By Iron Chef Leftovers
Going to restaurants that are considered institutions can be tough, after many years, restaurants that don’t change will eventually lose their clientele. It happened in Boston with 150 year old Locke Ober closing late last year. Sometimes restaurants adapt like Canlis did with bringing in Eleven Madison Park chef Jason Franey to update the menu. Sometimes the restaurant falls victim to the economy and problems with the partners. This was the case with Philadelphia institution Le Bec Fin. Le Bec Fin was founded 40 years ago by chef Georges Perrier and for many of those years was considered one of the best restaurants in the US. It was an over the top, white glove experience with course after course of decadent and rich French inspired dishes. I had the pleasure of dining there once back in the late 1990’s and it is still the greatest restaurant meal I have ever had.
The economic downturn and infighting between the owners lead to the departure of Perrier and an attempted relaunch after the restaurant lost its way. There were rumors that a Michelin starred chef, Justin Bogle, was being brought in to right the ship.
Well, that rumor was true, but it means that the institution that is Le Bec Fin will be Fin at the end of June. I think changing tastes and a ton more competition in the industry really lead to the downfall and it is sad to see such an institution close, but it was probably time. I will always have fond memories of that meal and I do own the Le Bec Fin Cookbook, so who knows, there might be a dinner in the cards for sometime this fall…