LE BERNARDIN TOP DINING EXPERIENCE IN NY


Few restaurants in New York have garnered the solid reputation that Le Bernardin has achieved, and even fewer have been able to maintain the consistency of quality that this revered establishment has sustained since its opening in 1986. In fact, Le Bernardin is the only Manhattan restaurant to have maintained its four star rating from the New York Times for such length of time.


To celebrate our recent milestone wedding anniversary, my husband and I visited Le Bernardin in hopes that we too would experience the exceptional food and service praised by critics and food lovers alike. Le Bernardin specializes in seafood that is minimally prepared, accomplishing spectacular  and intriguing flavor combinations with some of the highest quality ingredients I've encountered. Le Bernardin's pre-fixe menu includes four courses, of which the three savory courses are are chosen from the categories of: (1) Almost Raw, (2) Barely Touched and (3) Lightly Cooked. The menu sounds intriguing, doesn't it?

As soon as we decided on our entrees an amuse bouche was whisked onto our table. Shrimp ravioli, a whole shrimp steamed in a thin sheet of pasta, crowned with a tomato based foam and garnished with thinly sliced parsley. The entire dish was exceptional, the shrimp was sweet, succulent, and meaty, cooked so well that the shrimp almost leaned toward crisp, and toothsome if you will. It was an excellent introduction to Le Bernardin.


My husband's first course from the 'Almost Raw' menu, was an exquisite thin sheet of yellowfin tuna that had been pounded and elegantly draped over a crispy piece of crostini that had a splendid layer of foie gras spread on it. The pounded tuna was finished with olive oil and sprinkled with thinly sliced chives. The crunch from the bread against the the savory fish flesh highlighted the beautiful delicate and silky texture of this fish, as the flesh quickly disintegrated with the first bite. Additionally, the contrast of the soft sweetness from the foie gras in concert with the green chives, brought out an interesting flavor dimension to the yellowfin tuna, a wonderful richness that, in my view, is may be too delicate to detect if standing alone. 

Served with the pounded tuna was crisp, dry, almost effervescent white wine, Jorge Ordonez & Co. 2008 "Botani" Moscatel Secco from Malaga, Spain.  The wine had a beautiful floral bouquet, tropical fruit notes, and pleasant light body to complement the tuna. 


Also from the 'Almost Raw' menu, I had sea urchin that was sprinkled with seaweed salt, and accompanied by an ambrosial and fragrant citrus broth. It is a tantalizing combination of a savory citrus broth with a touch of sweetness that mingles and emulsifies with the luscious sea urchin roe yielding an experience similar to an airy mousse that disintegrates as soon it hits your tongue. It is not typical for me to request sea urchin, but I did so as a challenge, and I am glad I did because it has converted me to the sea urchin lover's camp. I would order this again, and I'm confident that most people would enjoy sea urchin if only they tasted the one at Le Bernardin.


Our second course, from the 'Barely Touched' menu, my husband had the seared langoustine, lightly stuffed with foie gras, over baby mache and wild mushrooms, drizzled with a white balsamic vinaigrette.  The texture of the langoustine was an adroit balance of firm and succulent, and the sweet fresh flavors reflected the quality of ingredients and exceptional preparation. The sauce was at once rich, but harmonized by a beautiful touch of acidity that worked to enhance the sweetness of the foie gras, and unify the different components of the dish. It is without a doubt, one of the best things we've ever eaten.

Served with the langoustine was the Karthaueserhof 2008 "Eitelsbacher Karthaueserhofberg" Riesling Feinherb from the Mosel, Germany. This lightly sweet wine offered notes of apple, tropical fruit, hints of honey and a nice mineral finish.


Also from the 'Barely Touched' menu, was the warm lobster carpaccio with thin slices of heart of palm, drizzled with orange vinaigrette, sprinkled with very thinly sliced chives. This was an interesting play of flavors that showcases lobster at its best. The supple tender crunch of hearts of palm worked  beautifully to emphasize the meaty and tender flesh of the lobster, while the warm vinaigrette accentuated the exceptional sweetness of the lobster meat. It's a combination deserves to be called intriguing, creative and ingenious.

 

For the third course from the lightly cooked menu, my husband had the Japanese kobe beef ($125 supplement to the $110 pre-fix menu).  The kobe beef was seared lightly on each side, and was so tender that it came apart with the press of a fork. Potatoes tasted like they may have been cooked in duck fat, which concentrated the wonderful potato flavors. This plate could best be described as sinful, excessive and indulgent, my husband thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Served with the kobe beef was the La Croix de Beaucaillou 2004 Saint-Julien from Bordeaux, France, which is an elegant full-bodied cuvee brimming with notes of black cherries and black raspberry. The integrated sweet tannins and fruit flavors of this Bordeaux paired beautifully with the succulent fillets of kobe beef.

 

Accompanying the kobe beef steak was the truffle herb salad, which included tarragon, a variety of greens, and painfully thinly shaved black truffles to accompany kobe beef.

 

From the 'Lightly Cooked' menu was baked lobster on a bed of truffled foie gras stuffing, with a sweet brandy red wine sauce. Much like the mastery of cooking technique accomplished on the aforementioned shell fish dishes, the baked lobster was just as tender and sweet. This dish is another example of high quality ingredients cooked simply, and beautifully supported by a luxurious sauce that punctuated the natural sweetness of the lobster.

 

The cheese plate included a sheep's milk cheese from France, goat cheese from Spain, cow's milk aged with white truffles covered in white truffle oil, Epoisses, a blue cheese that was potent and overpowering, served with a date pate and walnut dessert in the center. ($22)

Accompanying this cheese plate was the La Coume du Roy "Vieux Muscat" Muscat de Rivesaltes from the Roussillon, which is a cloyingly sweet dessert wine exhibiting a pinkish orange amber color, offering flavors of marmalade, other jammy fruits and spice. 


For dessert, I had the hazelnut, with gianduja cream, oregon hazelnuts, honey, banana, and brown butter ice cream. Delicious.

 
Also for dessert was the chocolate peanut, dark chocolate, peanut and caramel tart, meyer lemon puree, peanut powder, praline citrus sorbet. This is one of the most popular items on the dessert menu.

Accompanying the chocolate peanut tart was a sherry from 1927, Bodegas Alvear "Solera 1927" Pedro Ximenez Sherry from Jerez, Spain. This is an extraordinary sherry with over 80 years of age to produce its dark amber color, and viscous body that offered notes of maple syrup, fruit jam and nutty flavor. It is an amazing experience to be able to taste this wine.

  

And after all of this, a surprise: a third dessert plate of passion fruit mousse cake topped with a citrus ice cream was delivered with a special wish written on the plate. This speaks to the superb ability of the Le Bernardin staff to make each one of the guests feel special by anticipating needs, accommodating requests, and delivering above expectations. A nice surprise and warm touch to end of an epic meal.
  
 

Eric Ripert knows flavors, textures, and refuses to compromise on quality. Every dish we had reflected ingredients that were expertly delineated but simultaneously complementing one other harmoniously like an orchestra where each instrument plays a significant role, but also works to help the others shine. Service is excellent, it is clear that the staff works hard to make everyone feel special and comfortable at the restaurant. This is my top recommendation for those seeking an amazing dining experience in New York. 

Le Bernardin
155 W 51st St
The Equitable Building
(between 6th Ave & 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 554-1515

Other recommended restaurants in New York
Eleven Madison Park
Del Posto

111 comments:

Simply Life said...

wow! what a special meal!

Gabriela said...

Oh wow, dining at Le Bernadin is a dream of mine, your meal looks absolutely incredible! What a great way to spend your anniversary :)

Belinda @zomppa said...

Gorgeous!! I can't get my eyes off the dessert....

high low said...

Happy belated anniversary! I'm not a sea urchin fan, but would consider trying it if I was at Le Bernardin!

Astra Libris said...

I'm so happy you had such a beautiful anniversary celebration! A grand dining experience for a grand occasion, indeed!

Gloria said...

Happy belated anniversary! this dinner look georgeous!! and nice pics, gloria

doggybloggy said...

I love sea urchin - and what a luxurious meal -

Kim said...

Happy Anniversary! Going to La Bernadin sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate. Chef Ripert seems like such a nice man and the food looks impeccable.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Happy Anniversary! This looks like a truly memorable meal. The restaurant is one door down from my office - so it's about time I paid a visit.

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby. Its been quite a week for you guys..moving, celebrating anniversary and such. I love the plate of sea urchin and definitely all the 3 choice of dessert

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Happy Anniversary! And this meal is awesome.

5 Star Foodie said...

Happy Anniversary! This looks like an amazing meal! I can't wait to eat at Le Bernadin - we have reservations coming up in a few weeks!

kat said...

Happy Anniversary that certainly does sound like a special treat dinner

Pam said...

Happy A! What a beautiful place and meal...so fun!

xoxo

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Is that or is that not an unforgettable meal? Lovely shots and I am in love with that last dish! :) Happy Anniversary!

♥peachkins♥ said...

Happy Anniversary!

lostpastremembered said...

Happy anniversary indeed. Bernadin is one of my favorites in the world... and the way he does sea urchin in a pasta or a cold/hot soup... genius in the kitchen. You really captured the place beautifully with amazing shots. You should try cooking with that sherry... knock your socks off. Really great post. Christine!!!

El said...

Happy Anniversary. Looks like a lovely meal.

Sara said...

This is such an unbelievable post! I love the way you described everything...I could almost taste it just by your descriptions. I'm so intrigued by the sea urchin! And the kobe looked amazing! Happy Anniversary!

Dolce said...

This looks very tantalizing, a very special meal and unbelievable beautiful plates (and great pictures too).

Happy Anniversary :)

TKW said...

Happy Anniversary!! That meal looks EPIC!! Since that's probably the closest I'll ever get to eating at Le Bernadin, I say Thank You!

Bridgett said...

Happiest Anniversary to you both.

Tiny Urban Kitchen said...

That looks incredible, and totally brings back I have to agree with you, I still think Le Bernardin is my favorite restaurant in NYC when it comes to the food. It's just absolutely perfect.

Sherry said...

This sounds amazing! Love the surprise dessert, too!

alison said...

happy anniversary!a wonderful meal,e perfect atmosphere!

Chef E said...

Hubby took me there for our anniversary before we moved up to the north east, and I had this tower of ceviche...I long to go back there one day, if only to eat that ceviche again!

Happy Anniversary!

Margot said...

The meal looks absolutely decadent. I love the way you describe every detail of each dish. Happy 1st anniversary to you both!

PS - I have the recipes for the first two of the desserts you had. I suppose that was the benefit of going to pastry school. If you're interested in ever trying to recreate them at home let me know. I'd be happy to pass along.

A Year on the Grill said...

I love these slice of life posts... wonderful description to go with your incredible meal!

And of course, HAppy Anniversary to you both

Katherine Aucoin said...

What a memorable anniversary meal! I can see why they have maintained their rating for over 20years. Very creative menu, everything looks so elegant.

Ravenous Couple said...

awesome recap...was that ripert with the gold medallion? :)

Juliana said...

Wow, what an interesting and exquisite dinner...I'd love to try this place :-)

Angie's Recipes said...

wow...what a special anniversary dining experience!

Angie said...

WOW, that's an amazing experience, I actually didn't know about this place, so I am very excited to put it on my list to visit next time we are in NYC!

Kitchen M said...

OmG! What a luxurious meal! I guess this is where I'm headed next time when I visit NYC. :)
Happy Anniversary to you both!

Lady Boheme said...

Hi, i love this recipe, Thanks for your nice comment. Kisses

Gulmohar said...

That's a special meal for your special occasion :-)Guess you had a great anniversary day and I wish you many more returns of the day !!

Megan said...

Happy Anniversary! Looks like you had the most amazing meal. Le Bernardin is on my list of restaurants I must go to some day. I definitely would have gotten that hazelnut dessert too.

Joie de vivre said...

I am extremely jealous.

Joanne said...

Going to Le Benardin is an absolute dream of mine! The meal looks fantastic.

Chow and Chatter said...

wow amazing meal love it
Happy Anniversary my sweet friend
Rebecca

Anja said...

happy anniversary. thats looks (and sounds) like a really successful evening. i love all courses.

Tiago Lopes said...

wow lovely plates....congratulations for the blog...

tasteofbeirut said...

Sounds lovely! With places like that in New York, why bother to go to France!
I remember sea urchins plucked from the sea and eaten on the spot in Beirut. I wonder how and where he gets his from!
That meal was so exquisite. Which plate was your favorite?

Mom on the Run said...

That is an incredible dining experience. Well deserved :)

Mimi said...

Happy Anniversary! Such an exquisite meal for your celebration.
Mimi

A Canadian Foodie said...

Happy Anniversary, Christine! If you have to live in this bloody city, at least you can enjoy these kinds of perks! We were in NYC last March and I wish I had read this post before then. I will be back, but not for a bit. I have never even heard of this restaurant, or this chef before. I enjoyed your writing. Your carefully selected words really provided me with a great eye into what would be possible there. I appreciate the time you took to let all of us enjoy your evening. It is now on my list.
Valerie

Carolyn Jung said...

I'm so envious. My husband and I have vowed the next time we're in NY, we are splurging on dinner there. I've had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Ripert, and even judging a fun cookie contest with him. He's as charming as can be, and boy, can the man cook. ;)

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Happy anniversary! What a lovely way to celebrate!

Meena said...

Happy Anniversary...loved your awesome description of the food!!!

Trissa said...

Christine!!! Happy Anniversary! I absolutely cannot wait to try Le Bernardin! I'm all booked and so excited after reading this post!

Debinhawaii said...

Happy Anniversary to you! What an incredible meal--so many wonderful dishes. It's going on my to-do list for sure.

Barbara said...

Fabulous review, Christine! I have been there and you are right on with every comment. The food is brilliant, the service perfect and the ambiance soft and private. I loved it!
Your lovely photos made my mouth water.
Happy Belated Anniversary!

Anncoo said...

Sorry I'm late~~Happy Anniversary.

Trix said...

Happy Anniversary!! This was a great review, I've always wanted to go to Le Bernardin.

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Happy Anniversary! I like the way the menu is presented with the three choices! What a lovely meal to celebrate a special day.

The Chef In My Head said...

Raise your right hand and repeat after me..."I WILL NEVER NEVER TAKE THE AVAILABILITY OF FABULOUS RESTAURANTS FOR GRANTED" ~LeslieMichele

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Your description of each of the courses is amazing - great post! Now I really wish to go to Le Bernardin.

Pam said...

What a wonderful way to spend your anniversary. What a lovely dining experience - thanks for sharing.

zenchef said...

You have no idea how jealous i am right now. What a beautiful experience! Thanks so much for sharing.

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

Astonishing! An ethereal dining experience.

Congratulations on your anniversary, on the heels of your upcoming move. All best wishes!

Penny said...

Christine, You should be writing restaurant reviews for the New York Times. Excellent descriptions and fabulous pictures.

Piper said...

You take beautiful pictures, wow! And what beautiful presentations. I can see why this is a favorite!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Wow, what an exceptional meal! I have never had anything like it. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Happy Anniversary!

Tara said...

happy anniversary! everything looks outstanding!

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

A fantastic post with splendid food at a super place for a fantastic reason...gurl u rock....
fantastic day....

SashaInTheKitchen said...

wow that dinner looks incredible. I've been meaning to make it there so I guess I will have to make a resi soon. great post

Cocina Savant said...

I am far too envious to say much other than some day I will eat some of Eric Ripert's creations. Congrats on the anniversary and I hope you two have many more.

Diana Bauman said...

What a gorgeous evening! Happy Anniversary Christine. So funny, I was just reading from another blogging friend about the Pedro Ximenez Sherry. I will be in Jerez in May! Can't wait to look into this wine. I've had moscatel but never the Pedro Ximenz Sherry. Can't wait :D

sweetlife said...

happy anniversary...what a great and eventful meal...delish!!

sweetlife

ChefDruck said...

Happy anniversary Christine. Le Bernardin is my favorite restaurant in the world, without question. Eric Rippert is a genius. No one else can make fish as ethereal. I've also eaten at Blue in Grand Cayman, also created by him, and it is quite good as well.

You recreated the meal so beautifully that it was almost as good as being there. My mouth watered profusely. Your pictures were gorgeous too. I've had that tuna with the foie gras at both Blue and Le Bernardin and I dream of it often!

Thank you for taking me back to le Bernardin from the comfort of my couch, and without the pricetag!

sophia said...

Holy cow. Or should I say holy fish? Either way, omg. What a fantastic place...and the perfect place to celebrate your special day!

But how did you get such amazing pics? I can imagine a fancy restaurant like that would have terrible dim lighting!

Art and Appetite said...

Happy belated anniversary! Such a wonderful place to celebrate it at, gosh the food looks fab! The presentation itself is to die for. Oooh la la

Joie de vivre said...

Thank you, as always, for visiting. :)

Haddock said...

Nice, especially the ambience.

biz319 said...

Happy Belated Anniversary! What a way to spend it!

My husband and I have done Chef Tastings before - I absolutely love it because it pushes me out of my comfort zone - kudos for trying the sea urchin!

Sadly, after dropping a couple hundred bucks for dinner, he always wants to stop at Burger King for a Whopper because it isn't a lot of food! :D

Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog said...

I'd like visiting this charming place specialized in seafood...I can't see more the photos of the desserts...too much for a sweet-lover ;)

Christine, Happy Anniversary!!

Have a great week,

Gera

Pam said...

Happy St. Patty's Day too!

xoxo

elra said...

Definitely will try this restaurant next time I visit NYC. The lobster look so delicious, love the sea urchin as well. Everything feature here just look so elegant and delicious. Thanks for the review.

lisaiscooking said...

What an amazing meal! Some day, I hope to dine there.

Katy ~ said...

Methinks I'm too much of a hillbilly to dine in such splendor...

Happy anniversary to a real lady!

OysterCulture said...

What an amazing culinary treat and what a great way to top off a special occasion like an anniversary. What a great review and the photos and descriptions had me checking Orbitz for flights to NYC.

Happy Anniversary,

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

I just came across your blog and I am so glad I did!

Michelle said...

What an interesting menu! I would love to taste the lobster carpaccio! Such an interesting layering of flavors!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, an awesome meal! Everything looks so interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,

Rosa

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy anniversary. Your dinner at Le Bernardin sounds fabulous in every way. To keep it's four stars that long it had to be good. The yellowfin tuna with the foie gras sounded to die for. I was surprised how much foie gras was included in several of the courses. We love it. I wonder if everyone does?

Hope you had a great St. Patrick's day in the big apple. When you get a chance, please stop by my kitchen. I have something for you.
Sam

Table Talk said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary!
Happy you shared the meal with us (drool).

alwayswinner786 said...

Happy Anniversary!
Awesome dinner wonderful way to celebrate a special day.
Thanks for sharing.
Love Always.

Crystal said...

What an incredible meal and your descriptions and wine notes are superb. No wonder the restaurant has it's 4 stars

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Christine,

First, happy anniversary! Second, holy cow!!!!! What an experience. Again, I'm experiencing these things vicariously through you.

Laura

Heavenly Housewife said...

Happy anniversary daaaaaahling, you deserve to celebrate in style. I am majority jealous of this fab restaurant. I'd love to go there one day.
*kisses* HH

Claudia said...

You two know how to celebrate. This is all a work of art brought to the table. A feast for eyes as well as taste. In awe.

Mari's Cakes said...

Must have a wonderful dinning experience. Food looks fantastic! I love the passion fruit mousse cake.

Miss my New York!

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

happy anniversary!!! and thank you for inviting us! may you have more wonderful, blissful and bless-ful years ahead of you!

Sean said...

Gorgeous review!

Happy anniversary to you both!!!

Danielle said...

awww....Happy Anniversary!

Dee said...

Beautiful meal, Happy Anniversary!

MaryMoh said...

Beautiful setting and fabulous food. That sea urchin just blows my mind ...haha

Pam said...

Christine, please come by and see me I have a surprise for you!

xoxo

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Happy Anniversary! The restaurant and your dining experience look incredible! I had to smile at the food category names ;)

Julia said...

Happy Anniversary! What a special treat!

~Dana said...

This is on my list to dine at for my next NY trip!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

What a great meal - so lovely that they personalised your dessert like that.

Lori said...

Happy Anniversary! That menu does sound so intriguing, and fun to select from that criteria. The lobster looks amazing!

Sook said...

Happy anniversary! The photos look amazing!

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Patty said...

Holy Smokes! Happy anniversary and Wow to dining at Le Bernardin! The food and your descriptions are, as always, mouth watering and outrageous. The sea urchin? Incredible. I have never had it and have been incredibly hesitant to try it, but your description makes me want to go for the challenge. Perhaps I'll see about booking a reservation at Le Bernardin before I go up in a couple weeks!

Flour said...

Beautiful photos, elegant "plate-by-plate" descriptions...I almost feel like I was there.
Sounds like a dreamy place to dine & celebrate an intimate occasion. Happy Belated Anniversary!

Brad said...

What an amazing way to celebrate, thanks for sharing the experience, the food loks and sounds ultra cool

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It's actually on my short (actually quite long) list for the "big" birthday dinner in NYC in May... Decisions, decisions... Certainly looks like a unique experience...

Debbie Moore said...

I want to go there.....beautiful food! envy with you living in NY....I love NY! the city of all cities!

thepenandthepear

www.dhaleb.com said...

WOW. You guys sure know how to celebrate anniversaries!

It's definitely on our list of restaurants to try one of these days. And your review certainly makes me giddy with anticipation!