Lou Bird’s, at 20th and Lombard in Rittenhouse, is the type of restaurant you can’t say no to. There’s something for every tastebud with a variety of options, fresh and seasonal ingredients, and some very creative cocktails. The restaurant, named after the daughter of owners Norris and Debbie Jordan, opened in 2016 and recently brought on new head chef, Eli Fields. Chef Eli, former executive sous chef of Bistrot La Minette, has joined forces with the Jordans to create a brand new menu filled with monthly specials and a touch of his background in French cuisine.
Read my Q&A with Chef Eli below to find out more about the winter menu and some must-try dishes. If you’re already a fan of Lou Bird’s, don’t worry- plenty of your favorites, like the signature Lou Burger, are still available! If you’re new to the spot or haven’t been in a while, you absolutely should. I visited Lou Bird’s last week to experience the food myself. Between happy hour specials, upcoming Center City restaurant week, and overall just a great vibe, this restaurant should be at the top of your “must list”.
Q: Were you familiar with the Jordans and Lou Bird’s before joining the restaurant? What made you decide to take on the role as their new head chef?
A: I have known Norris and Debbie for a number of years prior to working at Lou Bird’s. I was very excited to take on the Head Chef position at so I could add my influence to the staple dishes, while adding a few new ones I feel as though our patrons will really like. I also grew up down the street on 23rd and Lombard so It is amazing for me to be providing great food to the area I am from.
Q: You have a background in French cuisine- what are some of your favorite French dishes and will we be seeing any of them on the Lou Bird’s menu this year?
A: Some of my most favorite French dishes are boeuf bourguignon, confit duck, cassoulet, steak frites consommé and French onion soup. I also love a good salmon or traditional eggs Benedict and, even though it’s not traditional French, it does utilize one of the French mother sauces, hollandaise. I would like to do more traditional French dishes and potentially this spring there will be the addition of a Niçoise salad, poulet provençal, chilled consume, steak tartar or a fisherman’s stew.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the must-try seasonal menu items and cocktails?
A: During the cold winter months, I feel as though heartier and warming dishes are best. I definitely recommend the French onion soup and ricotta meatballs to start. For entrees the chicken pot pie, lobster mac and cheese, and pasta bolognese are all fantastic dishes. Our wings are perfect to share or for any sporting event.
Q: What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
A: I like to work with a variety of fresh and seasonal ingredients, but if I had to pick, I do love working with all types of seafood, particularly fresh fish and shellfish. Staple ingredients I find myself utilizing all the time would be confit garlic, fresh thyme and lemons.
Q: For anyone looking to dine in the Rittenhouse neighborhood, what would you say makes Lou Bird’s a stand-out choice?
A: Our warm atmosphere, friendly staff and, of course, the food. Many customers have said that the food here reminds them of a great home cooked meal and that was my goal with the new menu. I want to provide heartwarming dishes during these cold months and really have this be a staple neighborhood choice to dine.
Chef Eli is right, the food feels comforting and homemade. Though we originally didn’t order the chicken pot pie, pictured above, owner Norris Jordan convinced us that we couldn’t leave without trying it. Flaky pastry topped and filled with veggies and chicken, it was the perfect dish to finish our meal and send us off for the night.
The small plates and shareables are great for a quick drink and bite, but the large platter selections make Lou Bird’s a wonderful choice for a date night or celebratory event. Chicken empanadas and fried brussels sprouts were in consideration, but honestly most of the small plates were. I narrowed down my entree choice to the pasta bolognese or the salmon. The pasta won out and I’m so glad I had leftovers for the next day! The lobster mac and cheese was also ordered. It was creamy and incredible. There are a lot of lighter options if you don’t want to go full on pasta and cheese like we did- the Clara bowl with quinoa and tofu would pair well with one of the menu’s cocktails.
Lou Bird’s is a place I’ll be returning to soon (especially because I need to try the ricotta meatballs). As someone who attends a lot of shows in the city, this is an ideal spot to meet someone for dinner or drinks and then stroll back to Broad Street- about a 15 minute walk- to catch a performance at the Kimmel Cultural Campus or surrounding theatres. It’s an inviting spot that has a corner bar feel, but also family friendly in atmosphere and the menu.
To make a reservation for restaurant week or check out the entire menu, click here.