Celebrated chef Nicholas Elmi (Restaurant Laurel, ITV) and his partners—local bar owners Stephen Simons, David Frank and company head Suzanne O’Brien (Cantina Los Caballitos, Dos Segundos, Royal Tavern, Royal Sushi Izakaya, Khyber Pass Pub, Triangle Tavern)—opened Royal Boucherie in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic Old City district on Thursday. Royal Boucherie is a lively American brasserie serving a French-inspired menu with a focus on charcuterie, shellfish, and classic cocktails.
Led by Elmi, the menu features the French-inspired American fare he’s long been lauded for, with snacks like Smoked Trout Croquette with Cornflakes and Calabrian mayo and Champagne-Braised Escargot with garlic, Chartreuse butter, and crisp baguette, as well as heartier plates like Breakaway Farms Steak Au Poivre with confit shallot, pomme de terre, and horseradish, and Chicken Fried Rabbit with grain mustard spätzle, chestnuts, and prune. Paying homage to the classic oyster bars of Old City, and as a nod to the butcher shop that was once housed in the same building, Royal Boucherie also features an extensive assortment of raw bar favorites like oysters, stone crabs, and cured diver scallops, as well as an impressive housemade charcuterie program with options like Foie Gras Terrine with mead gelée and pickled cherries, Foie du Porc with pear mustard, and Sweetbread Terrine with roasted apple.
Bar Manager Dominic Carullo is behind the cocktail program, with a selection of sips ranging from expertly-made classics like the Deshler with rye, quinquina, curaçao, and bitters, and a Gibson with gin, French vermouth and pickled onions; to signature libations like the Royal Punch with cognac, rums, curaçao, lemon, and spices. General Manager/Sommelier Nancy Benussi has curated a wine list featuring unique small-production bottles from all corners of the world, with a particular focus on natural wines. There is also a broad mix of American and European craft beers and ciders, with plenty of options from Philadelphia’s thriving local beer scene.
O’Brien and her team, along with Meg Rodgers and Brian Bendel of Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design, worked diligently to preserve and enhance the building’s historical charm and integrity. The bi-level, 150-seat space features restored finishes such as original pine flooring dating back to the 1830's, as well as tin ceilings, antique light fixtures, exposed brick walls. Royal Boucherie boasts a jovial and sophisticated atmosphere, outfitted throughout with dark woods and stone accents. On the first floor, two Brunswick-style bars anchor the space, one dedicated to the restaurant’s oyster and raw seafood offerings with eight seats. Intimate seating towards the back features a fireplace with an elegant carved chestnut mantel, where guests may opt for one of the comfortable tufted banquettes or bistro-style tables. An ornate wooden staircase leads guests to the upper level “Sitting Room,” which features additional seating for up to 40, as well as a third bar. An outdoor garden terrace can accommodate up to 35 in the warmer months.
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