Philly’s swankiest restaurant just got a little more accessible to the masses.
9. The Price
Much has been made of the fact that Le Bec-Fin’s dinner options were limited to elaborate, gorgeous $150 tasting menus, and lunch to a two-hour, $55 commitment. New owner Nicolas Fanucci has obviously been listening: Starting this Friday, there will also be a four-course, $85 dinner option—and a three-course lunch alternative for $39. As far as the wine list, it is, of course, easy to find pricy bottlings of legend. But perhaps unexpectedly, there is a lovely selection of excellent, thoughtful options in the under-$100 category, as well. In our phone interview, Fanucci told me that he wants Le Bec to not just be a place for birthdays and anniversaries, but also for a nice night out that can be considered alongside our city’s other great restaurants. He also will be rolling out new iPad-based menus, which will arrive at the table fully customized for each guest. So: You’re a vegetarian? Or a pescatarian? Your menu will only feature dishes that fit your personal dietary requirements. And in a smart nod to our digital world, customized menus can be printed for guests, posted to Facebook and more.
10. The New Owner
Fanucci works the dining room like the professional he is, with a mix of charm, enthusiasm, deep knowledge and unflappable professionalism defining his interactions. He was GM at Le Bec before moving out to California to helm the dining room at the French Laundry; his career at the top echelon of American gastronomy has allowed him to wear the vestments of fine dining with real comfort and ease. Talk to him a bit and you’ll see just how personal this project is for him, how deeply he believes that Philadelphia needs a reinvigorated Le Bec Fin. I agree with him wholeheartedly; eating here is exciting again, and watching it continue to evolve promises to be one of the great stories of Philadelphia dining for years to come.
1523 Walnut St., 215.567.1000. lebecfin.com
Cuisine type: Fine-dining French
Hours: Lunch: Mon.–Fri., 11:30am–2pm. Dinner: Mon.–Sat., 6pm–10pm
Price range: Lunch menus $39 or $55; dinner menus $85 or $150
Atmosphere: Regal and elegant
Food: Delicious and not nearly as heavy as you might imagine French to be
Service: Professional, passionate and thoroughly approachable
Lunch at Rybrew is quick and cool