Crow and the Pitcher found their name inspiration from Aesop Fable of “intelligence and ingenuity over strength.” On April 20, 2014, this South of France inspired restaurant opened their doors to the Rittenhouse neighborhood.
Owner Michael Franco has a great history in Philadelphia. His grandfather owned a bar, Johnny “Barrels” in South Philly from the 1960’s to 1984. His aunt and uncle still have a restaurant in South Philly, where Franco got his start at 15 washing pots and cleaning mussels. Franco worked at the prestigious Le Bec Fin for 6 years, where he worked as Fromagier, Assistant Sommelier, Special Events Coordinator and General manager for 2 years. Franco then ventured to Per Se NY , before ultimately opening Crow & the Pitcher in 2014.
We enjoyed a delightful date night at Crow and the Pitcher. They offer outside seating and open up two large windows in the front of the restaurant to fill the space with fresh air. The atmosphere is very cozy and intimate. They also have live local musicians play every week from 6:30-9:30 pm on Sundays.
We started off our evening with cocktails, sipping on a “Crow & the Tonic” with gin, demerara, lime juice, cinchona bark and “The Juice Diet” with Reposado Tequila, Honey-Ginger Syrup, Kale and Lime Juices. The Juice Diet impressed us both with its elegant glass and unique savory sweet taste. A Crow & Tonic may be best if you want to play it safe with a more traditional cocktail. Both these drinks have been staples on the menu since Crow opened.
If you love cheese then you must come here. They have a delightful cheese monger named David here who will tell you the colorful history behind all the cheeses in the cart. The cheese cart is actually from the old Le Bec Fin restaurant and displays 8-12 different cheeses. [Fun fact: Arielle went on a date here in 2014, pretty soon after they opened, and this is where she had her very first cheese plate. She enjoyed it so much (in both experience and taste), she has been enjoying cheese plates across the city ever since.]
Crow sources their cheeses from Di Bruno Bros and Murray’s in NY. They offer a large selection to choose from and they have cheeses that you can’t find anywhere in the world. One of Michael’s favorites for Spring is “Project X”, a raw cows milk tomme that they wash with New York State Gewurtztraminer and fennel pollen.
Our personal favorites of the selection were the:
- Cambozola Black Label– A super creamy light blue cheese that ranks among our cheese monger’s all time favorites, as well as Ossau Iraty, a very old recipe for a sheeps milk cheese that was written about by the roman historian Pliny the Elder, and is said to have first been crafted by the son of Apollo himself.
- Brebirousse D’Argental – From Lyon, France (Chef Perrier’s birthplace!) of pure pasteurized sheep’s milk. Looks like a washed rind but tastes like a buttery brie…savory, creamy, nutty and complex
Chef Gregory Headen has created a beautiful menu to highlight the best of the Spring season. We started with the Summer Squash Tart with Zucchini, Squash, Eggplant, Roma Tomato, Custard Puff Pastry, Herb De Provence Morney Sauce, and Basil. The tart was colorful beautiful with all the assorted vegetables and had a great balance of flavor with the creaminess of the sauce.
For the main course we tried the Striped Bass Pan Seared, Warm Potato Salad, Red Watercress with Sauce Persillade and Smoked Pennsylvania Lamb Belly with Fresh Spring Bean Salad with Spiced Yogurt. I preferred the Striped Bass with its crispy skin because the Lamb Belly was a little difficult to cut off the bone although it had a great spice rubbed on the skin.
And for dessert how could you go without the Flourless Chocolate Cake? It’s dense and made with rich chocolate, topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries. This dessert is a classic for anyone who loves chocolate.
For those with specific diets, Crow offers vegan options such as Carrot Ginger Soup, Ratatouille, Radicchio Salad, and Plum Tomato Salad. Vegetarians can enjoy the Veggie Burger, White Bean Dip, Pommes Frites, and Cheese Cart. Happy hour features specials $4-$6 Tuesday-Friday 4:30-7:30pm.
If you get those late night munchies, stop by for Late Night Brunch Friday and Saturday 11:00pm-1am. A full brunch menu is also served Saturday and Sunday mornings highlighting such favorites as Funnel Cake French Toast, Croque Madame, Blueberry Pancakes, and Ratatouille with poached egg. Reservations are available on Opentable and delivery is available via Grubhub and Caviar.