[Shanghai Girl Eats] Bistro 321 Le Bec
Bistro 321 Le Bec | lebec.com.cn | Dianping
Address: 321 Xinhua Lu near Dingxi Lu / 新华路321号(近定西路)
Date visited: 2017.01 for dinner
Price: RMB600-1,000 per person
Will return: Definitely
What to get:
– Duck foie gras terrine with cognac “salt and pepper”
– Black truffle pasta and parmesan cheese
– XXL 600g rib-eye steak, bone marrow, port wine and shallots
– Mash potatoes
– Lemon tart
Bistro 321 Le Bec is one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai. Opened by Chef Nicholas Le Bec and his wife Yu, Le Bec serves the most indulgent of French foods.
Le Bec is housed in an entire villa on Xinhua Lu with different sections for general seating, private rooms, and an outdoor space when the weather is warm. The tables in the general seating area are pretty close to one another but I have never had a problem with this because I was probably at the obnoxious table. I have been seated all over different areas in the villa and I don’t think there is a bad place to sit. One time, I ate alone and was seated in a room with a large projector screen and watched Harry Potter 5 while I ate.
Le Bec has three private rooms of distinct size and decor (click links for photos). On the first floor, the Buddha Room seats 18 pax. On the second floor, the Dining Room seats 6-12 pax and opens up to a small balcony, and The Cellar seats 4-6 pax and, as the name suggests, is actually their wine cellar room so the temperature is a few degrees cooler than everywhere else and customers who like to pick their own bottles may come in and out.
Le bec is open for dinner on Tuesday and both lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday (closed all day Monday). There are two seating times for dinner: early 6:00pm/6:30pm or late 8:30pm. On fully booked nights, they ask the first seating to finish by 8:30pm and they will tell you this on the phone ahead of time. Lunch and dinner menus are the same as far as I can tell from my visits.
The menu is filled with traditional French dishes (think terrines, pates, frog legs, escargot, steak, and generally covers typical animals like chicken, lamb, duck as well as seafood). There is something for everyone except for vegetarians who will need to suffer with salads and side dishes. This is where diets come to die so prepare yourself.
French oysters (market price)
In Shanghai, oysters are not a must-get but rather a nice-to-have for me since moderately priced high quality oysters are hard to come by. The oysters we had here were pretty tasty and sizable. The normal price is half dozen No. 2 XL Gillardeau oysters for RMB350 but there was a special on the day we visited for 9 oysters so we took that instead.
Foie gras de canard mi, cuit au cognac “sel et poivre” / half-cooked duck foie gras terrine with cognac “salt and pepper” (RMB280)
Foie gras terrine in a huge jar with warm toasted bread that the staff keeps offering more of — a deadly sin is what this is. I love this.
Les profiteroles d’escargots, creme d’ail / snails “profiteroles” with garlic cream (RMB110)
Escargots stuffed in bread. I think there is too much bread to snail ratio and I tasted more garlic cream drenched bread than snail.
Pates aux truffes noires fraiches d’hiver melanosporum et parmesan / melanosporum winter fresh black truffle pasta and parmesan cheese (small RMB350; large RMB700)
Previously, there was a similar penne on the menu with iberico ham and truffle specks (but not large truffle shavings) and that was really, really good. They have since switched to this pasta, which doesn’t have ham but has truffle shavings, which is equally really, really good.
Entrecote XXL 600g, os a moelle, jus porto echalotte / XXL 600g rib-eye steak, bone marrow, port wine and shallots (RMB800)
Le Bec makes an exceptional steak and priced at RMB800, this kind of preparation and taste in Shanghai is great value and worth it (three of us shoved this down our traps with our other dishes and thought we would never need to eat again). It is an expertly cooked juicy and tender steak with the right amount of fat on the sides. To top it off, the port wine sauce is amazing.
La puree Le Bec / Le Bec mashed potatoes (small RMB30; large RMB60)
When the Chinese said “add oil,” Le Bec did just that. If it came down to fries or mash potatoes here, I would choose the mash potatoes but unfortunately for my body, my friend ordered both. I personally love having super whipped and creamy mash potatoes with steak and this is perfectly that.
Les frites allumettes / french fries (RMB55)
Thin fries over thick fries for me so these are good, but not a must if there is mash potato on the table.
Tarte citron jaune, yuzu et meringue legere / lemon tart, yuzu and light meringue (RMB80)
Lemon tart is one of those desserts I usually try at a restaurant if I see it on the menu. This is exactly how I imagine a lemon tart should taste.