Le Bernardin

By grace.g.yang ยท November 1, 2011
Under: American,Asian,Desserts,Dinner,French,Michelin 2010 Guide,Michelin 2011 Guide,Midtown West,My Life,Prix-fixe,seafood

For Ken’s birthday, we were lucky enough to have both parents visiting us in New York. We wanted to go somewhere special (it was our parents’ last night in the city) so I was lucky enough to score a reservation from Le Bernardin’s wonderful PR department. We were very excited to see the redesigned space and Ken was really excited to eat lots of lobster. The last time I visited Le Bernardin was in 2007; I had a wonderful meal there and thought the tasting menu was absolutely amazing, especially since it was so focused on seafood and not many other different types of proteins. This time was even better; the decor was updated and much more airy and open, the food remains consistently delicious and beautifully presented and the service is one of the best and most accommodating out of high-end restaurants.

The family decided to do a four course tasting instead of the seven course; we had lunch at The Modern earlier that afternoon and none of us were prepared for a larger meal. The menu is separated into four different sections: almost raw, barely touched, lightly cooked and then dessert. We started with a celebratory toast of champagne and then were presented with lots of different bread options. My favorite was definitely the rosemary olive baguette (same as last time!) but the raisin bread was also very fantastic:


The bread is brought to your table, still warm from the oven, and is accompanied with salted butter:


As an amuse bouche, we were served house cured salmon with pumpernickel bread, chanterelle mushrooms with herbs and lobster bisque:


The chanterelle mushrooms were so meaty and flavorful that my mom actually asked if it was on the menu! Sadly, it wasn’t, but I assured everyone that the best was yet to come. The lobster bisque was the best lobster bisque Ken’s ever had; rich and the small shot of soup had large chunks of lobster claw, the most tender portion of the lobster!

It’s really difficult choosing what to order at a restaurant where everything is great, however, I was really pleased with all of our choices. For the almost raw portion, Ken’s parents started with the mesclun salad, a salad with market herbs and vegetables with Balsamic-shallot vinaigrette:


Ken ordered the cured wild salmon with pickled sunchoke and heart of palm and a cardamom-ginger vinaigrette:


My mom ordered the wild striped bass tartare with baby fennel, crispy artichoke, black olive oil and lemon:


And I ordered the fluke sashimi with micro watercress, avocado and Jalapeno lime broth:


For our next course, we all ordered something different – Ken had the ultra-rare tuna:


Ken’s mom ordered the peekytoe crab with tequila guacamole and potato crisps and an Aji pepper-lime emulsion:


I ordered the Octopus with purple basil, fermented black bean, peach sauce vierge, and ink-miso vinaigrette:


I don’t remember the name of the dish Ken’s dad ordered, but the presentation was beautiful:


I think it might have been a butter poached lobster tail with purple potatoes:


For our main course, my mom started with the crispy black bass with pickled cucumbers and black garlic-Persian lime sauce:


Pickled cucumbers:


Ken and his mom both ordered baked Maine lobster with a eggplant terrine and whiskey-black peppercorn sauce:


Pouring the peppercorn sauce:


And Ken’s dad and I both ordered the barely cooked wild salmon in a yuzu emulsion:


Me with the birthday boy:


And a photo of all of us before we started our main courses:


My wild salmon was tender like tofu (it really was barely cooked) and it was seasoned with just a little sea salt and yuzu. The servers even brought more yuzu sauce because I had already used all of it before I could finish all of the salmon! I left a couple bites of the salmon because it was just too much food (especially with the multiple servings of raisin bread that I ended up having) but I think everyone was full (but not stuffed).

As we transitioned to dessert, we were presented with an egg shell filled with milk chocolate pot de creme, caramel foam maple syrup and a grain of salt, appropriately called “The Egg”:


I ordered the chocolate olive oil cake with marcona almond and toasted bread:


Ken’s mom ordered the banana praline pate fueilletee with caramelized banana and hazelnut praline cream:


Ken ordered the peanut; salted peanut caramel with maralumi milk chocolate and malted milk crunch:


My mom ordered the concord grape; light citrus cheese cake, concord grape sphere and pine nut sable:


And Ken’s dad ordered the yuzu parfait with crispy sesame rice, ginger and green tea ice cream:


We passed all of the desserts around, including Ken’s birthday cake, and really enjoyed all of them. My favorite was the concord grape because it has interesting concord grape spheres that popped when you lightly punctured it. The other desserts were good (but not as good as I remembered – the taste of the rich chocolate dessert I had back in 2007 is still on my mind!). We were presented with four small desserts to end our night:


A caramel filled chocolate, a cannelle, an Earl Grey macaron and a pate a choux filled with pastry cream. My favorite was definitely the cannelle – those are difficult to find really good ones and Le Bernardin’s were excellent (and very cute!)

We had a really amazing time at Le Bernardin and now it’s another restaurant we can put into our ‘special restaurant’ repertoire. We saw Eric Ripert walking around the dining room, greeting regulars and first time guests. It’s always nice to see restaurant owners/chefs putting time and effort into their restaurant, especially after they become famous (Chef Ripert has his own show on PBS, is on the Today show all the time and he used to guest judge on Top Chef!)

Le Bernardin on Urbanspoon

Reader Comments

Definitely sounds like it was special. Every dish looks divine! And it’s cool that you also saw Chef Ripert walking around. I just booked a lunch reservation at Le Bernardin for my husband’s birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

Written By Rowena on November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

My girlfriend and I were just there last week. We did the 9-course chef’s tasting menu with the wine pairing. One of the best meals I’ve had in my entire life. Eric is a master.

Written By MD on November 16th, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

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