My wife & I both used to work at Le Titi, back when Pierre Pollin was Chef/Owner. I had just left Le Francais when Michael Maddox was Chef de Cuisine, not long before Pierre retired and sold the restaurant to him. I'm glad I left when I did, but I still regret seeing such a classic mainstay closing soon.
There aren't many old school places left that haven't closed or reconcepted.
I can think of a few survivors. Le Vichyssois, Michael in Winnetka, Everest, Gabriel's, Le Bouchon & Les Nomades come to mind, but the French/Fine Dining connection is fading like a sad sunset out here. Every once in while a big gun from NY comes down and thinks he can enlighten us, but it seems they always land hard and have problems getting back up.
Meanwhile, a slew of younger chefs are giving away product to get people in the door, whoring out to any media outlet that'll listen to drag the remaining populace out to eat at their establishment, well knowing that the once the next hipster driven hot spot opens, they'll be left out and given the cold pork shoulder.
And the sad thing is, I still want the dream. To cook the way that I like to cook, and have customer enjoy every bite. To be challenged to become more dynamic and interesting than my peers, ensuring steady business and success.
One can always dream, right?