Le Bernardin, NYC 5
September 15, 2015
Le Bernardin is routinely considered to be one of New York’s very top restaurants. We should go more often. It had been three and a half years since our last visit when Linda and I returned for dinner on August 13, 2015.
We were seated at a table in the back corner with good views of the enormous wave painting and of the enormous bunched amaryllis centerpiece. To the left of it you can see Jelena, wife of tennisman Novak Djokovic; he took his place next to her shortly and seemed to enjoy the meal. Over the left corner of his table you can just see chef Eric Ripert, in a white chef’s coat, chatting with a friend.
We ordered glasses of Philippe Gonet, Blanc de Blanc, Le Mesnil sur Oger, NV Champagne. Two tasting menus were offered, but we decided to have the regular four-course prix fixe so as to be able to make our selections from the large number of choices. We ordered a bottle of 2013 Jean-Phillipe Fichet ‘Les Chevalières’ Meursault.
It had good Meursault characteristics and went well with all of the cuisine.
Linda’s first course was
Lacquered Lobster Tail; Herb SpringRoll, Lemongrass Consommé
The flavorful lobster had been cut into pieces and reassembled. The lemongrass consommé was added at the table.
Linda went on to
Warm Peekytoe Maryland Lump Crab;
Shaved Heirloom Cauliflower, Mustard Emulsion
Very thinly sliced, colorful cauliflower slices covered excellent crab. A small amount of mustard emulsion was poured over the dish. Subtle and good.
Charred Calamari; Spicy Espelette Pepper Jam, Sauce Basquaise
The rolled squid had a slightly charred flavor that went well with the confit tomatoes in their midst. The crisp, deep-fried parsley was a nice touch.
Linda’s main course was
WHITE TUNA-KOBE BEEF
Grilled Escolar and Seared Wagyu Beef;
Fresh Kimchi, Asian Pear, Soy-Citrus Emulsion
The wagyu beef was as luscious-tasting as it should be and Linda skipped the BBQ sauce that was served on the side. The excellent escolar was served on a butter-based soy-citrus sauce. The spicy kimchi was under the baby bok-choi.
Poached Skate; Braised Daikon, Charred Scallion Jam,
Lemon Confit-Kimchi Broth
Poaching had retained the elegant flavor of the skatewing. The lemon and kimchi were used lightly and went well. The little chunks of braised radish added little, but the scallion greens added some freshness.
Linda’s dessert was
Marinated “Golden Blueberries,” Frozen Sweet Corn Meringue
The corn custard in blueberry sauce, served with perfect blueberries (some of which were wrapped in golden covers,) was excellent. The fresh, seasonal sweet corn flavor came through nicely. The frozen meringue added little for Linda, but the dessert was a great success as a whole.
Macerated Cherries, Black Sesame Biscuit,
Kokuto Butterscotch Mousse, Cherry Yuzu Sorbet
The butterscotch mousse, wrapped in a cherry icing, was made with a brown sugar from Okinawa which brings out the flavor of the sugar cane. The various garnishes made for a good exploration of the cherry flavor.
The cuisine was excellent from start to finish. The top quality, fresh fish and other ingredients were handled with understanding and finesse. The touches of modernity or fusion were well thought out and restrained. The service does not seem as gracious as it should be at this level. The noise level was high despite the absence of music as the clientèle that summer evening was somewhat boisterous. But those were only small distractions.
To see all our blogposts on Le Bernardin click here.