The Daily Meal Says—Le Périgord: Classic French Dining as It Should Be
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Dan Myers, the Eat/Dine Editor for The Daily Meal since November 2012.
There was once a time when upscale dining in New York City was synonymous with high-end French fare, and dishes like Dover sole, duck à l’orange, and pike quenelles were as commonplace on fine-dining menus as $25 burgers are today. At the height of this trend, in the mid-1960s, now-vanished restaurants like Lutèce, La Côte Basque, and La Caravelle weren’t just restaurants, they were temples to fine dining, serving not only a white tablecloth experience but a sense of theatricality that’s all but vanished from the dining scene, with an exuberant host greeting you at the door (who oftentimes was also the owner), a polished maître d’, captains running service and plating dishes tableside with a whole lot of flair, diners in jackets and ties, and a sense of elegance that permeated the whole experience.
If you’re looking for that experience today, your options are limited. La Grenouille is still going strong, but good luck dining there without taking out a second mortgage on your house. If you’re looking to capture that old-fashioned high-end dining experience, your best bet is to head to Le Périgord.
“Bonjour, bonjour! How many are you?” you’ll hear as you walk through the door, delivered with a smile by none other than owner Georges Briguet, who’s been at the helm with his wife Marie-Thérèse since he first opened it in 1964. Briguet is a living legend, and as he escorts you to your table you get the sense that he’ll make sure that your meal goes off without a hitch. And a recent dinner there, by the invitation of the restaurant, was definitely an experience to remember.
Meals inside this comfortable 100-seat dining room (which was recently spiffed up but hasn’t changed much since Liz Taylor and Richard Burton famously dined there in 1964) progress at a leisurely pace, and it’s clear that nobody there is in a hurry. You’ll be halfway through your cocktail before you see a menu, and once your meal is through, nobody will rush you out.
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- The Daily Meal Says—Le Périgord: Classic French Dining as It Should Be