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Le Bernardin - New York, NY

If You Love Seafood, Then Le Bernardin is a Must!


Restaurant Category : American (New), Seafood

Le Bernardin - New York, NY: Le Bernardin undoubtedly elevates cooking to an art form, combining seafood and Mediterranean flavors to create an irresistible combination. The night we dined at the elegant eatery, they featured two distinct menus - The Chef’s Tasting Menu and the Le Bernardin Tasting Menu as well as a Le Bernardin Four Course Menu. We opted for the latter, which cost $110 per person. When you dine at an upscale restaurant like Le Bernardin, you can’t start the evening with anything else but a glass of Champagne, we decided to go with the Ruinart Rose.

The menu at Le Bernardin New York is split into four sections and diners get a choice of picking one option each from the first two sections and one of either the third or the fourth section. There are about twelve options in each section, with the last one, with heartier dishes listing only four.

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The first option was the Almost Raw category that comprised a range of items from caviar (for an additional supplement) and oysters to tuna, hamachi, sea urchin and striped bass.

The second option is the Barely Touched category with preparations varying from the warm and delicately spiced lobster carpaccio and smoked yellowfin tuna to curried crab, sea urchin risotto and seared langoustine.

The third section predictably lists the Lightly Cooked options, which include items like pan roasted monkfish; nori crusted skate, sautéed codfish and slightly baked whole red snapper.

The final section labelled Upon Request, features buffalo mozzarella tortellini, Japanese Kobe beef (for a $125 supplement), pan roasted duck breast and roasted rack of lamb.

We set the pace for the four course meal by digging into the Kumamoto-a progressive variation of Kumamoto Oysters that mystify you with its varying flavours, which range from light and refreshing to spicy and complex. Now, even if that had been the only thing I devoured that night, I would have been more than satisfied. My dining partner decided to be a little more adventurous and tried the Sea Urchin Roe on a jalapeno bed with wasabi jam, seaweed salt, wakame and orange scented broth-phew! I don’t exactly jump at the thought of raw sea urchin but he said it tasted incredible and was just as good as the one he sampled in the Amalfi Italian Coast recently

My second course started with an inspiring Calamari filled with sweet prawns, shitake mushroom and calamari consommé. My dining partner preferred the Langoustine with wild mushroom salad, foie gras and white balsamic vinaigrette. It is next to impossible to say which one was better.

With two courses completed it was time for our third. Even though I am not very gung-ho about sea-food, I was completely besotted by the fresh variations here and decided to go with pan roasted monkfish with honshimeji mushrooms, turnip/ginger emulsion and sake broth. I didn’t regret my decision even once. My partner decided on a bread crusted red snapper with zucchini, mint and coriander compote in a tantalizing citrus broth. Again choosing between the two is like selecting between your left and right arm. Impossible! The fish was so fresh; it was obvious it had made its way on our table only a couple of hours after it was received by the restaurant.

For desserts we had Chocolate Peanut – a mixture of dark chocolate, peanut and caramel tart; Meyer lemon puree, peanut powder and praline-citrus sorbet and the Pistachio mousse which was sinful with caramelized white chocolate, lemon and a bing cherry. The pistachio was unarguably the best for me, but my dining partner seemed to disagree. Dessert came with the trimmings of a 1927 Sherry Solera for my partner and a Kracher Austian sweet wine for me. I couldn’t think of a better way to end a dinner.

Coming to the wine cellar at Le Bernardin New York, it had over 15,000 bottles coming from over 12 countries within a price bracket that ranged from moderate to super expensive. We sampled an exceptional 2006 Chassagne Moreau Chardonnay.

The service was immaculate and remarkably attentive without bordering on intrusion. The staff was ever-ready to answer queries and make helpful suggestions to make us feel special. Though the prices are pretty reasonable, it is easy to get swayed by frills like drinks, Champagne, wine, dessert, Cognac wine and cherry-which can add a substantial amount to your final tally. The ambiance is formal yet comfortable and relaxed with furnishings done up in elegant hues of brown, accompanied by large glass vases filled with fresh flowers.

Overall the stylish Le Bernardin is spectacular in all aspects, from their stimulating menu and sophisticated decor to the impeccable service and restrained pricing. Reservations are a must.

What I liked: Well, almost everything

What I didn’t like: Nothing

Rating: Fantastic Bombastic

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