Monday, October 10, 2011


100.5 S 21st St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 496-9494

Open for a while now, Rotisseur is in that section of town that is only really accessible (and interesting) during the work week.

I found some time in my busy schedule to pay a visit during lunch on a Friday. The interior is small, clean and inviting, with an open kitchen/food bar set up and an over-sized rotisserie oven right there, for all to see.

The menu is limited, which is usually a good sign of care and attention put into each dish, and on this fairly hot fall day, I was in the mood for the cool ingredients of their "chicken bánh mì."

I waited patiently for my turn to order while watching the cook cut the fresh-out-of-the-rotisserie, steaming-hot, half-bird order for the woman in front of me, and thought to myself, "this is going to be amazing, look at that juicy bird!" Much to my surprise, when I told him my decision, he said, "oh, she has one already made up at the register."

Really? So, I don't get the fresh stuff? I kept my thought to myself and ordered a side of the beet and feta salad to complement the light sandwich, that I had yet to see. I mean, I saw EVERYTHING ELSE being prepared, but not the "bánh mì" – I obviously ordered the wrong menu item...

There it was, a nondescript brown box handed over with the freshly assembled beet salad – which was the day's special side. Now that was delicious. With fresh parsley, a hint of dill and a light vinaigrette, it was simply bursting with flavor.

What can be said of the sandwich? Not much. It wasn't even a "bánh mì," and bordered on becoming a po-boy meets pulled-pork-sandwich thing. No jalapeno, no cilantro, no pickled carrots, no radish, nothing that would even come close to making it match that Vietnamese street-food wonder. Not knowing how far in advance they prepared the sandwich was a serious let down; it could have been called anything, and made fresh, it would have had real opportunity to shine.

The chicken was tender and they served it with the dark, caramelized skin-on and that was really the only saving grace. The red cabbage was limp and the cucumbers were close to the same. With minimal mayo for lubrication, overall, I give the sandwich a big "MEH."

If ever I'm in the neighborhood again, with ravenous hunger for fresh rotisserie chicken, I'll try the whole.

-Posted by gabulous

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