Sunday, October 3, 2010

Seafood Heaven @ Michelin 3-Star Le Bernardin, NYC

Le Bernardin is one of a handful of NYC restaurants that was awarded 3 Michelin Stars and has earned many awards and achievements from New York Times, The James Beard Foundation, Gayot and Zagat. It was also rated the 15th Best Restaurant in the World in 2010 by Restaurant Magazine. The Head Chef/Owner Mr. Ripert has appeared on one episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and is hailed by many to be one of the greatest Seafood Chefs.

Le Bernardin

With such accolades I made our reservation a month in advance (the restaurant's maximum booking date) to make sure we got our seats. I booked it for 5:30pm leaving us time to eat and head down the street to watch the Tony Award Winning Broadway "Memphis".

Our expectations of Le Bernardin was set even higher because it was the only restaurant throughout our entire two week trip that required us to wear a suit which we had to make room for.

We arrived on time and were seated promptly. The restaurant was already filled with diners busy chatting and eating away. We were given a menu which included a couple of tasting menus and a 3 Course Prix-Fixe Menu. We asked our Waiter what is the best option to take since it is our first time and he recommended the Chef's Tasting Menu which "coincidentally" was the most expensive of the menus.

Amouse Bouche: Crab with Avocado and Potato Froth topped with Crisp Potato
Amouse Bouche: Crab with Avocado and Potato Froth topped with Crisp Potato
The crab had a creamy texture from the mixture of Cream and Avocado. It went well with the Potato Froth which to me was more like a puree. It was delicious.

Tuna: Smoked Yellowfin Tuna "Prosciutto"; Japanese Pickled Vegetables and Crispy Kombu
Our Yellowfin Tuna was smoked giving it a very smooth texture. The sourness of the Japanese Pickled Vegetables and crunchiness of Cripsy Kombu complemented the Tuna really well

Langoustine: Seared Langoustine, Mache, Wild Mushroom Salad; White Balsamic Vinaigrette
My Langoustine came with a Mache and Wild Mushroom Salad that was dressed with a White Balsamic Vinaigrette. The Langoustine was juicy, tender and was really good with the Balsalmic Vinaigrette and earthy Wild Mushrooms. This was a really nice Summery Dish

Monkfish: Pan Roasted Monkfish; Hon Shimeji Mushrooms; Turnip - Ginger Emulsion; Sake Broth
The Monkfish was perfectly Pan-Seared and was served with some Hon-Shimeji Mushrooms, Turnip-Ginger Emulsion in a Sake Broth. Definitely Japanese in Flavor I was surprised how the Turnip-Ginger Emulsion went so well with the Sake Broth.

Lobster: Baked Lobster; Pickled Golden Beet, Fennel and Citrus a la Nage
This was delicious! The lobster was a little chewy but perfectly cooked. I really liked the Citrus a la Nage Sauce which contained the right amount of citrus flavor and a hint of vanilla.

Black Bass
Black Bass: Crispy Black Bass, Lup Cheong and Beansprout Risotto, Mini Steamed Buns, Hoisin-Plum Jus
The Black Bass was cooked really well with the skin crisp and the meat still moist. The Hoisin-Plum jus actually went well with the fish and the Mini Steamed Bun was a good mop for the sauce. The only quip I had was the quality of the minced Lap Cheong (Chinese Preserved Meat Sausage) on top of the bun.

Apricot: Apricot Sphere, Fig, Sour Cherry Pearl, Candied Angelica
The apricot Sphere, Fig, Sour Cherry Pearl, Candied Angelica: This was really good! The Apricot Sphere is made like a huge caviar. A break into the sphere releases a Sweet and Sour Apricot Liquid that goes so well with the Sour Cherry Pearl, slice of Fig Slice and Candied Angelica. It was a good balance between sweet and sour.

Hazelnut: Gianduja Mousse, Hazelnuts, Honey, Banana, Brown Butter Ice Cream
The Hazelnut Dessert consisted of Gianduja Mousse, Hazelnuts, Honey, Banana and Brown Butter Ice Cream. It was a solid Chocolate Dessert that had everything that would go well with Chocolate.

Petite Fours
Petite Fours
We ended our meal with some Petite Fours two of which were sour in flavor and the other being sweet.

Overall I could see why Le Bernardin is touted as one of America's most influential Seafood Restaurant. The Chef's Tasting Menu had depth as it included Shellfish, Fish and Caviar that were all cooked using various French and Asian Techniques to draw out its natural flavors. Service was also immaculate as the Staff were professional but still had a certain warmth and friendliness.

Food: 4.8/5
Service: 4.5/5
Ambiance: 4.5/5
Price: $$$$$ (USD $250 per person including tips and taxes)

Contact Information
Address:787 7th Ave, New York, NY, United States
Tel: +1 212-554-1515
Web: Le Bernardin

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