There’s often a classy French restaurant scene in films that are set in New York City. Tuxedo-clad waiters serve mouth-watering dishes and rich French wines while the film’s characters, who seem quite used to such luxurious décor and exquisite service, have an intimate conversation that changes the entire plot.
Fortunately, there’s no need to watch a movie to experience classic French cuisine in New York City. Manhattan’s Le Périgord is the real thing, offering timeless French dishes in a setting that movie characters could only wish for.
The restaurant is located on the edge of the Sutton Place neighborhood in Manhattan’s east side. The region has been known as one of the city’s tonier neighborhoods since the 1920s, when wealthy families like the Vanderbilts and the Morgans decided to call the area home.
Owned by Georges Briguet, a French-speaking Swiss immigrant, Le Périgord has been one of the region’s premier dining destinations for almost 40 years. This is no small feat in New York City, where restaurants open and go out of business on a daily basis.
In an age where trendy Asian dishes and tapas-style food have become the most popular eating trend with locals, Le Périgord refuses to be swayed with the tide. “French restaurants have become an endangered species,” says Linda Dyett, a native of the Big Apple.“Le Périgord is one of the last of the grande dame classic French restaurants in New York.”
Classic or not, Le Périgord has stayed up with the times. While careful to retain the restaurant’s original elegance, architect Jean-Luc Briguet, one of the proprietor’s sons, recently gave the main dining room a dignified facelift. The resulting look is a mixture of warm rusticity and sophisticated sensibility.
Executive chef Joel Benjamin has helped the restaurant remain on the cutting edge of French cuisine. Benjamin is a veteran of such New York culinary icons as Picholine and Lutuce, and he has worked closely with Georges Briguet to bring back several Le Périgord classics such as Foie Gras with Champagne Jelly and Roasted Lobster with Marc de Champagne with Baby Seasonal Vegetables.
Prices are high, yet reasonable for what you receive. Jacket and tie are required and reservations are recommended. There are parking garages available between 1st and York Avenues on 53rd St. after 7pm.
For more information:
405 East 52nd St.
New York, NY 10022