Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron weighs in on the new Le Bec-Fin. Though she doesn’t touch on the food, she does deliver food for thought.
For the man who now runs the house, Nicolas Fanucci, it is impossible to separate the storied culinary institution from its ornate French dining room. He served as general manager there from 2000 to 2002, during the last of its truly great years, before heading to California to oversee Thomas Keller’s renowned French Laundry. From the moment he decided to buy Le Bec-Fin from its founder, Georges Perrier, Fanucci was determined to restore the restaurant to its Michelin-starred glory.
For him, that meant bringing back the integrity of the interior, which had suffered, like the food, through several unfortunate modernization efforts. Standards had fallen so far that the grand salon was eventually decked out, Fanucci said with a Gallic shudder, in earth tones. “Our goal,” he said, “was to put back Le Bec-Fin’s original beauty, from the time when it was successful.”
Photo by Yoni Nimrod | Cook