Mr Minx is having a milestone birthday this year. When I asked him what he wanted to do, he said he'd like to have dinner at Le Bernardin. So I made a reservation. For lunch. Yes, I did call within a minute or so of the reservation line's 9:00 AM opening, but still couldn't snag a spot at dinner. Le sigh.
So we go for lunch and surprise! we don't have to order the usual app-entree-dessert three-course lunch - we can also choose between the two tasting menus that are also available at dinner! So we went for the six-course Le Bernardin tasting menu. How better to get the full Le Bernardin all-fish all-the-time experience?
The service at Le Bernardin is incredible. Moments after we're seated (on the same side of a 4-top so we don't have to shout at each other across the table - nice.) we're brought an amuse of salmon rillettes and thin rounds of toast on which to spread it. One of our many servers comes to take our drink order; neither of us want alcohol, and I'm not even supposed to drink (on blood thinners), so he suggests he bring me a mocktail. When I ask what sorts are available, he suggested that if I didn't like what he brought me, I could knock it off the table and he'd bring something else. He got it right the first time with a combination of tart grapefruit juice and rose water. While he was off, our bread dude came around with a little cloche-covered dish of soft butter and a selection of at least eight kinds of bread. We chose to start with a sundried tomato roll and another with basil and sesame seeds. Later, we tried a pretzel roll. All were tender, fluffy, delicious, and crusty where appropriate.
| Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin Tuna; Foie Gras and |
Toasted Baguette Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|Barely Cooked Scallop; Brown Butter Dashi|
|King Crab Medley; Warm Matsutake Custard, Seaweed-Shiitake Broth|
|Barely Cooked Wild Salmon; White Asparagus Peas and Fava Beans, Chervil Emulsion|
|Wild Striped Bass; Bhutanese Red Rice, Green Papaya Salad, Ginger-Red Wine Sauce|
|Pavlova: Roasted Pineapple, Guava Jam, Yuzu-Coconut Sorbet|
|Opera: Chocolate Mousse, Praline Feuilletine, Brazilian Coffee Ice Cream|
As we were eating, I brazenly took photos of every course, but then so did about half of the other patrons in the restaurant. Thanks to well-placed lighting, the shots came out pretty well. I also took notes, which prompted our captain to bring me both a copy of the menu and a special black-bound edition of the 2014 Zagat guide with the Le Bernardin write-up embossed on the cover, because he thought I'd find them useful. How nice was that? He did seem disappointed when we handed him our business card and found that we were from Baltimore, but he promised to give it to the chef. I'm expecting a call from Eric Ripert any day now.
So...the food was lovely, the service was stellar, and we really felt pampered. A friend asked me if Le Bernardin lived up to my expectations, and I have to say yes. Even the bass dish, because I didn't expect the restaurant to be perfect. Mostly perfect, but not absolutely perfect. Just perfect enough.
Posted on Minxeats.com.