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New York’s Le Perigord Celebrates 50 Years of Bouillabaisse, Elizabeth Taylor, and Roast Duck
Le Perigord owner Georges Briguet spoke with The Daily Meal about some of the famous stars and dishes the restaurant has served in its 50 year history.
How did they do it?
By avoiding “fusion confusion,” reserving a special booth for their most high-profile clientele, making friends with the U.N., and removing a fish soup from the menu that made one patron so angry that he had to be restrained from attacking the chef (actually, after forty years, that soup has officially made a comeback as of this week).
We’ll let owner Georges Briguet tell you all about it.
You have seen an impressive amount of returning celebrity clientele over the past half-century.
We’ve been lucky to welcome so many very, very famous – and sometimes infamous – people. In fact, it was a picture of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton leaving Le Perigord the year we opened that first put the restaurant map. At the time, they were the most scandalous couple in the world. We still call the curved banquette in the back of the dining room ‘the Liz Booth’ because that is where they always sat. Much more recently, it has been the favorite of Angelina and Brad Pitt.
Of all those people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, I always thought Ronald Regan was the most special, the most charismatic. Until he came in one night with Charlton Heston, who had the best personality of anyone I’ve ever met.
Which dishes have remained on the menu since day one?
The buffet froid as an appetizer, the clams and oysters with sauce mignonette, the cold foie gras with sauterne aspic, escargots in hazelnut butter, and the vegetable tart with tangy butter sauce. For entrées, the sea bass with creamy country mustard sauce; the Dover sole; rack of lamb; veal kidneys; and the roasted duck, carved tableside and served with seasonal fruits, although it did come off the menu for a few months about 15 years ago. So many customers were upset, we had to put it back on. Bob Bradford, the husband of the famous author Barbara Taylor Bradford, told me he would not set foot in Le Perigord until he could order the roast duck again.
Are there any changes to the menu you refuse to make?
All of those dishes that have been on the menu all these years — none of them can come off. When people make their reservations, they know what they’re going to have. They count on those dishes, which are our most popular.
How do you define ‘old-school’ French cuisine, and how do you reconcile it with the ‘new school’ approach?’
I don’t reconcile them. I know only one way, which I think is the right way, our way. We have a new young talent in the kitchen, who is doing exciting daily specials that are more modern, but they still select the more traditional food served in France that has evolved to incorporate a wider palate of spices and ingredients. In fact, soon, we’re going to present a daily tasting menu, probably five courses, of these more contemporary dishes.
What have been some of the most surprising new items?
Calves brains, which is something people either love or just hate the idea of. Word spread we were serving them and we had people calling to reserve them in advance! Bouillabaisse has also been a monster hit. We haven’t served the classic fish soup of the south of France at Le Perigord in well over 40 years; we used to have it on the menu, but one night a gentlemen found an unopened mussel in his, which meant the mussel was bad. He was furious and stalked into the kitchen and had to be restrained from assaulting the chef, Willy Krause. Willy banned bouillabaisse that night and we haven’t served it again – until now, as a special.
What’s the secret to lasting so long?
We never ventured into fusion confusion or tutti-frutti food. Our one goal, from which we have never deviated, is to serve the food eaten in France. That food is always from the best quality ingredients and very, very fresh. We now have a second generation of regulars, the sons and daughters of our original customers, and some of their grandchildren, too. The proximity to the United Nations has been very good for Le Perigord; we are known as the home of the ambassadors and through them we have become known all over the world, attracting Heads of State, too. I still laugh when I remember Imelda Marcus changing her shoes in the coat room in the middle of her dinner!
Read the full article at The Daily Meal ››
Classic French Cuisine at Le Perigord
Posted on June 5, 2015 | eatupnewyork.com
Le Perigord is celebrating their 50th year anniversary this year and I decided to head uptown for myself and check out this NY classic. Everything at Le Perigord is done classically and elegantly.
The Start at Le Perigord
I started with their seasonal special, the stuffed zucchini blossoms. Two gigantic blossoms were stuffed with cooked mushrooms and zucchini and coated in a blanket of truffle cream sauce. These zucchini blossoms are the way all veggies should be consumed, beautifully and smothered in truffle cream sauce.
A photo posted by EatUpNewYork.com (@eatupnewyork) on
Le Perigord preps only a few beef Wellingtons per night and I was lucky enough to snag one of these beauties. This classic beef Wellington is so hard to find on menus these days but really should be ordered when you have the chance. If you’re unfamiliar with beef Wellington, it is a huge filet mignon with pate of foie gras and mushrooms all wrapped in a puff pastry, and at Le Perigord also served with a black truffle sauce. At Le Perigord their beef Wellington was prepared classically and perfectly. My filet was a flawless medium rare, which is not an easy feat with this dish.
Another stand out dish of the night was the rack of lamb. This thyme crusted lamb was savory and juicy, the right choice for any lamb lover. It was served with sautéed spinach and a pea puree, which proved not overwhelming, but a nice light addition to the meal.
For dessert Le Perigord has a traditional dessert trolley that is wheeled to your table. It might be hard to choose just one of the desserts when they are staring at you right in the face and you should order multiple because they are all spectacular! We shared a few different desserts at our table but a must order is the floating island. Although I had never heard of this dessert it is a very classic French dessert. Fluffy meringue clouds float on top of vanilla crème anglaise custard. These meringues were so amazing it is hard to believe, they were somehow simple, delicate, fluffy and mind-blowing all at once. Other favorite desserts included the simple raspberry tart and the pistachio mousse cake.
If you’re looking for a classic French meal without your passport head to Le Perigord!
See the entire article at eatupnewyork.com
Favorite Eatery for the Famous
When I think of elegance and fine dining, I think of Le Perigord. George Briguet and his son Christopher are the proprietors of this well-established restaurant. Le Perigord Restaurant has been in business since 1964 and that says something for the restaurant.
I first visited Le Perigord more than twelve years ago and was very impressed with their cuisine and wrote about it for my then restaurant column. As a result Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones dined there. Other notables that have dined there are Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Ex-Mayor Bloomberg, Donald Trump, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Joe DiMaggio, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan.
Le Périgord features classic French cuisine in an elegant setting on the eastside in Manhattan. Le Périgord is the premier destination for French cuisine in New York.
Monsieur Briguet greeted us and made us feel as if we were guests in his home. The restaurant presents service the way French restaurants used to be, complete with starched white linen tablecloths and exemplary service from wait staff in tuxedos.
This well appointed establishment is adorned with a bouquet of fresh roses on each table and large floral arrangements throughout the restaurant. The main room is an open space with lots of banquets and table seating. The restaurant also offers a private dining room lined with murals and banquets and well as free-standing tables and bar for special events.
We chose one of the cozy banquets in a strategic location so that I could celebrity spot the other guests. Le Perigord offers a variety of typical French dishes such as, warm foie gras with seasonal fruits and cold house foie gras with Sauternes aspic as appetizers. The menu also offers a variety of entrees to chose from such as, filet of bass with creamy country mustard sauce, lobster with coriander broth, loin filet of lamb with baby artichokes and carrots, grilled filet mignon with black truffle sauce and beef bourguignon.
To start the evening off we were presented with an amuse-bouche, which had a combination of shrimp, smoked salmon and several other fish. For an appetizer, we ordered frog legs and escargot; it’s so typically French. The escargot was prepared in hazelnut butter accompanied with wild mushrooms. For the entrée we ordered medallions of veal draped in morrel sauce and a dish of roasted salmon with lemon saffron sauce with Provenćal style vegetables and fresh herbs. We complimented our dinner with a full body French Bordeaux.
A large dessert carriage offers some of the best delightful French treats. One thing one must consider is a soufflé from heaven. In addition to the soufflé, I ordered a dish of fresh strawberries. And to top off our divine evening, we ordered an herbal tea.
If you’re looking for a traditional and elegant French dining experience, then Le Perigord should be on your desired list.
See the complete article at
BWW Reviews: LE PERIGORD A NYC Dining Gem
January 27, www.broadwayworld.com by Marina Kennedy
C’est tres excellent! There are countless reasons why Le Perigord has been pleasing their guests for over 50 years. The gracious, friendly service, the delicious modern and traditional French fare, and the elegant, yet relaxing venue all lend themselves to a delightful dinner. We suggest you put Le Perigord on your list of top New York City restaurants to visit for a real evening on the town.
And when owner, Georges Briguet greets you at the door as he has been for 5 decades, you feel an immediate connection to Le Perigord whether it is your first visit or you are one of their many regulars. As a matter of fact, there’s a true sense of family here, a staff that works together to insure that everyone who visits has the best possible dining experience.
The furnishings are chic and timeless. One can even imagine the evening that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton captured media attention in one of Le Perigord’s corner booths. This is a favorite spot for celebrated guests, East Siders and United Nations dignitaries.
The cuisine is an absolute stand-out among New York City’s iconic dining spots. Their 50th Anniversary tasting menu may be one of the best ways to experience the depth of the culinary artistry of Executive Chef, Joel Benjamin. It includes traditional favorites like House foie gras, Sweetbreads in a thin crepe, Lobster Thermador and Duck a l’orange, Endive, watercress and red beet salad as well as dessert.
Continue to entire article at www.broadwayworld.com
Read John Mariani’s great article about Le Perigord on HuffingtonPost.com from February 24. He gives his insights and impressions of the buffet table, the wine list, cheese course, deserts and our famous Dover sole. And his description of our Beef Wellington will have your mouth watering.
Formerly anonymous critic Adam Platt went on CBS This Morning today to plug New York’s new Where to Eat issue. In his first television appearance, Plattypants discuses the bizarre experience of dining out as an anonymous critic, when the restaurateurs know your identity: “It’s their business to know. It’s a very high-stakes game in New York…It’s this Kabuki dance. You go back and forth and pretend you’re not here, and you discretely try to order the whole menu.” Platt notes that two weeks after he started the job, the maitre d’ at Le Perigord identified him as a critic before he was even able to place an order. Read the original article at Eater.com
Watch the video from CBS News:
Join us January 14 through February 8 for NYC Restaurant Week and enjoy our special Restaurant Week menu. Whether you’re a seasoned Le Périgord patron or want to try our classic French cuisine for the first time, Restaurant Week is a great time to drop in and savor something new.
- 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