So even while the Philadelphia Inquirer is touting the "return of the French bistro" as a major 2008 food trend, one of the bistro trend setters in town has closed its doors. Georges Perrier's Brasserie Perrier shut down with little to no warning on New Year's Eve.
This saddens me a bit, and not because I was particularly enamoured by the food or the clientele. It leaves me wistful if only because BP was the location of one my most memorable dates, when my then-boyfriend surprised me on Valentine's Day with a prix-fixe lunch.
We were supposed to go to Penang in Chinatown, "our restaurant." If I had been paying more attention, maybe I would have noticed that something was up. While donning my Doc Marten boots and skirt combo (tres chic for a sophomore at Swarthmore College), the boyfriend insisted that I wear different shoes. Stubborn 19 year old me ignored him at first, but he was so intense about it, I relented, changing into a pair of ballet flats. Then he wanted to run some secret errand in Center City, meaning we got off the R3 at Suburban Station rather than Market East.
While walking down Walnut Street towards some unknown errand destination, he ushered me through a revolving door and into BP. I was totally confused (and honestly, a little disappointed. I really loved Penang!). But then we sat down for a romantic three course meal with wine. I don't remember every dish we had, but I still recall the lightly fried parsley that garnished my soup. I loved the crunchy, earthy, salty taste paired with the fragility of the delicate herb.
Since then, I've gone to BP for a few happy hours, never entirely satisfied with the experience but always slightly titillated about returning to the scene of my Valentine's Day surprise. It wasn't just a restaurant to me, but a monument to a particular moment in my life, when my first love surprised me with a meal he knew would make me happy. The relationship ended three years later but, at least until two days ago, BP was still around and made for a nice reminder of something that once was. So I'm sorry to see you go, Brasserie Perrier. Thanks for the memory.