Emmanuelle is a new spot in the Piazza in NoLibs, but bonus: it’s in the BACK (away from the noise and bustle of the front section of the Piazza). It is a really cool little place, and we kind of hope it doesn’t get discovered because the quiet atmosphere and friendly staff make this place one of our current favorites.
THEY HAVE A PHO FLAVORED COCKTAIL RIGHT NOW! ’nuff said.
But seriously: Emmanuelle’s menu is intriguing, fun, and challenging in the best way. Split into “The Entire Civilized History of the World” (classic cocktails) and “New Shit that has Come to Light” (original cocktails), the menu has a wide variety of drinks with a flavor profile for every palette. At this point, I have sampled most of what I find interesting on the menu and I can safely say that I don’t see myself becoming disinterested with these flavors. The complexity is really attractive to me – as a lover of flavorful, well-made foods, the obvious next step in my culinary advances is to become more adventurous in the drinks department.
Which brings me back to the Phở cocktail – you’ve probably read our posts showing my love of Asian noodles (here, and here), but I just wasn’t convinced about a cocktail with that flavor profile (not because I was unconvinced that it would be well-crafted, but because I genuinely don’t like “spicy” drinks most of the time). The bartender assured me that is was more “savory” than spicy (despite a float of Sriracha), and I am really glad I went for it. Do you love Phở? Well, prepare to spend a lot of money at Emmanuelle while this is on the menu because it’s INSANE-ly tasty. Seriously, go try it. Right now.
Josh will probably also want to give a shout-out, since their house rye is Rittenhouse. This place really was made for us.
They have a small sampling of bar snacks, which are just enough to help you fill your stomach with something other than alcohol. (But really, why would you want to?) We have tried their mixed nuts, which came in an adorable cut glass mason jar (catering to my love of cute, hipster-popularized vintage memorabilia) and were salty and herbaceous, a perfect complement to my cocktails.
I had a mentor in school who described his design style as “Modern Victorian.” While this place is a pretty over-the-top interpretation of that, there’s not really a better way to describe it. Emmanuelle is named for a French soft-core porn film (yeah, really) and the interior reflects that. It is a darkly-lit, jewel-toned, and eclectically-styled interior with fun custom art pieces, damask wallpaper, and mirrored ceiling soffits. It’s really much classier than my words are making it sound – I promise. Even Josh liked it, and it helped me to finally convince him the “eclectic” interiors really are a good idea, and that the Victorians knew where it was at (their over-stuffed rooms probably looked baller in lamp-light, while in our standard brightly-lit spaces they would feel overwhelming). My preferred mark of a well designed restaurant interior is that it matches the product, and Emmanuelle’s interior does that perfectly.
The Overall Experience
The bartender made a point to introduce herself at our first visit, a group of girls sitting next to us involved us in a conversation, and the barback got a bottle of gin down from the top shelf for our friend to look at because the bottle was recently redesigned. The people here are super great, and even though we are probably not “cool” enough for Emmanuelle, we never feel like we aren’t welcome.
Cocktails of this quality should cost more than what they do at Emmanuelle – only $10 – $12 per drink (on the menu). It still may not be an every-night-of-the-week place, but it’s definitely doable often.
Drinks: 5/5 — (Remember how we tried to give Franklin Mortgage a 6/5? We can petition to do that again, right?)
Overall Experience: 5/5
Will We Visit Again
We already have, and plan to do so again.