Archives: June 2013
Le Périgord Review – Experience and Appreciate French Classics.
Today’s dining is as trendy as fashion. The hottest restaurant will only remain so if it continues to innovate. Sure, there are classics like Peter Luger’s or Old Homestead that can stand the taste of time, something that appeals to our fundamental pleasures not unlike Chanel’s timeless jacket. But for the majority of restaurants not involved with grilling slabs of meat, it’s innovation or obscurity.
Le Perigord at the Upper East Side.
I’ve had friends who complained to me that a meal at Le Cirque or Gotham Bar and Grill felt like a time warp to the 90′s, imagine then my astonishment when I stepped into Le Perigord. This place feels as if it hasn’t changed since the 60′s.
Turns out it wasn’t just a feeling – some of the staff have been working here since the day the restaurant opened. The decor, though recently renovated, still feels decidedly old fashioned by modern standards. You enter into a space with no host or maitre d’, and stare aimlessly at a cold salad bar until you’re greeted by a manager. Then there are the patrons of this establishment, most of them are well into their retirements.
Classic decor and style.
The reason I wrote the previous paragraph is to prepare you for the initial shock. You will feel it, as I did. We are all spoiled and expect restaurants to look and feel a certain way, that any deviation gives a sense of baseless disappointment. Once you overcome the prejudice, then you’ll enjoy the true beauty of Le Perigord.
The staff are not swift footed, but provides service that are the culmination of decades of experience. The occasional joke or hyperbole statement helps lighten the atmosphere. The owner Georges Briguet came by our table to tell us our waiter Armando, who’s been at Le Perigord since day one, “doesn’t do lunch service because he has to go dancing each night with the ladies”, brought smiles all around the table.
The menu doesn’t follow today’s simplistic trends, a full description is given, not just the type of protein. In the kitchen is Joel Benjamin who worked years at the revered house of French cooking: Lutece.
Scallops with vegetable rizzotto started the meal with conviction. The presentation scores an immediate vote for classical French cuisine, and the taste matched the appearance in every way.
What gets more classic French than Escargots? Bathed in hazelnut butter with wild mushrooms, it was tasty and satisfying (a word you don’t associate with escargots often).
An ample serving of escargots.
At the staff’s insistence, we also sampled the mussel soup. “The most glorious soup in Manhattan” said Georges as the soup is served. The mussel flavor is harmoniously blended into a lightly creamy broth, with a mild bit of acidity at the end of each spoonful. I completely agree, this is glorious.
The Most Glorious Soup in Manhattan.
As we were anticipating the entree, Georges reappeared and interrupted the quietness: “Did you guys order the chicken? Angelina’s chicken?” Turns out each time Brad and Angelina are in town, they visit Le Perigord, sit in the corner booth, and order the chicken carved table side. We looked at the corner booth, no Bradgelina tonight, but sure enough the guests at the table are also having chicken.
Turbot with Comté crust and Champagne sauce was beautifully executed. With the thin comté cheese crust, the turbot was still perfectly pan fried. Le Perigord might be more well known for their Dover Sole, but the turbot was a solid dish, and the favorite of Mr. Briguet.
Turbot in Champagne broth.
Lobster in coriander broth showcased both the flavor and also unique texture of the Canadian lobster. While the world’s trying to poach lobster softer, the chef choose Canadian lobster over their stateside cousins for the darker color and sinew texture. The light coriander broth and vegetables provided a light accompaniment in flavor, without trying too hard to stand out.
Delicious Canadian lobster in coriander.
In case you haven’t seen it by now, there’s a roaming dessert cart. If you can resist that temptation, the fluffy berry souffle is incredible.
Finish off with a steaming souffle.
Great service, exceptional French classics, not to mention the most glorious soup in Manhattan and Bradgelina’s chicken. A classic combination that should be experienced and appreciated.
What does this rating mean?
405 E 52nd St
New York, NY 10022
Le Périgord, the unpretentiously pedigreed Sutton Place dining institution, may be over 45 years old, but a spiffy refurbishing and the always wonderful food keeps celebrities, U.N. delegates and loyal regulars returning year in and year out, to make this Grand Dame NY’s most satisfying luxury French restaurant.
A recent dinner starting with a dozen sparkling East Coast oysters, followed by a fresh ramp Vichyssoise, then miraculous baby soft shell crabs in butter almond sauce and airy soufflés, not to forget the grand dessert carte, breads and superb wine selection, all at affordable prices, keeps Le Perigord the reigning star of NY luxury French restaurants. If there could be just one host in this town, George Briguet would be the king. Our personal favorite!
Beef Wellington Burger at Le Perigord
This ain’t no patty: it’s a classic reinvented for one of the city’s most unique burgers
The most elegant burger in town since the db burger–that foie gras and truffle-stuffed delicacy served at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne–is delivered with a knife and fork, by a waiter wearing a tuxedo.
Le Perigord’s just-launched beef Wellington burger ($18) transforms one classic dish into another. Executive chef Joel Benjamin mixes the beef, a lean prime chuck from Gachot & Gachot (also the favorite purveyors of Peter Luger), with clarified fat of foie gras, sautéed shallots, and a mix of oyster, porcini and shiitake mushrooms. The beef blend is then seared to seal in the juices. In lieu of a bun, Benjamin surrounds the meat with puff pastry, then bakes the dish until the meat is medium rare and the pastry a flaky golden brown. Served with rich truffle jus and haricot vert, the result is a succulent, luxurious, retro-meets-modern indulgence.
The burger, which was added to the a la carte lunch and dinner menu just last week, marks a landmark for the restaurant: This is the first time in Le Perigord’s 49-year history that one has appeared on the menu. Known for its classic French cooking, dignified service and table-side presentations, it may take some time for some of Le Perigord’s regulars to get used to the new addition, offered alongside signature dishes such as Dover sole meuniere ($50). No doubt, however, this burger is poised to win a new breed of loyalists on its own.
Le Perigord, 405 E. 52nd St., New York, NY
For reservations, call 212-755-6244, or book a table online ››
Posted by laylakhouryhanold on
Pinch me, it’s finally spring in New York! And now that we’ve had our fill of ramps and fiddlehead ferns, it’s time to sink our claws into soft shell crabs.
Citing the crabs’ sweet flavor and versatility, Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle counts them among his favorite ingredients to work with. “The arrival of the soft shells is always an exciting one for me. It indicates that the seasons are changing, and opens up a lot of the possibilities for what we can do in the kitchen.” One such creation at The Marrow last month featured crispy crabs paired with mustard greens, pickled ramps, cocoa nibs and a spicy almond sauce.
Here’s what three other local chefs are doing with them this year and where you can find ‘em.
Seafood whiz and Chef Ed Brown loves the sweet and briny flavor of his “softies.” At his upscale seafood spot in the Empire Hotel, Brown counts the way he loves them: “I cook them with just a touch of olive oil on theplancha, quick-fry them for a great sandwich or even give them the lightest coating of tempura, just enough to hold a few panko crumbs to make them super crisp.” To experience spring’s full bounty, order the daily sell-out special of Seared Soft Shell Crabs with Ramp Pesto, pea tendrils, spring vegetables and grilled sourdough, available through the end of the month.
Over on the east side, this fine French dining landmark makes soft shell crabs the star of their three-course prix-fixe menu (through the end of the season). Chef Joel Benjamin gives them the classical French treatment by preparing them à la meunière: after a whole-milk soak, the crabs are lightly (but thoroughly) coated in flour, then fried in clarified butter to achieve the perfect crisp-tender ratio. They’re nestled on a bed of wilted spinach and drizzled with lemon juice and melted butter (Mais oui!), then topped with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
In subterranean Manhattan, “Bishop of Bivalves” Executive Chef Sandy Ingber shows equal adeptness with soft shells. This season Ingber experiments with over 100 recipes for inspired preparations, giving the crabs a Cajun persuasion with smoky Tasso pork and roasted corn, or extra crunch with a macadamia nut crust and a zippy pomegranate buerre blanc. For the perfect summer salad, opt for Jerked Soft Shell Crabs. Four of the jerk-rubbed, grilled softies arrive on greens with hearts of palm, grape tomatoes and tidy piles of mango salsa, all dressed with passion fruit-poppy seed dressing.
- Kid-Friendly Fine Dining: 6 Big Ticket Restaurants for Little Ones in NYC + SF
- The Rise of the Gourmet Staff Meal
- Chefs Combine Nostalgia and Seasonality in Warm Desserts
- 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