About two weeks ago, Caryn (thoughts in italics) and I were invited to try Le Perigord, a French restaurant in Midtown. Â While Le Perigord was a classy French establishment, I went in with the mindset that this is a place I’d take my parents (or have them take me) or go on an anniversary date (pending I get a boyfriend in this lifetime).
Le Perigord took me by surprise. Â While the inside was nice with white table cloths and waiters in tuxedos, the outside awning was a little dingy and the lettering was fading. I probably wouldn’t have noticed the restaurant if I wasn’t looking for it.
We settled in and were told about ongoing specials at Le Perigord. You can get a three-course lunch for $32, and this includes almost anything on the menu. You can also get a three-course dinner for $65, and unlike most priced-fixed menus, this includes a whole menu of options. Granted, my eyes wanted to pop out of my head when I heard these deals (the prices seem a little steep to me), but maybe if I graduate out of this “I’m a young professional and don’t have a lot of money” stage, this could be a valuable deal. Also, they have participated in Restaurant Week in the past, so if they do it again this summer then it is absolutely worth enjoying French food here.
So on to dinner. We kicked it off with an amuse-bouche of duck confit. The duck was chopped up and in a crispy pastry – kind of like in an egg roll. Â The texture reminded me of tuna fish, which I can’t really stand, so after one bite, I was done with this dish. Â Instead, I ate a brioche which was fabulous – very yummy bread. I didn’t try the bread but I did like the amuse-bouche (I also like tuna fish). I thought it was pretty savory and it had a nice accompanying sauce.
Next we were served foie gras with Sauternes aspic (a wine, in case you were confused). We were informed that this foie gras was prepared the same way it is prepared in France. I never tried foie gras before, so I followed everyone else, spread it on some toast, and took a bite. Â It had the consistency of butter and for me, had a really bad after taste. Â When something doesn’t taste good, I normally try to wash it down with a beverage so I reached for the Chateau Prost 2003 Sauternes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the drink down. Â It tasted like a thick whiskey that had gone bad. Â Completely agree. This was my least favorite course. I’ve tried foie gras before but it’s not for me. I thought the texture was even richer and waxier than butter, more like Crisco, and the jelly of quince on top of it reminded me of sour Vaseline…if you could imagine what that may taste like. I also disliked the wine and thought it was like cider or a spoiled fruit juice with bourbon. Â But to be fair, perhaps our taste buds are not sophisticated yet because the other diners at the table absolutely loved both the foie gras and wine. So if you think you have a knack for it, then definitely give it a try.
Fortunately, the next course redeemed itself. Â We had grilled lobster in a coriander broth. Â The lobster was deliciously sweet, and several people at the table were even dipping bread into the broth (I didn’t because I ate bread the past two courses).Â I thought this was absolutely delicious and what made this lobster stand out among other lobster dishes was that it Â was soaked in that great coriander broth. This is a must-order for me and I wish I had some more right now. This course was paired with a Sancerre Les Tuilieres 2008 Michel Redde. I thought this was very crisp. Agreed, this was crisp and refreshing; a delightful complement to the lobster.
I also enjoyed the next course we were served, as it was a black sea bass with spring morels (mushrooms) and jumbo white asparagus. The morels were very delicious and were perfectly paired with the fish. I loved the crispy skin to the fish and it was salty in just the right way. This was also paired with a Chateauneuf du Pape blanc 2007 Chateau Mont-Redon, which was also excellent.
The next course I had to sit out, as it was a lamb loin in pastry crust. I don’t know what it is about lamb, but I can’t eat it. There is something about this gamey aftertaste that makes me unable to eat it. Caryn on the other hand, liked it. Oh my did I love this. Lamb is one of my favorite meats, so I was looking forward to it as soon as I saw it on the menu. And since I’ve never had beef wellington, I was eager to try the lamb in a pastry crust. I thought it was perfect – it had great flavor, a fantastic sweet sauce and the pastry was a good flavor and texture balance to the meat and sauce. Since I couldn’t eat this course, I sipped on the Fleur de Fonplegade 2005 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. I found this wine to be light, but full of flavor. I thought this wine was perfect; it smelled lovely and it tasted smooth and light.
Next, we were served a roasted duck with orange sauce.Â Similar to the sea bass, I liked the crispy skin of the duck with the moist meat underneath. Duck isn’t my favorite, but I did enjoy this dish. This was served with a weird little pasta thing, that I found to be a little too gummy for my liking. It was similar to spaetzle, so the texture was right on for this kind of pasta. The rice on the other hand had a great hazelnut taste to it. Â The orange flavor, combined with the duck that was served tableside, was to die for. Â I’ve had duck only a few times in my life, but this visit to Le Perigord confirmed that I liked it. Served with this dish was a Chateau Carbonnieux 2005 Grand Cru Classe de Graves, which I found to be a little heavy. I really liked this wine because it was a little fuller and deeper, which paired nicely with the duck.
Caryn almost died when dessert was served. It was a souffle au Grand Marnier. I liked the sweet, citrus taste of the dessert. It was also fluffy so didn’t feel super heavy.Â Um, I did almost die. This tasted exactly like my mom’s Swedish pancakes (a superior version to crepes), but in a different form, so I was in heaven. It was unbelievably soft, creamy and sugary with a light orange flavor. It was awesome, to say the least. We were also given madeleines, a French shell-shaped cookie that was very buttery and delicious. Served with dessert was a Veuve Clicquot Brut.
I left Le Perigord full, but I’m not sure I’d return. I discovered that French food, or at least the French food at Le Perigord, and I are not the best of friends. While there were a few great dishes- the lobster and the duck, I’m still trying to get the foie gras taste out of my mouth. Â If you like French food though and that old restaurant classic charm, Le Perigord may be worth a trip. Agreed that French cuisine isn’t my favorite, but I actually really enjoyed the strong majority of dishes and wines served that night. Although, for the money (and my lack of funds), I’m not sure I’d be able to afford a return visit anytime soon. But if I had a little more disposable income (or if they participate in Restaurant Week again!) and was in the mood for a nice, adult-night out, I would definitely consider Le Perigord.The Basics Name: Le Perigord Location: 405 e. 52nd Street Who to take: Parents, a Date Price: More than we can afford on a regular basis, $$$$-$$$$$ Overall: Good French food, just a little pricier than we’re used to – 3.5 Stars