Le Périgord Restaurant

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The Wall Street Journal

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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.”

—Josh Dawsey

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.