I was fortunate enough to spend my 25th birthday dinner at Le Bernardin, and it was incredible as expected. Eric Ripert and his team are brilliant, and they made the occasion extra special with a delicious chocolate hazelnut dessert and candle at the end of the meal. They were also able to accommodate my father, who is allergic to shrimp, crab and lobster, and even modified one of the amouse-bouches for him.
We went with the prix fixe and ordered an affordable bottle of Chablis for the table, with the help of one of Aldo Sohm‘s sommeliers. I had previously tried Ripert’s signature Tuna from the “almost raw” section, so I went with the Geoduck this time. If only going once, order the Tuna, but the Geoduck was also delightful. In the “barely touched” section, I almost pulled the trigger on the Calamari (crab-filled, calamari, that is), but couldn’t resist ordering the Seafood Truffle Pasta. I was not disappointed, but I still want to try the Calamari another time. I finished with the Black Bass “Surf & Turf” in the “lightly cooked” section, but also managed to taste my father’s White Tuna-Japanese Wagyu and sister’s Lobster. All were excellent, but I suppose the Lobster was my favorite.
The precision and grace of the service, from the beginning amouse-bouches to the final petit fours, matched the quality of the food. We even received a copy of the 2017 Zagat guide for New York City from the attendant at the coat check when leaving. I noticed on the way out that the lounge was relatively empty, even on a Friday night. While absolutely worth it, the prix fixe is something I can’t justify except for special occasions; the lounge menu, however, hits a much lower price point. It doesn’t offer the Calamari, so I’ll have to return to the dining room to taste that, but still looks delicious.
PS. Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, which is next door, is another great option is you want to taste Ripert’s food and Sohm’s wine at a more affordable price. If interested, I encourage you to read my 3 star review of Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.
- Rating: 4/4 Stars
- Pricing: $$$$ (Zagat)
- Food: French / Seafood
- Dress Code: Elegant Casual (Jacket is required for men in the main dining room during lunch and dinner, and is recommended but not required in the lounge)
- Neighborhood: Midtown West
- Website: www.le-bernardin.com
- Instagram: @lebernardinny
Rating System Guidelines:
4 Stars: outstanding, cannot wait to return
3 Stars: great, would be happy to return
2 Stars: good, though not necessary to seek out
1 Star: forgettable, ought to dine elsewhere
My rating is meant to account for not just the quality of the meal and experience, but also the value, without favoring the ultra expensive. In other words, a high-end restaurant (e.g. Del Posto) and a casual eatery (e.g. BaoHaus) can both receive 4/4 stars, even though they are extremely different atmospheres and the former is clearly “nicer.”