Nicholas Fanucci ran Georges Perrier's storied eatery from 2000-2002, when he decamped Philadelphia for the French Laundry in Yountville, California; he returned this year when news spread that Perrier was offering the building and business for sale.
"People are surprisingly happy in our request to wear a jacket," said Nicholas Fanucci, general manager and owner of the newly reopened Walnut Street restaurant Le Bec-Fin, which has a dress code for the beautiful central dining room.
The Gallic general manager has overseen an interior décor renovation that restored the restaurant to the original splendor of its golden age, complete with gleaming silverware, starched napkins and two glittering crystal chandeliers over the main dining room, whose capacity has been reduced from 18 to 11 tables to create a more intimate dining experience.
"The majority of our team is from the French Laundry and Per Se," says Fanucci, referencing chef/owner Thomas Keller's legendary destinations. The unabashedly French menu is the product of both classic technique and a modern approach to cuisine.
Newlyweds Lee Styer and Jessie Prawlucki, who co-own East Passyunk Avenue BYOB Fond, both put in time at Le Bec-Fin. Styer did a year as sous chef; Prawlucki finished her three-and-a-half year stint as pastry chef. "Chef Perrier definitely influenced me," said Styer, who visited the restaurant for a pre-opening cocktail party.
Though the dining room décor is not a significant departure from the Paris salon it was originally meant to evoke, "It's night and day in the kitchen," added Styer.
If you go
Le Bec Fin
1523 Walnut St.
Reservations and jackets required