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Le Bernardin


rockefeller666
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I've never been to Le Bernardin. A friend said to me yesterday that Le Bernardin "feels like" a business restaurant, that it's not particularly good for romantic occasions, and that it doesn't even have very many tables for two. She loves the food, by the way; she was just trying to characterize the vibe.

Anyone agree or disagree?

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I agree. The room absolutely has that vibe.

I'd also add that many of the two-tops are so wide that you find yourself shouting at your date. You certainly can't hold hands across the table, if you're inclined to do so. (I alsays sort of think of the scene in Citizen Kane where we watch Kane's marriage deteriorate as the distance at the breakfast table gets longer and longer.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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  • 3 months later...

Congratulations to eGullet Society member Michael Laskonis for his James Beard Award as Outstanding Pastry Chef!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 3 months later...

My understanding of lunch is that it's not all that great of a value. Rather than getting four courses, you get to choose only three. This is based on a convo I had with a reservationist there last week. At $65 this is something of a savings but not to the extent of JG, EMP, Bouley, or some of the city's other top restaurants.

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Thanks for the info. I've been trying to figure out where to go as I'm only around for two more days and am trying to hit as many places as possible. I tried to go to JG last week and the main dining room is under construction, which of course they didn't tell me when I made the reservation. I think I'll try and hit EMP+Fleur de Sel one day, and Bouley and somewhere else another, I just have to figure out where. Those were all on the radar, and I thought that LB might round it out, but I think I'll look elsewhere.

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Jean Georges is 10 years old this year. Becoming one of the grand dames of the fine dining culture of New York.

Secondly, in my experience, the reservationists always ask which dining room one cares to experience.

They plan on re-opening the main dining room this wednesday evening.

As for Le Bernardin, lunch is still a wonderful experience. The menu is almost identical to dinner, except for the 3 versus 4 four course option. I usually ask for the fourth course, anyway.

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About 5 years ago, I spent a week in the kitchen at Le Bernardin (which I paid handsomely for by the way). Setting aside the cost, the experience was fantastic. At that time, I had never spent any time in a professional kitchen. I had heard the line, "If you saw what went on in the kitchen, you wouldn't want to eat there." Not true at all in the case of LB. Lots of very dedicated people. Clean work habits. A respect for food that was very cool.

Each afternoon during the between lunch-and-dinner lull, the Chef de Cuisine asked me to pick anything off the menu and he'd show me how to make it. Very cool and everything quite delicious.

In terms of the comment about their philosophy, what Eric Ripert says is, "We don't plate the fish. We plate for the fish." OK, nice sound bite, but it was what I saw in action. While the dishes tended to be 'not done up' by some plating standards, there were several sauces in use. Someone came in every morning to get the day's sauces made or otherwise ready to go. The attention to detail in the items that got plated was quite extraordinary. This included the standards for dicing, matching dice sizes and the like; and this included using only perfect whole kernels of corn (which remained whole as a visual element) for the John Dory sauce.

Regarding the physical space, the picture Fat Guy posted is one of the private rooms. Under construction at the time I was there, LB converted the entire 2nd floor above the restaurant (previously used for office space) into private function space. The room is configured with 2 open/close dividers, so the space can be 1 large space, 1 bigger and 1 smaller or 3 smaller rooms. Plus, there is a kitchen upstairs, which ER felt was needed to avoid causing disruption to the restaurant kitchen when private functions were underway.

No place is perfect and I haven't eaten there in maybe 4 years, but I have very fond memories of both my week there and the food I've eaten there.

-mark-

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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My understanding of lunch is that it's not all that great of a value.  Rather than getting four courses, you get to choose only three.  This is based on a convo I had with a reservationist there last week.  At $65 this is something of a savings but not to the extent of JG, EMP, Bouley, or some of the city's other top restaurants.

One reason for the lunch price, I think, is that LB is in a neighborhood where it can attract a significant business crowd.
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  • 1 month later...

I had the allegedly good fortune of being invited for lunch at Le Bernadin ( or, as I enjoy calling it, "The Bernadin of Iniquity") earlier this month. Therefore, I couldn't bust the maitre d's chops to try to improve my lot, as is my wont, because I didn't want to offend my generous host. I have to say, nonetheless, that I was somewhat appaled to have to chose as my main course among so many farmed fish fillets. In fact, the only whole wild fish was red snapper that you had to order a day ahead. It was difficult not to think that the choice was the same as what you can buy at Citarella's, Dorian's or Whole Foods. I also found that the sauces on my halibut filet and octopus starter were overly-complex, muddled and sweet. Coupled from what I heard from someone in the profession that the microwave gets a good workout there, I'm not returning until the next person, whomever it may be, invites me there, whenever that may be.

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I will not hear a word against farm raised catfish (having experienced the "wild" variety). Of course - I pay less than $5/pound for it - and pan fry it - and I doubt that is what you had at Le Bernadin :wink: .

Seriously - it's hard to find decent fish anywhere in the US these days. We were really spoiled during our trip to Japan. We did have a nice swordfish dish at our golf club last night - and I doubt it was farm-raised (don't think there is such a thing as farm-raised swordfish - is there?). Robyn

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  • 3 months later...

I'm looking at the restaurant's lunch menu. The prix fixe is $64. I'm assuming this is for three savory courses. Am I correct? Can anyone confirm this?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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It includes 2 savory courses and dessert.  Not a particularly great deal, since, if we hold portion size relatively constant, they're just scaling back the dinner menu by one course.

Am I crazy, or did Le Bernadin, until fairly recently, offer a "Market Lunch" for $35? Also, the Chef's Tasting is now at $185. How long has it been at that level. For some reason, I remember having the Chef's Tasting about three years ago for about $50 less... but I'm not certain.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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They list a 3-course "City Harvest Lunch" at the bottom of the tasting menus for $40.

Sorry, I didn't scroll down far enough. Thanks!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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It includes 2 savory courses and dessert.  Not a particularly great deal, since, if we hold portion size relatively constant, they're just scaling back the dinner menu by one course.

Am I crazy, or did Le Bernadin, until fairly recently, offer a "Market Lunch" for $35? Also, the Chef's Tasting is now at $185. How long has it been at that level. For some reason, I remember having the Chef's Tasting about three years ago for about $50 less... but I'm not certain.

Correction, the Chef's Tasting is currently at $180, not $185.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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