My second lunch for my “NYC Eating Extravaganza” trip was at, Le Bernardin a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Le Bernardin has two prix fixe lunch options; the lounge option (aka bar area), 49.00 for 3-courses and the main dining room for 80.00 for 3-courses.
Lunch prices are a steal, compared to dinner prices, however after dining at Le Bernardin for lunch, I certainly would pay the dinner prices, the Prix Fixe $140 – 4 courses and even the Chef’s Tasting Menu – $205 per person.
I selected the main dining room option, as dining is an “experience,” for me, so I opted to pay more to dine in the dining room, opposed to the lounge and I was more interested in the dining room menu.
However, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good bar/lounge. I love to pull up a bar stool at the bar, order a cocktail and chat it up with the other bar patrons sitting next to me. You never know what type of character you might meet and the stories they will tell. Sometimes for better or worse. But, this was a trip to indulge, so one must dine among the white tablecloths.
Le Bernardin has a lot of history and has been in NYC since 1986. Apparently the chef, Eric Ripert is a celebrity in his own right. He is the chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin and has been a guest judge on multiple seasons of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.”
Upon arrival at Le Bernardin, Chelsie and I, were courteously greeted and promptly escorted to our white tablecloth covered table. Once seated, our server, who had a noticeable French accent (not sure if this was all part of the experience, French restaurant, equals French server or if he was an aspiring actor playing a French server, it is NYC after all) asked if we would like sparking or tap water.
We selected sparkling, and two refills later we received the bill for the non-alcoholic bubbles. You know how hindsight is 20/20 – well we should have selected the tap water, because after the bill came for our sparkling water, we could have purchased an additional prix fixe lunch. Some restaurants, have sparking as a part of a service, no extra charge. Apparently, not Le Bernardin, stick with the tap water.
Le Bernardin: Above – “Poached Halibut” romesco, brussel sprouts, yuzu scented sea urchin emulsion
The server, also brought various types of house made bread, which included a gluten-free bread for Chelsie. I would like to make an observation about gluten-free options in NYC, versus San Francisco. San Francisco is a very progressive city, compared to old school NYC.
However, NYC’s gluten-free options, far surpass San Francisco restaurants. In NYC, most restaurants had whole menu’s dedicated to gluten-free and almost all the restaurants had an in-house made gluten-free bread; which was not only edible, but was actually flavorful and had you reaching for more. Difficult to do with gluten-free bread and I’m not even gluten-free, but i tried each and every one that was offered.
Ambiance – It was lunch time, as a result there were many tables booked for business lunches, so not much in terms of ambiance. I suspect, if dining in the evening, it might be more intimate, as the dining room is small, but the tables are close together, as a result you over-hear conversations happening at the tables next you. I should have eavesdropped on some “wall street” stock tips.
Service – I felt like a Queen while dining at Le Bernardin, every time i went to use the restroom, my white napkin was promptly folded, the “French” server would pull my table out for me, so I could comfortable seat myself back in my seat. Everyone was very responsive to our needs, timing of courses were appropriately timed according to our eating pattern. Overall, the service was impeccable, A++.
Preparation – As for the food, not a lot of surprises, just what you expect, classical french cuisine. But with modern twist on plating and pops of colors on each plate.
French sauces, oh the sauces, I’m a big fan of french sauces. A french sauce can turn an everyday dish, into an extraordinary one. Both of our main courses had sauces, which were rich, aromatic and perfectly seasoned.
However, the star of the entire “show” at Le Bernardin, were the french desserts (in my opinion). They were the star of the whole dining experience, which is saying a lot, as I am not a dessert person. Can you say decadent, light, works of art on a plate AND even a gluten-free option. Both of the photos of the desserts are in the post (again, sorry about the quality of the photos – phone shots). “They” say “we eat with our eyes,” well look at those desserts, need I say more!
Out of all the restaurants that we dined at, I dare say this was my favorite. Which includes the yet to be reviewed Eleven Madison Park Restaurant. And is up next on the “NYC Eating Extravaganza” trip and will be my final review for our trip. Stay tune.