Archives: February 2013
By Christopher A. Pape
To be at the vanguard of dining in New York City is hard enough; to do so for over 40 years is incredible. For Le Périgord on the far east side of 52nd, it is commonplace; so good is their food that generations of customers have experienced a meal here.
Being a resident of 52nd street, I had to try it for myself, as I had heard so many exemplary adjectives thrown its way (restaurants wish to receive half of the praise Le Périgord has in its illustrious career). Owned by George Briguet, the restaurant is testament to the way French food was – haute cuisine in an elegant setting.
Recently renovated, Le Périgord is the premiere destination for French cuisine in New York. The service is polished. The host is ageless and gracious. In addition to tableside service of Dover sole, duck l’orange and rack of lamb, the traditional fare also includes such staples as individual beef Wellington, coquilles St. Jacques and kidneys in mustard sauce.
Of course a French restaurant wouldn’t be complete without foie gras, which at Le Périgord is exquisite. Another dish that is not on the menu, but if you ask ahead of the Le Périgord team will be glad to make – pike quenelles. One of my favorite treats, it is a dish that is without flaw at this stalwart.
A note about the service and atmosphere before continuing on about the food; each member of the restaurant’s team was thorough, friendly and knowledgeable. Throughout the service I never felt rushed to finish the meal, nor did I feel neglected; it was the perfect amount of attention a diner could ask for.
Don’t forget to leave room for the fabulous soufflés and the legendary “temptation trolley” of desserts which always includes such timeless favorites as tarte Tatin, chocolate mousse and floating islands. The extensive, award-wining wine list includes a fine selection of both old and recent vintages, all at sensible prices.
If you’re looking for classic haute French cuisine, at quite reasonable prices, then look no further than Le Périgord. George and his team will be happy to serve you and the food will speak for itself. Go – you won’t be disappointed! •
405 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. That’s certainly the case with me. If you are looking to woo and seduce someone, you cannot go wrong with any of these restaurants. They offer impeccable service, delectable food, and unforgettable experiences.
Le Perigord: 405 East 52nd Street – Sutton Place – If you are in the mood for classic New York, Le Perigord is your choice. Their 3-course prix-fixe menu ($65/pp) includes dishes such as lobster bisque, warm foie gras with seasonal fruit, filet of sea bass with creamy country mustard sauce, Dover sole with lemon butter meuniere sauce or grilled with mustard, and a roasted rack of lamb with fresh thyme crust.
NY Lunchbox: Le Perigord
If the guéridons don’t give away how seriously Le Périgord takes its traditional elegance, maybe the tuxedoed and white-jacketed wait staff does.
The stately restaurant— which opened in 1964 and remains a longtime favorite of United Nations diplomats—has a $32 prix fixe lunch that seems ideal for a visiting, elderly relative or a business summit.
The menu, written in proper French, has English translations for those less worldly. A tarte aux legumes au beurre acidule—or a vegetable tart with butter—is perfect with pâtés aux truffles, or fettuccine with black-truffle sauce.
Another combination includes clams, cooked with shallots and vinegar, with a tasty, tangy beef bourguignon stew. An à la carte menu exists for those who don’t want the filling prix-fixe fare.
“Most people eat light lunches except for the duck, because it’s slightly sweet and not quite as filling,” said executive chef Joel Benjamin.
Although his restaurant is showy, Mr. Benjamin dismisses any notion that the bourgeoisie are unwelcome to his bourguignon.
“No one comes with a T-shirt or jeans on,” he said. “But people come with a light shirt or a light jacket. People are fairly comfortable.”
Le Périgord, 405 E. 52nd St. near First Avenue; serving lunch Monday through Friday between noon and 3 p.m.; 212-755-6244.
A version of this article appeared February 5, 2013, on page A18 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: French Gets Comfortable.
Le Perigord – Visit this time-honored gem for an evening that is très magnifique!
Filled with the spirit of the holidays, we whisked ourselves away to Le Périgord, situated in a comfortable, quiet nook just northwest of Beekman Place. There, we encountered a warm welcome from the gracious maître of the manor and an arsenal of waiters sporting starched white jackets with napkins draped over their regimented forearms. Plump roses in full bloom quietly graced the tables as we were seated at our banquette. What a way to come in from the cold! From there we watched longtime patrons from the neighborhood sweep in, mostly women of a certain age bathed in black sable, and the host greet every one of them with a firm handshake and an air of recognition.
I toyed with a Grey Goose martini and my fella relaxed into a full-bodied red Gigondas while we slathered butter on civilized slices of brioche, anticipating the cuisine of longstanding chef Joel Benjamin, whose impressive résumé includes time at legendary restaurants Lutèce and La Côte Basque.
However, my ears soon pricked up like a rabid pinscher and my mood swiftly changed at the piercing death rattle of a confused, brittle fussbudget who apparently was contemplating strychnine over selections from the prix-fixe menu. We moved tables straightaway (which is something I never do), far across the room, as assisted by our equally aggrieved server. It hardly mattered anyway as we ended up dining with a better view of the moneyed complacency in attendance; what Tom Wolfe coined, in part, as “social x-rays.”
Frogs’ legs were game little leapers accompanied by a perfectly delicate risotto flavored with aromatics. Roasted lobster claws topped the hefty, buttery-soft lobster tail with pale strands of enoki mushrooms. It was surrounded by a medley of sautéed zucchini, carrots and yellow squash in a coriander lobster broth—which bordered more on a subtle bisque.
Sizeable seared quail was stuffed with minced wild forest mushrooms, which helped keep the bird moist, and black truffle sauce served to suit our fancy. Softened, shaved celeriac was a keen and serviceable side. We considered the Dover sole that we saw rolled out in hammered copper chafing dishes to tables nearby, but opted instead for something that went more along the ways of winter: we summoned the hearty, beating breast of the hunter and ordered medium rare, mildly musky venison cloaked in venison jus with a soupçon of black truffles. Melted cranberries in sugar, wilted red cabbage and peppery Brussels sprouts that were just fork-tender were ideal accompaniments.
I doubt anyone loves the idea of a dessert trolley more than I do, and on this mode of transportation we found at least a few treats that we had to try. Armed with wicked, generous pours of Armagnac (which we sipped on, in a slow revel) we picked from said trolley an offering of oeufs à la neige, the meringue confection, with an apparently Pollack-inspired spray of caramel lightly spattered on top of it. More meringue followed with the lemon tart and a fun layer of toasted marshmallows. Pear tart tartine arrived with a vanilla butter crust and an amiable resolution that, after lingering for more than three hours, we should probably go home.
Short Order: An elegant, classic French restaurant in a secluded spot on the Upper East Side.
Peter’s Picks: mushroom-stuffed fat quail with black truffle sauce; buttery roasted lobster tail.
We moved to another table because of the decrepit, shrieking woman with dietary restrictions that was seated at a banquette all too near to us.
Prices: $65 Prix Fixe; Alcohol: wine, full bar.
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- NewYork.com says “Peek into the history of NYC’s refined restaurant past” at Le Périgord
- The Daily Meal Says—Le Périgord: Classic French Dining as It Should Be