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The Next Bite: Rouge brings interesting, different, and très chic atmosphere and cuisine

Community Editor Pia Scotto dines at restaurants to review their food, layout, and service. This column reports back to you with the good and not so good places to eat around the local area, leaving you to try the next bite.

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If you happen to visit Philadelphia near Chestnut St., you’ll see many things. One is a beautiful park, which offers calm scenery and street performers. On the far side of the park, on 18th St., you’ll see a chic little French restaurant, Rouge.

Rouge shouts “city-life” and fits the Philadelphia atmosphere perfectly – fast-moving, small, and crowded.

There are tables outside, which are great for dining during nice weather, but if not, Rouge will accommodate you inside. On the inside, it feels very crowded. This perception is caused by three things: the number of people, policy against reservations, and the layout of the restaurant.

Rouge is pretty small in general, but the layout and use of space make it look even smaller, especially when heavily occupied. There is a circular bar, which takes up most of the room because it is dead center, making tables surround it and stand around the corners.

The layout restricts movement, causing you to bump into others, but is a bold choice. It’s different, and causes a bit of chaos and commotion. I see why many view that as a downside, but I enjoyed it because it gave off the fast-moving feel that is not typical to most restaurants.

As for the food itself, there are a few things that stuck with me for their bold tastes. One is the cheese platter. The preparation is lovely with three different cheese samples laid out on a wooden board with one scoop of sweet jam and one scoop of delicious caramel on the side. There are also nuts, grapes, and thin slices of apple scattered across the board.

The jam pairs nicely with the taste of the cheeses as well as the nuts. The caramel goes well with the grapes and apple slices.

The calamari is another great appetizer to try. On the side, there is an orange sauce that tickles your taste buds and is very light. There are also peppers thrown in with the calamari that gives the taste another kick.

When picking an entrée, you can’t go wrong when getting the reason for their fame: the Rouge Burger. It is the size of a pillow, so it will definitely fill you up, but delicious none the less. The only thing to look out for is the cooking of the burger.

I usually order burgers cooked medium but for the size of this burger, I would recommend going a step further, and ordering it medium well.

The downside of my dining experience was the long wait for food and getting my server’s attention because she was everywhere. Other than that, it was pretty tasty. We didn’t get any dessert because of the delicious ice cream shops around, but I definitely see myself going back to Rouge.

Pia Scotto is a Community Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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The Next Bite: Rouge brings interesting, different, and très chic atmosphere and cuisine