst boys out there," Toole said. "We rode him pretty much through the second half and he carried us to a victory. "We knew that we could get it to him and he was going to get us buckets." When the Princeton guards put pressure on the outside -- attempting to shut down Penn's 43.8-percent three-point shooting -- Onyekwe stepped up inside. When fellow forward Koko Archibong collected his third foul with 17:54 remaining and was effectively taken out of the remainder of the game, Onyekwe stepped up without hesitation. He controlled the inside by himself so well that Penn coach Fran Dunphy switched to a four-guard lineup. No need for another big man last night with Onyekwe in the game. "He just said 'I want the ball,' and when he got it he did something real positive with it, each and every time," Dunphy said. Onyekwe was there on defense, too. For the majority of the game, he shut down UCLA-transfer Spencer Gloger, Princeton's leading scorer. Ugonna nearly logged five steals on the night, but the grabs were just out of his reach. "He's very athletic," Princeton forward Konrad Wysocki said. "He's constantly running around. It's hard to get around him." "I knew I'd be guarding Gloger," Onyekwe said. "I took it as a challenge. I wanted to be as effective as possible." What's more, Onyekwe showed emotion on the floor of the Palestra last night an aspect of his game that often seems lacking.

N.Y. trip teaches Penn it needs to focus on defense

(02/11/03 10:00am)

There are plenty of criticisms about the Penn men's basketball team this year. The inside game is struggling -- forwards Ugonna Onyekwe and Koko Archibong are hit and miss, it just depends on the night. The guards aren't exactly reliable -- how many more times can you stand hearing "Penn lives and dies by the three-point shot"? So to sum it up, there are faults that could be pointed out all day long. This weekend's venture in New York only further proved that the Red and Blue, if they want to win the Ivy League, need to focus on the offensive front and figure out what's going to work. "We've been a spurty team," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said yesterday at practice. "When we're good, we're very good and when we're not so good, we're not very good at all." But going back to this weekend, and even the rest of the season, there is one thing that was grossly overlooked -- Penn's hard work on the other end of the floor. Despite flounderings on offense, the Quakers raced back to make up for it on defense. If last season Penn lacked hustle and passion, this season they just seem to be lacking aim. But when it comes to defense, the Quakers have picked it up, significantly. And over the past few weeks, Penn's winning games on that end of the floor. It's not that the Quakers have held their opponents to particularly low-scoring games. Instead, Penn has forced its opponents to work for every single point that gets put up on the board. It's a game with less reward, at least in terms of points. However, it does pay off. Over the weekend, the Quakers squashed any hopes of a Columbia comeback with tough defense. In the second half, when the Lions tried to rally, the Red and Blue held off Columbia's offense. In the second half alone the Lions were forced to shoot in the final five seconds of the shot clock six times. Making a team work for a basket for a full 30-to-35 seconds has its effect. Columbia forward Chris Wiedemann looked tired only ten minutes into the first half. "There are so few possessions on a night like tonight that you really have to maximize each possession," Dunphy said after Saturday night's win over Columbia. When Dunphy spoke, he may not have realized the double meaning of his words. It's not just about making the most out of every offensive possession, it's also about making every defensive situation an opportunity. This defensive diligence will be helpful when the Quakers square off against the Princeton Tigers tonight. Princeton routinely plays a slow, passing offense, but one that takes advantage of open holes and back-door traps. If the Quakers can shut those down and force the Tigers to scramble, it could lead to a tired Princeton offense. Although it will be imperative for Penn's shooting guards to increase their offensive output as well as their defensive effort, forcing Princeton to fight for every point will only benefit the Red and Blue.

Onyekwe shines from the pine

(01/22/03 10:00am)

EASTON, Pa. -- Last night, at Lafayette's Kirby Sports Center, it was, at times, hard to distinguish which team had the home court advantage. When Penn (7-4) took the court to square off against the Patriot League's Lafayette (7-9), there seemed to be just as many, if not more, Penn fans in the building. And for the entire night, as the Quakers stormed to a dominating 76-66 victory, it seemed to be the fans in Red and Blue who made the noise. Lafayette, stunned by the quick advantage that the Red and Blue demonstrated in the first half of play, was never able to bounce back. The Quakers pulled away with a solid lead only seven minutes into the game and then increased their lead heading into the locker room. The end of the first half proved to be Penn's best streak on the night, scoring 16 points in less than four minutes. After a tumultuous winter break, the Quakers appear to have finally regained their confidence and skill. Penn shot 51.8 percent from the field on the night and exactly 50 percent (10-for-20) from behind the arc. Although the stats are encouraging, it also further proves the Quakers' over-reliance on the three-point shot. Unfortunately, the three-point shot has been an inconsistent element in the Quakers' games before their current four-game winning streak. Tonight "we shot and played well," Penn guard Andrew Toole said. "But we relied on it too much. We need to maintain our defense and rebounds."

Colorado beats Penn

(01/04/03 10:00am)

Boulder, Colo. -- When Penn forwards Adam Chubb and Ugonna Onyekwe envisioned a matchup against the Colorado Buffalos and a duo of teammates from their former high school -- Mercersburg Academy -- they were surely hoping to mount at least a decent opposition. But Penn's performance at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo., was anything but decent. Colorado (9-3) jumped out to an early 13-2 lead, a margin that they would only increase as the night progressed. With the help of stellar three-point shooting, the Buffs were able to take Penn (3-4) out of its game before the Quakers had a chance to compose themselves. The Buffs refused to back down throughout the contest, ultimately defeating the Quakers, 80-57. Colorado senior Sephane Pelle, one of Onyekwe and Chubb's teammates from high school, notched his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. He trailed Buffs' leading scorer, junior Michel Morandais, by only three points. "It's always a battle when we [Mercersburg graduates] play, but this is the first time it counted in my house, and I wanted to do what I do best," Pelle said. "I was in shock, we played good defense." "They made shots early," Penn head coach Fran Dunphy said. "We knew that Wilson was a good shooter. It was just Stephane Pelle, Blair Wilson and Michel Morandais kicking our butt. Pelle is a very good basketball player." The Red and Blue, shooting only 17-for-52 from the field for the game, were completely unable to threaten basket inside or out. Penn forward Koke Archibong tallied three fouls within the first ten minutes of play, and sat out the remainder of the first half. "Koko's second foul was very, very foolish," Dunphy said. "He's got to learn to play with those obstacles in the way. But we're at the mid-way point of his senior. It's disappointing." Meanwhile, the Quakers' three-point shooters couldn't get a basket to fall. Penn guards Andrew Toole, Tim Begley and Jeff Schiffner all hit a basket a piece from behind the arc, but combined to miss a total of nine. Penn's usual threat -- the three-point shot -- was useless. Colorado junior shooting guard Blair Wilson lead the Buffs in scoring at the break with 12 points -- all of which came from behind the arc. The sharpshooter sank four of five attempts from three-point land, and helped to squash any hopes of a Penn comeback. "Our game plan was to get out on Wilson, because that's his game," Dunphy said. "But he made four threes in the first half." Penn, who lives and dies by its three-point shooting, was given a taste of its own medicine when Wilson refused to back down from behind the arc. The Quakers themselves went 8-for-26 from three-point land, shooting a dismal 30.8 percent. "We knew that [three-point shooting] was their strength," Wilson said. "We told the posts that they would be on their own on defense and we focused on their shooters outside. "We had enough pressure to make them miss shots." With only two points on the board, the Quakers were finally able to break their six-minute drought mid-way through the first half. But by that time, it was already too little too late. The Quakers continued to rally, knocking in points on nearly every possession, but entered the locker room at halftime behind, 46-28. The Buffalos proved unstoppable on offense, managing to knock in a last-second buzzer-beater shot before the break. The second half was, unfortunately for the Quakers, much more of the same. Colorado continued to dominate, although Penn showed periodic signs of life. Archibong reentered the game and added ten points for the Red and Blue. But he was alone in his energy and ability to break through the Buffalos. Penn committed 14 turnovers on the night, half of which came in the second half and at seemingly crucial moments. Whenever the Quakers appeared to gain any momentum, it was squashed by a frivolous travelling call, or pass into the stands. With 9:44 left in the second half, Penn pulled within 11. But the crowd rose to its feet and Colorado pulled the game back within its control. That was the closest the Quakers would come to victory. For Penn, the final minutes of play were sloppy and disorganized, allowing the Buffs to walk away with a 23-point win. "That team is much better, Penn, than they showed tonight," Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton said. "But we were shooting the ball well and getting after it defensively." The Quakers face the University of Southern California on Saturday in Los Angeles.