ELV note: We only ate at Le Bec-Fin once, almost fifteen year ago now. In spite of what many would call a formal and dated restaurant, we found its cuisine outstanding and the whole experience transporting. True, its decor (somewhere between the inside of a Fabergé egg and the boudoir of Louis XIV) represented something of a time warp, but the food was classic and impeccable, and the service nonpareil. Au revoir to Georges Perrier — one of the titans of American gastronomy — a Frenchmen who took America (along with compatriots Andre Soltner and Jean Banchet) by the hand in the 1970s and showed it what great cuisine could be. The following testimonial was penned by our paisan John Mariani and can be read in its original form by clicking here. (BTW: ELV sat at the table at the bottom right of the page with his last ex-wife. Just thought you’d like to know.)
AU REVOIR TO LE BEC-FIN….FOR NOW
By John Mariani
The announcement that Philadelphia’s venerable Le Bec Fin, one of the true temples of haute cuisine in the United States, was closing after 42 years under the obsessive leadership of chef-owner Georges Perrier, 68, was greeted with the usual gasps that always accompany the shuttering of an institution. Some came from longtime regulars, some from food media–many that hadn’t mentioned Le Bec Fin in years–and some from people who had never even dined there.
The NY Times wrote a lengthy obituary of the restaurant, covering last Saturday’s closing night, quoting the always quotable Perrier as saying he had “absolutely no regrets” handing over the reins to Nicholas Fanucci, who had worked at Le Bec Fin before becoming general manager at the French Laundry in Napa Valley. (Fanucci plans to cut Le Bec Fin and re-open later this year.)“He will be the onewho will bring back the glory of Le Bec-Fin,” said Perrier, adding “I have given everything that I have.”