Le Bernardin (New York)

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Chef Eric Ripert – I’ve heard of his name, I’ve watched shows that he has hosted (Avec Eric, anyone?), I’ve seen him on Top Chef, and I’ve read his cook books. I’m glad to say that I’ve met him and dined at his restaurant, Le Bernardin, in New York. I made my reservations for lunch on OpenTable.com some weeks ahead of my planned visit, yet some of my initial date choices were already full for both sittings.

The moment that I stepped into Le Bernardin, I thought, “Wow, this is some restaurant, eh?” High ceilings, fairly large tables and many wait staff, all of whom serve with a smile. I checked in my coat and was seated at a table. I perused the menu and made a mental note of what to choose. Nonetheless, I asked my server for his recommendations. I was rather glad that with the exception of dessert, his recommendations checked with mine. It was like telepathy, I kid you not.

I’ve heard so much of Le Bernardin prior to my visit (even my Uncle who’s a chef and lives in New York has praises for it) and so, with built up anticipation and eagerness to try the food here,  it was time to get my adventure started..

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Like clock work, the complimentary bread tray was served. Besides the ordinary butter, the bread came along with a serving of salmon rillette.

I usually like my bread with plain ole’ butter, but the salmon rillette was really good. And perhaps the winter cold got to my stomach for I actually asked for more bread to go along with the rillette.

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The items in lunch menu at Le Bernardin are split into three categories. They are pretty much self explanatory and come with 6-8 choices each, and trust me, every single one of them sounds delicious.

  • Simply Raw
  • Barely Touched
  • (Main Course) Lightly Cooked

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Simply Raw

TUNA

Layers of Thinly Pounded yellowfin Tuna; Foie Gras, Toasted Baguette, Shaved Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lunch started off on a fantastic note. The Tuna Carpaccio was really flavourful.  There was neither the over seasoning of the tuna nor the use of flavoured/infused olive oil – it was about letting the fresh catch speak for itself. Brilliant.

Oh, you saw the Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette in the description, didn’t you? Tucked right in the the centre of the dish under the layers of tuna was a small piece of foie gras served atop a equally small slice of toasted baguette.

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Barely Touched

OCTOPUS

Charred Octopus; Fermented Black Bean – Pear Sauce Vierge, Ink – Miso vinaigrette; Purple Basil

I’ve read much about this dish on food review sites and food blogs alike, and was so sure that if I saw it on the menu, that I would select it as my second course. And chose it, I did.

Frankly, on paper – Fermented Black Beans? I thought, “This sounds like Chinese cuisine.” But Chinese, it definitely was not. Asian influenced, maybe.

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The octopus was outstanding. I was expecting it to be slightly chewy, perhaps almost squid like but no, it was really tender; One need not put much effort into slicing it. According to the wait staff, the octopus was first braised and then charred, which gave the octopus its texture.

I could have easily had two orders of the octopus – it was that good.

In some restaurants, Asian-influenced/inspired is a bad thing, but in Chef Ripert’s house, it can only be a good thing.

Note: Recipe can be found here.

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Lightly Cooked

KING FISH

Seared Yellowtail king fish; Truffle Risotto, Spring Vegetables, Black Truffle Emulsion

The King fish came highly recommended by from the wait staff. With the first bite of the fish and the first scoop of the risotto, I knew that it was a perfect choice. The fish was, as aptly listed in the menu, lightly cooked – resulting in a tender piece of fish that was neither over nor under-seasoned. I’ve heard Chef Ripert say this on TV many a time that the quality of the ingredients is of utmost priority and here, the freshness of the fish definitely showed through.

The truffle risotto was really good; the black truffle emulsion, even better!

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Egg

Milk Chocolate Creme. Malden sea salt. Caramel Custard Foam.

An interlude from the main course and dessert is a complimentary palate cleanser of sorts.

One of Chef Michael Laiskonis’s more famous desserts, “Egg” is served in a egg shell, you get a combination of milk chocolate creme served with caramel custard foam topped off with a little dash of Fleur de Sel. The sea salt helps to somewhat cut through the sweetness with that savoury touch.

Trust me – this was much better than dessert!

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Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta, Sorbet on side.

With the dessert, I was really on-the-fence with it. It was definitely not forgettable but it was not sensational either.

The usual sweetness (of the panna cotta) and citrus (from the sorbet) combination worked here but that was where the greatness came to a halt.

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On another note, the coffee that was served at the end of the meal was really good – strong and robust yet fragrant at the same time.

(P.s. Food aside, I must add that the immaculate service rendered by the wait staff at Le Bernadin was definitely worthy of mention – It was just too good to be ignored.)

 

Le Bernardin

155 west 51st Street New York City (6th and 7th Avenue)

Book Online: http://www.opentable.com/le-bernardin

Website: http://www.le-bernardin.com/
Email: dine@le-bernardin.com
Phone:  +1 (212) 554-1515

Opening Hours:
Lunch:
Monday – Friday 12:00pm – 2:30pm

Dinner:
Monday – Thursday 5:15pm – 10:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 5:15pm – 11:00pm

 

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16 Comments

  1. This place sounds really interesting. And I notice there is nothing fully cooked on his menu :O Interesting cooking philosophy.

    Hope you are doing well in australia!

    • Thanks for inoiudtcrng a little rationality into this debate.

  2. There are some dishes that are fully cooked – I think on special request only. Yes, very interesting cooking philosophy where freshness of the ingredients is emphasized. Thanks Thanks!

    • Adityaa

      Merci Ashley pour ce premier arcitle!La structure de ta critique est bonne : pre9sentation rapide de l’histoire, deux axes inte9ressants de l’histoire : la critique de l’esclavage et l’histoire d’amour entre les deux protagonistes, enfin ton point de vue sur le livre. Concernant ta pre9sentation de l’histoire, tu aurais pu donner un peu plus de de9tails car on ne comprend pas imme9diatement le lien entre l’histoire d’amour et l’esclavage. En outre, on ne comprend pas re9ellement ce qui se9pare Paul et Virginie (quelles circonstances?). Pourtant il y a une raison bien particulie8re qui fait que Paul et Virginie sont se9pare9s Petit point historique : le livre a e9te9 publie9 en 1788, donc au 18e8me sie8cle (et non au 17e8). C’est notamment ce qui explique le cf4te9 e9claire9 (sie8cle des Lumie8res) du point de vue de l’auteur contre l’esclavage.Quelques erreurs e0 corriger :- erreur sur un possessif : C’est l’histoire de deux femmes rejete9es par la socie9te9, qui ont quitte9 leur pays et se sont installe9es loin de sa famille – hispanisme e0 corriger car un francophone ne comprend pas la phrase : ils se sont aparte9s pour circonstances de la vie – revoir l’orthographe de l’expression : des mon point de vue – adjectif/adverbe : ce qui permet de nuancer le verbe est un adverbe, pas un adjectif : l’auteur a pu faire suffisant emphases sur la situation d’esclavage – hispanisme qui ge9ne8re un contresens : emphase : on dira plutf4t en frane7ais mettre l’accent sur , insister sur .- hispanisme : manquant un sie8cle par l’abolition de l’esclavage .- expression e0 revoir (orthographe) : Pre8s que tout le livre + en fin – et comme ils ont fait l’effort de se rencontrer => et comment ils ont fait l’effort de se retrouver? (je ne comprends pas le sens puisqu’ils se sont rencontre9s quand ils e9taient petits).- accord fe9minin/masculin + singulier/pluriel : la fin n’e9tait pas aussi bon , les deux seules choses qui e9tait inte9ressant .- verbe : ce mieux lire un autre livre Laure

  3. Wow, looks like a fantastic restaurant, too bad it’s in new york. that octopus dish certainly looks interesting.
    Can’t wait to see your posts on Australian restaurants!

    • Jacob! Le Benardin is as good as it looks!

      Yes, Next will be of an Australian restaurant!

  4. yixiaooo

    the meal looks divine~

    • It was!

    • Pendem

      I live in Canada, and LOVE the SHORT FAT 250ml BERNARDIN JARS! I use them for apple buettr, plum buettr, blueberry-lemon jam, peach-rose compote and zesty zucchini relish. Very easy to fill and then process in a large roasting pan, as i do not have a large deep canner.These jars are tough! I have used them to hold lunch things-then throw the jar in my lunch bag and ride to work (yogurt, macaroni salads, dressings and whatnots) without any chipping or breaking.These jars a staple in Canadian kitchens!I have been curious about the clamp style or glass lids that clip on with little clips, like the Weck jars. I know they are a really old style jar our great gramas would have used I am sure. I only use them for storing dried fruits, grains, beans, rice and things.Thanks for some great ideas, the lemon curd will be next on my list of summer projects.

    • Intéressant mais 16g de protéine pour 20g, ça laisse un taux de protéine de 80%.Dans le même style: protéine de pois source naturals 83% sur biovéa.fr et protéine de pois crus growing naturals 80% sur foea.-rt-scnteecom

    • If you don’t have a CSA or need additional produce that is organic for reasonable (better the grocery store)prices, there are companies like Global Organic. You can create a co-op. Global only delivers in the southeast U.S. I would always say support local farming but If it is not available or convenient this is an option.[]

    • Caro Samuel, Gostava de saber o que diria se alguém confudisse uma canção sua com a de outro colega.A canção é dos Sitiados (A Noite – 1989) e existe uma versão pelos Resistência (apenas Tim é que é comum aos Xutos) logo faça o favor de corrigir os dados que colocou no seu post.

    • honda civic 2-door coupe

      I’m not easily impressed but you’ve done it with that posting.

    • ma inspection sticker cost

      If your articles are always this helpful, “I’ll be back.”

  5. MICHAEL

    dare i ask how much this meal cost?

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