Le Cheri is fancy. Tucked into the back of the stately Wetherhill mansion slap in the middle of Rittenhouse square, Le Cheri shares the space with the top–notch galleries of the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The dining room is a piece of artwork itself, with a gilded chandelier and nature–themed frescoes circling the top walls. Though the dining room is somewhat small, the full bar and the patio seating keeps the restaurant from feeling claustrophobic.
Le Cheri recently started serving lunch, but you wouldn't know it from the crowd. The place was essentially deserted, except for another diner, who seemed to be a wine buyer. While getting a dinner reservation can be tricky, daytime is easy and slightly less expensive. That being said, everything on the menu is a bit overpriced. Dessert (the $9 creme brulee is an absolute must) and drinks are the best way to go for the broke college crowd trying to feel bougie.
As soon as I sat down, a host draped a napkin over my lap. This was the fanciest I have ever felt doing anything. The wait staff was very attentive...almost too attentive. Maybe it was because I was the only one there, but they kept coming over to ask me if I wanted an iced tea or was done eating.
The appetizers run from about $8 to15, and the waiter highly recommended the $11 petite french onion soup. While it was a lot of money for a soup and certainly for a petite one, he assured me it was a specialty. The soup wasn’t bad, but the cheese was a comte— a very sweet comte. While the top was perfectly fired, the sweetness of the cheese mixed with an under salted soup made for a bit of an odd flavor balance. There was no salt or pepper on the table, so I resorted to dipping the free bread (which was fabulous, by the way) into the soup to cut the sweetness.
For the main course, I got the ravioli. It’s the cheapest entree at $19—and worth every penny. The ravioli had some French inspiration, but the filling of sweet potatoes and mushrooms had the unmistakable heartiness and grace of an Italian dish.
Much to my delight, the check came with a homemade marshmallow. Soft and pillowy with a hint of rosewater, it was the best goddamn marshmallow I have ever tasted.