Le Bernardin, NYC 6
March 7, 2017
In the 2017 New York Zagat Guide Le Bernardin is rated “Top for Food” for the eighth year in a row. It is also rated top for service and “Most Popular.” The restaurant has held three Michelin stars since the first edition of the New York City guide (2006). Linda and I joined Darius there for dinner on February 23, 2017.
This was the view from my seat.
We ordered a bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne. This would be followed by a bottle of 2013 Domaine de Montille Meursault.
This had only a bit of the earthiness one expects in a Meursault. It was closer to a Puligny-Montrachet. Nice.
The small hors d’œuvres were a salmon tartar with roe, an octopus salad and a lobster “bouillabaisse.”
Good, but the lobster was really a bisque.
The bread basket was passed.
I took a focaccia from the lower left. Light and crunchy.
Darius started with
Kampachi Sashimi; Crushed Niçoise Olives, “Greek Salad”
He wrote: The kampachi was wonderfully fresh and nicely complemented by the saltiness of the olives and crunch of the salad.
Linda’s first course was
Barely Cooked Scallop; Roasted Bone Marrow
She wrote: Three pieces of roasted bone marrow, with real flavor, and pea shoots topped excellent scallop slices. The butter sauce was flavored with calamondin, a kumquat/orange cross; it was not acidic; it was just right. The white slices in the photo foreground were radish. Linda was told that the piquant flavor on them was Espelette pepper.
Geoduck Sashimi; Shaved Radishes
I ordered this despite my concern that the big Geoduck clams would be too chewy, but I figured that Le Bernardin would know what it was doing and that there would be a definite clammy flavor. This turned out to be right. The very thinly sliced clams, along with similarly sliced radishes, were interesting. The sauce was just right.
Darius went on to
Warm Artichoke Panaché; Vegetable Risotto
Black Truffle Vinaigrette
He wrote: The earthiness of the truffle vinaigrette was a nice counterpoint to the slight, natural sweetness of the artichoke, which had been beautifully sliced and arranged. The thin slices of truffle reinforced the flavor of the vinaigrette, but didn’t overwhelm. The risotto was savory with a nice texture.
Seafood Truffle Pasta
Crab, Scallop, Lobster; Tagliatelle
Black Truffle Emulsion
She wrote: A definite, good black truffle taste and scent permeated this good emulsion and pasta. The chunks of crab, scallop and lobster were generous. Bravo.
Lacquered Lobster Tail; Herb Spring Roll
The generous lobster tail was lacquered with a tomato and cognac paste. It had been barely cooked and was luscious. I ate each piece with a spoonful of the lemongrass consommé, which was quite subtle and just right. The little spring roll added some welcome crunch.
Darius’ main course was
Poached Halibut; Manila Clams
Wild Mushroom Casserole
He wrote: The halibut was nicely cooked, firm but not overdone and a bit flaky. The clams, mushrooms, and vegetables provided a nice textural contrast to the halibut, all presented in a simple but flavorful Asian-style broth. Very light and tasty.
White Tuna-Japanese Wagyu
Grilled Escolar and Seared Japanese Wagyu;
Wild Mushroom “Endive Farcie”
Red Wine-Peppercorn Sauce
Tender grilled escolar set in a red wine sauce contrasted with real Wagyu to create an excellent dish.
Pan Roasted Monkfish; Squid Ink Fideos
The flavor of the monkfish was enhanced by its pan roasting. It was on top of thin squid ink noodles dressed in squid ink. They were quite gooey, but had a flavor of the sea which enhanced the dish. The spicy pork sausage sauce underneath was a perfect match, being both Spanish, like the noodles, and using the well-known pork and seafood harmony.
Darius’ dessert was
Tropical Fruit “Bombe,” Mango Parfait
Spiced Vanilla Oil
He wrote: I was instructed by our waiter to crack open the Bombe with a spoon. Passion fruit cream, not too sweet, spilled out from the white chocolate shell much like a soft-boiled egg. The mango parfait and julienne of tropical fruit lightened the passion fruit cream pleasantly. A nice surprise to have a bit of drama with desert.
Slow Roasted Apple, Armagnac Sabayon
Brown Butter Ice Cream
She wrote: Curls of puff pastry separated a wonderful roasted apple from the sabayon and brown butter ice cream. Superb dessert.
My dessert was
Chestnut Crémeux, Rum-Candied Chestnut
Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream
The creamy chestnut purée had been extruded into a “spaghetti,” making it light. The candied chestnut enhanced its flavor.
There were five lovely mignardises for each of us.
Le Bernardin lived up to its superb reputation with this meal. The dishes ranged from very good to excellent. The service was always efficient and elegant. The pace was just right.
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