Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bits and Morsels visits a classic: Le Perigord

Vegetable tart with butter sauce at Le Périgord.

The new season of “Mad Men” inspired me to visit a classic New York specimen in the form of a fabulous French dinner at Le Périgord. Mad Men is a juicy entrée into the lifestyles (wining and dining very much included) of the select men and women working at a first-rate New York advertising agency in the sixties. It's not the plot so much that interests me, but the elegant environment in which it takes place, sorely missing in this all-too casual era.

Located at 405 East 52nd Street, Le Périgord is a gem of a restaurant that has stood the test of time. The formal French service and the beautiful, bold, fresh-cut roses that grace each table charms me with every visit. Le Périgord attracts a blend of locals, diplomats and politicians alike (as it is located a few blocks from the UN).

Fresh roses on every table.
Le Périgord is one of the few restaurants where the customers aren’t busy texting and depositing their buzzing blackberries on the dinner table.

Richard Nixon used to dine here quite often and a published photo of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton under the restaurant's awning in 1964 put Le Périgord on the map. When Georges Briguet bought the restaurant, he made sure not to change its name.

I ordered off the restaurant week menu which includes three courses for $35.00. It’s available until Labor Day and it's an excellent value.

The cuisine is classic French so all dishes are served with rich, velvety sauces. To start I had the vegetable tart perched in a butter sauce. The tart, which was akin to quiche, was filled with a mosaic of vegetables and robust in flavor. They also have a cold salad bar with celery root remoulade and a selection of seafood, which you can just as easily make a full meal out of. The menu includes such favorites as asparagus with vinaigrette, Dover Sole and roasted duck.
Le Périgord, 405 East 52nd Street. Le PĂ©rigord's owner, Georges Briguet.
Inside Le Périgord.
For dessert I devoured the Grand Marnier soufflé. It was like breathing in a lightly scented orange cumulonimbus cloud. A great dining experience can simply evoke a certain time or feeling. That's Le Périgord.

Le Périgord
405 East 52nd Street
A selection of cold starter items. Brioche on the bottom and french bread on top.
Cold asparagus. Asparagus vinaigrette.
Steamed artichokes. Pea soup.
Roasted duck with vegetables. Lamb with artichoke hearts.
Roasted salmon with a saffron sauce. Bay scallops provencal with vegetable risotto.
Floating islands. Grand marnier souffle.
My dear readers know how much I enjoy cooling off in the Time Warner Center. And I have been going back to Bouchon Bakery on a regular basis these days for the summer corn salad. This is one of the best salads I have had in a while and this is coming from someone who tends to skip salads. Bouchon's summer corn salad comprises fresh, sweet raw corn, avocado, tomatoes and toasted almonds. It comes with a cilantro salad dressing which I prefer to bypass as I don’t love cilantro. Plus, the salad does not need dressing.

Raw corn is mouthwatering when it’s in season during the summer months. The corn's crispy texture and the nuttiness of the almonds makes it an excellent salad. And with a chocolate chip cookie for dessert, is there a more perfect dinner on a hot summer day? I don’t think so.
Summer Corn Salad.
The salad is on the menu throughout the summer.

Bouchon Bakery
Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor
The newest food trend is fiber. In order to make their products healthier, many companies are beefing up their added-fiber offerings. Everyone knows by now that a diet rich in fiber is good for you. The new generation of fiber-laden cereals are a world away from the likes of All Bran. [The Wall Street Journal]
Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”
is on the bestseller list after coming out almost 48 years ago. This is a result of the success of “Julie & Julia.” What's interesting is that many of her recipes can be very time consuming and considered an art especially next to our heat and eat culture. [The New York Times]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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