Le Bec-Fin goes mainstream

The fanciest of fancy Philadelphia restaurants has just gotten a little less, well… fancy, according to Zagat:

Georges Perrier, saying he wants to have fun and stop obsessing over his Mobil five stars, has dropped the prix fixe policy at Le Bec-Fin, his Center City West landmark. Most mains on the à la carte dinner menu are priced under $40, and the reservation book has slots every 15 minutes, not two seatings a night.

I have mixed feelings about this move. On the one hand, I like it when owners try to mix things up and infuse some unpredictability into stodgy institutions. On the other hand, as someone who’s never experienced this particular institution, I feel like I’m being robbed of the full Le Bec-Fin treatment.

I guess when I finally do make it there, I can take solace in the fact that I won’t know what I’m missing. But that’s cold comfort when part of the reason you’re going in the first place (the exclusive fine dining charm) has been unceremoniously stripped away.

Is it too much to ask to have both styles of dining? A couple of mass seatings and prix-fixes for the traditionalists and newbies (like me), and a more mainstream, a la carte experience for the rest?

And by the way, when did a gas station get to be the preeminent judge of dining quality in the United States? Taking restaurant suggestions from Mobil is like asking my local mechanic how to make a soufflé.

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3 responses to “Le Bec-Fin goes mainstream

  1. Y’know, I’ve always wondered the same thing about Mobil… Someone needs to come along and enlighten us.

  2. Don’t fret, you can still order the tasting menu at Le Bec-Fin for a mere $140 and a wine flight for another $70.

  3. Cool. Does anybody want to spot me $210 for food research?

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