Saturday, March 08, 2014

Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin
a Michelin Guide three star restaurant (one out of seven in New York),
given a four-star rating from the New York Times since 1995,
voted 15th best restaurant in the world in 2009,
voted NYC’s Most Popular and No. 1 for Food,
has a food rating of 29 out of 30,
and ranked # 1 restaurant in New York City.

How, tell me how, I could possibly pass the opportunity to dine here?

Loving French cuisine and seafood, Le Bernardin seemed like the perfect last meal in New York.
Greeted by a beautiful interior, we sat at one of these middle tables.
Le Bernardin recently renovated in the summer of 2012. I'm not sure how it looked like before this but the interior now is beautiful. Even the dinnerware matched the interior of the restaurant perfectly!
(I'm sorry for the lack of quality & photos as I didn't have a chance to take many photos here.)
But let's talk about the food.
At Le Bernardin, the menu is always a prix fixe menu where you get to choose 2 dishes and 1 dessert. They also have a more expensive menu that includes special dishes and/or wine pairings. The menu is split into Almost Raw, Barely Touched and Lightly Cooked sections to show you how the chef will prepare the fish. I was a fan of this breakdown since I don't know much about seafood.

As a complimentary starter, they gave us a dish of the best smoked salmon cream cheese spread I've ever had. M and I couldn't stop eating it!
Not photographed: our glasses of Riesling :) I'm loving this wine lately!

For our appetizers, I started off with the Wild Striped Bass Tartare with a Jicama Salad atop paired with a Champagne-Mango Emulsion.
Besides appreciating nicely plated food, I also appreciate a little presentation when serving the dish. Yes, they poured the mango sauce in front of me while explaining what I was getting myself into.

M ordered the Bacalao which is Lightly Salted Grilled Cod with a Bell Pepper Salad with a Warm Scallion Vinaigrette.

For our main dish, we both ordered the Pan Roasted Monkfish served with Mushroom Purée and Black Trumpets, poured over with Armagnac-Black Pepper Sauce.
It was absolutely divine. The skin of the monkfish was crispy and the fish itself was so fresh. At first I was disappointed that the Cod wasn't available, but I have to say I was pleased with this dish as well.

One thing I have to talk about: the service.
I personally love restaurants that have great service. If your food is amazing but you have bad customer service, I will never return to your restaurant. And vise versa.
Although I had high expectations, they exceeded all of them.
From when I walked into the restaurant to giving me a stand for my purse,
to helping me get in and out of my chair to replacing my utensils when I was in the washroom,
to covering up our food while I was away from the table (as seen above) to constantly replenishing our cups without us realizing... It was flawless. I have to give it to them. They nailed it!
One thing they were missing though.. A bread crumb scraper.

As for dessert, we had about 6 different options to choose from.
M ordered the Pistachio for her love of pistachios (I'm great at stating the obvious), which included Passion Fruit Gelee, Meyer Lemon, and Pistachio ice cream.

I ordered Chocolate Mille-feuille as recommended by one of my friends. It came with Caramelized Phyllo, Thyme Gelee, and Salted Milk Chocolate ice cream.
It was unbelievably sweet! I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would but I did enjoy all the different textures of chocolate this dessert came with.

To end off our meal, we were given these petit fours from our waiter.
They are called Pear Financier, which is a type of moist Parisian tea cake. I wasn't a big fan of these. I think it would have went really well with a cup of coffee, which I did not have!

Overall, I had a great dining experience here.
If you enjoy seafood and fine dining, and do not mind spending money on gourmet delicacies, I would highly recommend visiting La Bernardin when you visit New York. For two unbelievably fresh seafood dishes and a dessert, it is well worth it. Visit Le Bernardin's website for more information on their menu and reservation policies.
Le Bernardin on Urbanspoon

Have a lovely weekend everyone, xx

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