There is no doubt that Le Bernadin is one of the finest restaurants in NYC. I even love the tag line, "french, formal and all about fish". The story behind Le Bernadin is pretty interesting too. Brother and sister start a restaurant, it is revered and quickly rises to be one of the top restaurants. The brother dies suddenly right after getting 4 stars. In steps Eric Ripert, the chefs right hand man, who not only keeps Le Bernadin at a high, he brings the restaurant to another level. Impressive story. The restaurant gets a 4 star review every time.
My first time to Le Bernadin was in their original space. I couldn’t have been older than 25. It must have been a special occasion, birthday or anniversary, and I remember feeling like I was 12. Years later we returned in their new location. Each time, the food is truly sublime.
We went again this past week. Crazy yes, but we brought the kids. Our foodie children. Celebration of another school year come and gone. It was delight to hear them pour over the menu and then discuss the food when they got their plates. The elegance of the restaurant is something that is rarely experienced at most restaurants. It is so very French. The sauces create a completely different taste and warm the meal. The waiters make sure that the moment your food goes down, that the sauce is poured on precisely at the right time. Each plate is differently shaped based on what appears on it. Even the spoon used for the fist little treat from the chef is only used for one bite. Desserts are not at all when you expect after reading the menu. True pieces of art. That alone creates an ambiance of a four star restaurant.
The food wasn’t as pristine as I remember. Why? I think it has to do with how the restaurants around New York and the globe have raised the art of food to such a different level than 20 years ago. Le Bernadin, although magnificent, isn’t that omigod as it was perhaps even 5 years ago because our taste buds have been pushed to another level.
The kids were more wowed by the performances of the staff more than anything. Although they thought certain dishes were just incredible, they each felt that they had a better meal at Gotham Bar and Grill. Interesting at least. For me, the fun is watching the kids develop their ever changing sophisticated palette. If you have not been to Le Bernadin, it is a must. One of those places in New York that everyone should have save up and go to, it is a memorable experience.