In a sort of platinum pop-up, Vetri (arguably Philadlephia's finest restaurant) played host to Le Bec Fin (arguably the restaurant that "started it all" in Philly) for its final three nights of service. While the famed French restaurant closed its doors earlier this month, Chefs George Perrier and Marc Vetri collaborated to give Le Bec one last go with a decadent, no-holds barred service. While the rustic, cozy elegance of Vetri may have been an aesthetic change from Le Bec's crystal chandeliers and be-sconced walls, the spirit of Le Bec truly transformed the host space, with silver cloches, servers naming the French dishes with perfectly practiced accents, toque-wearing chefs, and a live harpist.
In a recent NY Times story, food writer Frank Bruni described the sumptous Gallic feast (including butter-drowned escargot, black truffles, and sauces so good they were "druggy") in loving detail, while providing a bit of history, as well. For the first thirteen years of Le Bec's tenure, it inhabited the Spruce Street townhouse where Vetri now operates, before moving to Walnut Street in Center City. So this was more than just a premier chef collaboration, it was a return to Le Bec's roots, before its permanent retirement into the Restaurant Hall of Fame. Vetri even had a replica of Le Bec Fin's original wooden sign crafted, and hung in place of his own name above his eponymous restaurant's doorstep.
This special culinary hybrid experience was an epic way for Perrier to bow out after so many years of influencing the Philadelphia restaurant scene. But is he really done? Bruni closes his story with a gossipy quote from Perrier saying he "isn't done yet." Looks like out city may be welcoming another Perrier restaurant, hopefully sooner rather than later.