Michael Klein: Toujours l'amour: Le Bec bar now Tryst

Tryst is the new downstairs bar , the former Le Bar Lyonnais at Le Bec-Fin, with a frosted, lighted glass bar top and hearty French small plates.
Tryst is the new downstairs bar , the former Le Bar Lyonnais at Le Bec-Fin, with a frosted, lighted glass bar top and hearty French small plates. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 25, 2011

Nearly three decades ago, Georges Perrier opened Le Bar Lyonnais as a cozy lower-priced alternative to Le Bec-Fin upstairs at 1523 Walnut St.

Times changed. LBF dropped the fixed-price mandate and offers a la carte dining. A slew of other comfortable bars opened in the neighborhood.

Late last year, when Perrier and chef Nicholas Elmi rescinded their idea to sell the building, they decided to remake Le Bar Lyonnais.

The bar is now called Tryst. DAS Architects, which created the current look at LBF, had the joint gutted. The former cloakroom at the bottom of the steps is now an exclusive seating area. The bar area has cozy banquettes and small black-topped tables, behind a wavy wall sculpture. The bar - now sporting a frosted, lighted glass top - is gorgeously framed in whitewashed wood.

Elmi's hearty French small-plate menu (priced from $5 to $21) includes not one but two foie gras dishes. Nine beers include the local Yards (India pale ale) and the vaunted La Chouffe, a Belgian ale. Euros dominate the wine list, which has 50-plus by the glass. It's open Mondays through Saturdays from dinnertime on.

What's coming

The Wayne Hotel (139 E. Lancaster Ave.), which last housed Taquet, is building out an American restaurant called Paramour. (Tryst? Paramour? What gives?) Maurice Kim deRamus, a Culinary Institute of America grad whose resumé includes the casual Zen Sushi in Northern Liberties and A La Maison in Ardmore, is chef. It's up for October.

Percy Street Barbecue, at Ninth and South Streets, will set up a satellite barbecue shop in the Market & Shops at the Comcast Center in October. The shop will offer Erin O'Shea's sandwiches and sides. Co-owners Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov, meanwhile, are gearing up for a September opening of Federal Donuts in South Philadelphia.

Mike Stollenwerk has snapped up the southeast corner of 13th and Locust Streets, which has been Globar, Q Lounge, and Bump. Late this fall, Stollenwerk will relocate his flagship, Fish, from 1708 Lombard St.

Closings, hither and yon

Though we seem to be in the middle of a restaurant boomlet, here are three eateries that went dark recently: Pad Thai Shack, on 18th Street near Sansom; Trinacria, on DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell (where a sign says it will reopen next year after a renovation); and the newish Saloon in Jeffersonville.

Contact Michael Klein at mklein@philly.com and @phillyinsider on Twitter. Follow him at www.philly.com/food and catch his blog at http://www.philly.com/insider.

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