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The new Le Bec Fin

The website isn't operational yet so I was wondering whether anyone had any details on the $150 five course prix fixe menu. Thanks!

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    1. Any reports on Le Bec Fin 2.0 yet?

      8 Replies
      1. re: deprofundis

        Went the first weekend after the reopening for dinner and loved it. The room, service and food are much improved -- reminded me a bit of Per Se, but without the view. It will set you back at least 500 per couple for dinner though; order a few decent bottles of wine and you're getting close to a grand. I wonder how they are doing from a numbers standpoint; always seems to be plenty of available seats at opentable.com.

        1. re: tbabes

          According to Eater Philly this week: "Reservations are already almost impossible to score."

          I don't know, but we went to opening night (review posted on y), which was sold out.

          1. re: ftarazu

            I just checked Open Table and there are tables for two available for tonight at 9 as well as for various times this week. So much for "impossible".

            1. re: Philly Ray

              Whether it is impossible or not, you'd have to be pretty optimistic to make a reservation for 9PM for a restaurant that only serves an 8-course tasting menu (not counting amuse-bouche or mignardises)!

              If I remember correctly, we were seated at 7:45 and left around 11. If there were more than 2 of us, and if we were drinking more, I'm sure it would have been longer.

              Is Chez Georges serving food yet? I have read it is open, but I'm not sure if that is just for drinks or the second kitchen is open for business.

              1. re: ftarazu

                Chez Georges seems like it would be more interesting than lunch, since the later appears to be a very similar just trimmed down dinner menu. Having been to dinner once, and given the very high price, I'm not that eager to go back for dinner any time soon.

                1. re: ftarazu

                  I wasn't debating who would want to eat at that time, I was countering the argument that reservations are impossible to get. Apparently, they are not. The reservations I saw for this week were for as early as 6:30.

                2. re: Philly Ray

                  Tis summer and the weekend Center City restaurant business is always way down through a few weeks after Labor Day. Tis also 100 degrees this afternoon. I would not project too much from tables being available today.

          2. FYI, I was just perusing open table for tomorrow evening and it looks like just about every participating restaurant has plenty of openings, including LBF and Vetri. The only one that appears to be completely booked is Bibou. Must be a slow week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              I think this week.. or the week that includes July 4th is the highest vacation week. Makes sense that the restaurants would be slower. This is a weird year as July 4th fell in the middle of the week.

            2. Anyone else been here since the re-opening? I was planning to check it out in a couple weeks but I haven't heard much, and I'm hesitant to spend that much for dinner without hearing a few more reports first.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Buckethead

                Foobooz just posted a Philly Mag review, for whatever that's worth.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Actually they didn't (I thought they had too, I guess they just wanted the click-through), they posted that you can buy the magazine and read the review now or wait till next week and read it online. I often agree with Trey Popp so I'll definitely read that before deciding. The Fountain is my backup (never been there).

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    We ate there shortly after they reopened and unfortunately I've forgotten some of the details. The menu was very limited -- two choices in each category, one of which was vegetarian. We were able to select a very nice dinner which we enjoyed -- but we would have liked a few more choices. There were some glitches in service -- we received 2 rolls and no more but we noticed that a neighboring table received the same 2 rolls we did, but then different bread later on and maybe a 3rd round of another type (I'm not sure). We'll give it another try later on.

                    1. re: Beulah

                      OK, thanks. So you're saying you're not in any hurry to go back anytime soon?

                      1. re: Beulah

                        That's the same method that both Per Se and the French Laundry use. 2 menus. One regular and one veg.

                        Considering the time and effort put into every dish, it's completely understandable at those establishments (not to mention the multiple other courses "from the chef"). I haven't eaten at the new LBF, so I can't say if that's the case there.

                        1. re: Boognish

                          Grammercy Tavern in NY is the same way. I really appreciate a restaurant that thinks about the progression of food, and it is different if you are just eating veggies versus including meats.

                          Thats my biggest complaint about Vedge.. you have to think hard about progression of food. Wish they put more thought into it.

                          1. re: cwdonald

                            Funny, I was looking at their menu yesterday and thinking the same thing. I'd really have no idea what/how to order there. Won't stop me from going, but pre-set menu might be a good idea for them.

                      2. re: Buckethead

                        Trey Popp's review is up now, 3.5 stars out of 4 but it reads like those stars are more aspirational than operational (he describes his first visit having some flaws overcome on his second visit).

                        http://www.phillymag.com/articles/phi...

                        I still don't know if I'm sold on going though. "Calf sweetbreads measured up to Bibou’s best" is nice but the tab at Bibou for a fantastic and extravagant dinner for two is less than the price of one diner's prix-fixe at LBF, it would be nice if the sweetbreads there did better than measure up against Bibou's.

                  2. Well, I did end up trying the new LBF recently and had a fantastic meal. It was better in every respect than my similarly-priced meal at Vetri a few months ago.

                    Service-wise, at Vetri, we felt rushed, courses were cleared and new ones appeared nearly instantly. At LBF, we were there for 3.5 hours and it felt like they were sad to see us go. At Vetri, our server was like a spokesmodel reading a script. At LBF, the servers seemed excited about the food they were serving and eager for us to try it. The sommelier at LBF personally introduced every glass of wine we drank and was able to answer any question we had, at Vetri I don't recall seeing the sommelier after we said we wanted to do the wine pairings. The whole service experience at LBF was just much more friendly, polished, experienced and professional than at Vetri.

                    The food was much better, too. My Vetri meal had its highlights, but it also had dishes that really fell flat, and a few that had me scratching my head wondering what I was paying $135 for. There were many more highlights at LBF, fewer misses, and at no point did I think to myself "I could make this at home with 50 cents worth of ingredients". The best thing we had was the dry-aged beef, the potatoes with it were done confit style and the combination of the potatoes and the beef was fantastic. Desserts were spectacular as well. There were two menus to choose from, vegetarian and non-, and the non-veg menu had two choices available for most of the courses, so really there are almost three different menus. I was part of a group so between us I think we had everything on offer that evening (though I didn't get to taste every single dish).

                    Another stark difference with Vetri was the wine pairings. I can't make an exact comparison because at Vetri they offer two levels of wine pairings, a $90 one and a $135 "Grand Riserva", and at LBF there's only one choice, for $115 or so. I had the $90 one at Vetri and the pairings were OK but there were no moments of revelation when the food and wine together elevated each other so far above what each tasted like on its own that your brain has trouble believing the sensations that are coming from your mouth. My dinner at LBF had one of those, and a few that were nearly as good.

                    Of course, this was a very expensive experience and I don't see myself spending that kind of money on dinner again for quite a while. But the new LBF makes it tempting.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Buckethead

                      Thanks for the review Buckethead. I have been thinking of trying Le Bec-Fin again and your review certainly made this more likely. Glad you had a special time. Did the $115 wine pairing at LBF include wine with all the courses?

                      1. re: FayeD

                        Yep, there was a separate wine (or dessert wine, or liqueur) with each dish. I left out this detail originally, but they were pretty healthy pours of wine too. I was feeling the effects by the time we left.

                      2. re: Buckethead

                        Care to share what some of the memorable dishes were? Now that they are not doing the dessert cart, did you have a large choice for dessert? Is there a cheese course in addition to dessert? And I hope they aren't doing the "Craftesque" schtick of sending you home with a muffin at the end of the night.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Some of the other memorable dishes included the foie gras (it's easy to like foie of course but this one had an excellent wine pairing), the corn veloute, and the rabbit confit. The dessert was part of the tasting menu, there wasn't a separate dessert menu. They were fantastic desserts so I didn't mind the lack of choices that much. I forgot to mention that there were mignardises as well and a couple of them were stupendous, particularly the little peanut butter cup. There were some very good macarons as well.

                          There was a cheese course, in my case it was a blue cheese souffle with tomatoes and walnuts, the other one was camembert and some variation on a Fig Newton, they were both very good.

                        2. re: Buckethead

                          one quick Vetri aside, that will hopefully not derail the LBF discussion.
                          In terms of your comment on rushed service, were you at an early seating or a late seating?
                          We have been twice, sat late both times (8:30 or so as I recall), and have never felt even 1% rushed. We are glacially slow eaters, and things still moved at a very graceful pace even by our standards. I'm wondering if the earlier seatings tend to move more briskly since they have to turn the tables. I think your point about the feeling that "I could make this at home with 50 cents worth of ingredients" is a very interesting one with some merits (though in all of my efforts with his two cookbooks I have not come as close to a worthy proxy as I might like to tell myself).

                          1. re: tfalbo

                            We were at an early seating at Vetri, and sat down around the same time at LBF. The specific dish that made me think "I could make this at home with 50 cents worth of ingredients" was the onion crepe. I understand that it's one of Marc Vetri's signature dishes but he wasn't in the kitchen cooking it.

                            1. re: Buckethead

                              BH. Excellent initial review and detailed followup responses; thanks very helpful indeed.

                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                No problem! One more thing on the topic of the dessert and cheese carts: I never really liked them at the original LBF anyway. Here's why.

                                Most mere mortals went to the old LBF a few times in their lives, if they were lucky. The cost made/makes it kind of impossible for a person of average means to eat there with any regularity. So when the dessert cart arrived with 20 or 25 different desserts on it, I didn't feel happiness at all the variety. What I was thinking was "there are probably 3 or 4 desserts on there that I'll like more than the rest, I hope I pick the right ones". I could never try them all and I always wondered if I had missed out on the best ones. Same with the cheese cart. The overwhelming variety of choices just left me thinking that whatever I didn't have must have been better than what I did have.

                                At the new LBF, they are confident enough to just say "this is the dessert this evening, we think it's good enough that you won't miss the cart". Ours were. And if you still need some variety in your dessert, there is the tray of mignardises.