To dine at the three Michelin star restaurant Le Bernardin with the whole family, you must be either quite wealthy or celebrating life. In our case, it was most certainly the latter! (Fortunately or not, this is another debate.) In any case, the dinner was absolutely flawless, from the beginning to the end. The setting, the service, the wine, the food, not a single gripe!
Oh, I spoke too soon, I do have one! I love when chefs, especially in this category of restaurant, make an appearance with a clean apron to greet each table. It’s maybe a tad boring for them, but I like seeing who is behind an excellent meal, and maybe (definitely!) take some pictures. Unfortunately, this is not chef Eric Ripert’s routine. With his reputation and his successful business, Eric Ripert has embraced another routine that is close to his heart. He divides his day in three parts: a third of the day for himself, a third for his work, and a third for his family.
Every morning chef Ripert – a fervent Buddhist – starts his day with an hour of meditation in his apartment followed by a long walk alone in Central Park. From Central Park he walks to his office where he starts the second third of his day devoted to his work. Around lunchtime he is at his restaurant, where about 150 employees work. The first thing he does is to test a dozen different sauces: “It is the most important part,” he says. He starts his round with Vincent Robinson, who’s been the head Saucier at Le Bernardin since 1986.
It’s at lunchtime that Eric Ripert makes his appearance in the very elegant dining room to chat with the crowd, especially the regulars. The décor of the place is very warm and luxurious, marked by golden oak wood panels on the walls, the dark brown leather on the chairs, the five huge cylindrical vases with giant white orchids, and a spectacular frame showing sea waves. The spaced tables and the soundproofing provide patrons with privacy and comfort.
Ripert made his choice a while ago: he would have one and only one restaurant. “You have to be close to your team,” he says. “It is the only way to correct small details… There’s an intensity when I’m around,” Ripert says. And while opting for only one restaurant, he thought he might as well make it a three star restaurant.
The menu heavily emphasizes seafood; it’s possible to have a special order for meat or duck, for example, but this is definitely not chef Ripert’s first choice.
We ordered Le Bernardin Tasting Menu and the dish show started. Each dish is simply beautiful and delicate. The ingredients are all balanced and intelligently thought out. There is not a single faux-pas in Ripert’s menu.
Hamachi – Flash-marinated Hamachi: young radishes and amaranth crisp, yuzu vinaigrette.
Calamari – Crab-filled calamari a la plancha, bamboo shoot-wood ear mushroom pot au feu.
Seafood truffle pasta – Scallop, shrimp, lobster; tagliatelle black truffle emulsion.
Snapper – Crusted red snapper; pickled Persian cucumbers. Green curry-goat yogurt emulsion.
Black bass “Surf & Turf” – Crispy black bass and braised veal cheek; parsnip emulsion.
Clementine – Coconut yuzu sorbet, clementine snow.
Peruvian chocolate – Warm chocolate cake, caramelized fig, spiced chocolate ice cream.
The choice of wine was a challenge as the restaurant has an tremendous wine list.
The sommelier suggested the Pouilly-fuissé 2014 for the first half of the dinner and Saint Joseph, Nomade 2013 to finish the dinner in style!
You can trust Le Bernardin to provide you with a perfect dinner in a perfect setting!
Le Bernardin tasting menu – 7 course menu: $180 – $270 with wine pairing
Chef’s tasting menu – 8 course menu: $220 – $360 with wine pairing
155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
📞 (212) 554-1515