'Vetri' changing name to 'Le Bec-Fin'

Jeff Benjamin (left) and Marc Vetri outside Vetri at 1312 Spruce St. will get a visit from Georges Perrier (inset).

Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin know that the building that houses Vetri at 1312 Spruce St. had a storied past as the first home of Le Bec-Fin, which Georges Perrier operated on that spot from 1970 till its move to Walnut Street in 1983.

With the closing over the weekend of Le Bec-Fin (a year after Perrier's own departure), Vetri wanted to do something to pay homage to Perrier.

"Georges has launched so many careers and brought so much to Philadelphia with his amazing cooking and his big personality," Vetri told me.

"Even when I came here [in 1998] and didn't know him at all he took me in like I worked for him for years. He gave me so much advice in the early stages of Vetri and sent me in so many customers when I was doing four covers a night. He is a true legend. I just think Le Bec and Georges' legacy should be celebrated."

So for three nights next month (July 18, 19, and 20), Vetri's shingle will read "Le Bec-Fin." Vetri will set Perrier loose in his old kitchen to bang 'em out again and to party like it's 1970. (Point of fact: Perrier started in that tiny kitchen in 1967 when it was La Panetiere, owned by Peter Von Starck.)

Vetri and Vetri chef Adam Leonti sat with Perrier and longtime friend Chip Roman to hash out the menu:


Egg with caviar

Foie gras with Szechuan peppercorns and Sauternes jelly

Salmon mille-feuille

First: snails with champagne and hazelnut butter

Second: whole poached sweetbread with veal sauce and black truffle

Third: galette de crab Le Bec-Fin

Fourth: foie gras ravioli with black truffle

Fifth: beef filet with potato dauphinois

Sorbet and a dessert cart (actually, a big display in the middle of the dining room)

The $155 price (plus wine) is the same price as Vetri is now. A wine pairing will be offered as well.

Reservations are being taken at Vetri, 215-732-3478. (Update: it has sold out.)

Quiz: Anyone remember the names of the three restaurants that operated at 1312 Spruce St. after Le Bec left and before Vetri opened?