Inside Le Bec-Fin: Counting Down To Opening Night

As we talked about late last week, Le Bec-Fin is getting ready for their official public opening tomorrow night, but that doesn’t mean the crew hasn’t been busy as (French) beavers in the days and nights leading up to the Big Night. They’ve been doing menu tests and tastings, friends-and-family dinners and media parties for more than a week–all as a way to get the staff and the room ready for that first, all-important influx of paying customers.

Last Friday, the Foobooz Mobile Party Unit rolled up to 1523 Walnut in our finest goin’-out duds and availed ourselves of Le Bec’s pre-opening hospitality. And, wisely, we brought along Yoni Nimroad (Foobooz photo ninja and official shooter for Cook) to document the event. So whether you have reservations for opening week at Le Bec 2.0 and want to know what to look forward to or are just curious about how one of the most hotly anticipated (re)openings of the year has shaped up, read on. Plus, as a bonus, Yoni spent some time snapping away in the kitchen–which is something that no civilian is likely to get a glimpse of once service begins for real.

So what are you waiting for?

We had the Foobooz Director of Espionage Operations staking out the front door for a half-hour before the official 6:30 start of the festivities. And yet, when we showed up at 6:31, the place was already crowded with media and society types. Everyone wanted a look at the new/old space and everyone wanted to know what new owner Nicholas Fanucci had done with the joint.

This is the view into the main dining room from the newly-expanded lobby.

Champagne from the downstairs bar (Chez Georges) to celebrate the re-birth of a Philadelphia icon. The decor (understated, blue and very curtain-y) at Chez George was also a marked improvement over its life as Tryst.

Free cheese? But of course…

Why yes, I would love some of your little rilette toasts.

As a matter of fact, why don’t you just leave the tray…

Yes, tartare mounted on cucumber rounds are almost as de rigeur at these kinds of functions as drunken frottage and botox. But these cucumber-tartare UFO’s were actually markedly better than average (it was the hint of ginger syrup that made all the difference)–a point in favor of the new kitchen’s attention to detail.

More ammunition for the servers working the floor. Note the blue tape denoting zones of the dining room.

New chef Walter Abrams in his element.

Anthony Sica turning and burning on the garde manger station.

The line at Le Bec-Fin.

Owner Nicholas Fanucci overseeing his new empire as the swells are released back into the wild.

Le Bec-Fin [Official website]
All Le Bec-Fin coverage [Foobooz]