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
By the time Sting took the stage at the Loeb Boathouse in the heart of New York City, the voting was over and Le Périgord was crowned the “Most Elegant Restaurant” by the 2014 Concierge Choice Awards. Nearly 200 New York City concierges cast their votes in categories including Best Broadway Show (Beautiful—The Carole King Musical) and Specialty Store (ABC Carpet & Home). But when the voting was done, Le Périgord walked away with the “Most Elegant Restaurant” prize.
Now celebrating 50 years, Le Périgord proves that elegance and fine dining never go out of style. Guest reviews are a critical factor in the concierges’ reviews and as Fredrick Bigler if the Peninsula Hotel and co-founder of the CAA awards said, “We send our guests there they come back raving about the service.”
Thanks CAA. Learn more and see all of the winners at ConciergeChoiceAwards.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.
(clockwise from top left) La Silhouette; Bistro La Promenade; Le Périgold; La Mangeoire
My Favorite Burger – Fork and Knife Required
My favorite burger that you can eat with your hands is still Landmarc. Marc Murphy does an extraordinary version. The meat is crispy on the outside and flowing with juices on the inside. The bun is made in house, the fries are some of the best in NY and the side salad cleanses the palate!
But I now want to announce my favorite burger that needs to be eaten with a fork and knife!
This is the Beef Wellington Burger! Let me whet your appetite:
Lean prime chuck beef from Gachot & Gachot (purveyors to Peter Luger) is mixed with rendered foie gras, finely chopped sautéed shallots and oyster and porcini mushrooms. Then it is cooled then seared. Topped with MORE mushrooms, and rolled in puff pastry. Baked in 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes (for medium-rare). Served with truffle sauce and haricot vert.
Bring the lipitor!
When can I find this burger you may ask! Read on my friends and fans, read on!
In a city as busy and fast-paced at NYC, it can be easy to forget about the old and focus on the new. It’s always cool and hit to discover something new and the “hottest” but Manhattan is filled with genuine institutions that deserve to be recognized and celebrated.
Two words: Le Périgord.
A 49-year old classic French restaurant on Manhattan’s Midtown Eastside (far eastside!). Founder and host Georges Briguet, along with this son Christopher Briguet, set a gracious tone at this haute French favorite, welcoming all to experience fine French dining in a relaxed, yet refined ambience.
Helming the kitchen is Executive Chef Joel Benjamin (Lutece, NYC), who has been with the restaurant for over twelve years. Specializing in classic French cuisine, Benjamin serves original dishes that are unique to Le Périgord, such as his delectable Alsatian Onion Tart, a savory appetizer that leaves one craving for more. Other specialty appetizers include Fricassée d’escargots au beurre de noisette et champignons des bois (escargots in hazelnut butter with wild mushrooms); Foie gras chaud aux fruits de Saison (warm foie gras with seasonal fruits); and La bisque de homard (lobster bisque). For the main course, Benjamin offers more traditional French fare, from Le filet de loup de mer á la Dijonaise (filet of bass with creamy country mustard sauce); to Boeuf Bourguignon (traditional beef Bourguignon); and Foie de veau meunière (calf liver with lemon butter sauce).
Le Périgord, which is named after a region in France, is known for its graceful tableside service of Sole Anglaise meunière, ou grillée avec sauce moutarde (Dover sole, with lemon butter meuniere sauce, or grilled with mustard sauce); Duck a l’orange (duck with orange sauce); and Carré d’agneau rôti á la croûte de thym frais (roasted rack of lamb with a fresh thyme crust). Guests should undoubtedly save room for its irresistible desserts, including Grand Marnier Soufflé, and its legendary “temptation trolley” of desserts which includes timeless favorites as Tarte Tatin, Chocolate Mousse and Floating Islands. Le Périgord’s wine list also pleases all with a fine selection of both old and recent vintages, offered at pricing that is reasonable.
With its comforting, old-world feel, Le Périgord, a Sutton Place landmark, delivers an elegant atmosphere for diners to enjoy superb French cuisine. Spaciously set white-clothed tables, many with banquet seating, make up the lovely main dining room.
According to The New York Times, “Le Périgord has been a dignified presence on the dining scene. It’s a French restaurant the way French restaurants used to be.” And now you can get a burger!
The burger with all the sides is 18 bucks.
Le Périgord (405 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022; 212.755.6244;
Open for lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner every evening.
Got a burger story? A burger that I must try? As long as it don’t start with the letters “Mc” let me know.
For more Le Périgord food porn, scroll down!
Loin of Lamb
What better way to spend an afternoon in the summer than in a French restaurant drinking rosè wine? Especially when the restaurant is Le Perigord, a French classic with the kind of elegant dining that is difficult to find in NYC any more. It is a very comfortable place with old world charm and excellent unobtrusive service.
Our host for the lunch was Alain Bonnefoy, wine consultant for the House of Burgundy. Alain was very knowledgeable and informative.
George Briquet, the founder and owner of the restaurant came by and told us the restaurant was opened in 1964. He added that after tasting these wines, for the first time he would put rosè wines on his list. Each of the courses was paired with a different rosè.
Palais Prive Rosé 2012 Cotes-du-Luberon AOC made from Grenache and Syrah. Michael Doyle, an American, owns the winery. This was the first wine served and it was very light in color with delicate red fruit aromas and flavors and a very nice finish and aftertaste.
Domaine Sorin “Terra Amata” Rose Côtes de Provence AOC. Made from 40% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 10% Syrah.15% Mouvèdre 15% Carignan, 15% Rolle and 5% Orgi. The wine is vinified and aged in vats. They do not use chemical fertilizers or weed killers. The winery is located in Bandol. This was paired with Jonah crab cake with roasted red pepper sauce and it worked very well.
Arbaude, Mas De Cadenet 2011 Côtes De Provence 40% Grenache and 40% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. The grape bunches are destemmed. There is cold maceration and bleeding, the must is racked and fermentation tales place at low temperatures. The wine is a traditional salmon pink color.
This was a rose with a lot of structure and flavor, a perfect combination with the seared lamb eye loin Barigoule.
Champagne Jeeper Rosè N/V AOC de Champagne 70% Chardonnay, 20 Pinot Noir 10% AOC approved red champagne.
Alain told an interesting story about how the wine got its unusual name. In 1944 the Second World War was coming to an end, Armand Goutorbe returned to his vineyard in Champagne badly handicapped. In order to be able to carry on the work, he was allowed to purchase an American Army Jeep.
From then on there was no stopping him. His vineyard flourished with his new mobility; the Jeep proved perfect for the awkward terrain. He was always with his trusty Jeep, his friends and neighbors nicknamed him Jeeper. So Mr. Goutorbe honored his much-loved Jeep by renaming his champagne vineyard JEEPER. We drank this with a strawberry tart.
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