Walking down 18th Street in Center City Philadelphia, you will find a lovely block between Walnut and Locust Streets across from Rittenhouse Square Park that is reminiscent of the side-walk bistros in Europe. Recently when my mother was in town, on a sunny April day as the pink and white cherry blossoms were in full bloom, we ended up at this very spot noticing the park side restaurants’ outdoor seating filled with diners enjoying afternoon refreshments. With one look at the New American Bistro, Rouge, we were sold. The doors across the front of the restaurant were all wide opened, so you could sit inside and still feel like you were outside. After our intense shopping spree, we were in need of a delicious snack and cool beverage.
Parched and hungry, we studied the menu and quickly decided on sharing “The Rouge Burger-on a Challah roll with caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese and and Pommes Frites”, that is until we saw an elaborate cheese plate on the watiress’ tray heading to the diners behind us. We immediately said-we must have that cheese plate! Our drink order of two glasses of a crisp, dry white wine came quickly. We chatted and enjoyed our refreshing vino in the warm sunshine overlooking the gorgeous park. The cheese plate arrived and was truly a work of art. On a large, round marble cheese board perfectly portioned samples of Bleu, Gorgonzola, Brie, and Goat cheese, fig preserves and quince spread, and a stack of fresh baked fruit and nut bread surrounded a heaping mound of berries, grapes and green apple sitting on a bed of spiced cashews.
We savored each and every bite of this artful cheese masterpiece. I can’t wait to get back to Rouge to further explore their menu. If you are in Center City Philadelphia, then I highly recommend an outdoor snack break at Rouge. Order the cheese plate and wine and you just may feel as though you have been transported to France. For a taste of Paris this spring, visit Rouge on Rittenhouse Square.
205 South 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130