While we were in New York City for a few days, we decided to try a Michelin starred restaurant. And trying for trying, let’s go for three stars! While we are used to dine in stared restaurants in Europe, it would be our first time in the States. Needless to say, we were wondering how the experience would be. Manhattan has several 3 stars, but our choice went to Le Bernardin for lunch, as it is conveniently located in the center of Manhattan and run by Eric Ripert, a french chef. We were not sure if kids would be welcome but as nothing about it was said on their website, we took them along. We told A and Miss C that if they behave well we’d go to the Toys R Us on Time Square for a small present. And so the deal was in the pocket!
Le Bernardin for Lunch
Le Bernardin offers a nice menu for lunch, mainly based on fresh fish and seafood. For the kids we ordered their favorite dish: grilled fish. Today it was black cod, served once with sautée vegetables and once with mashed potatoes. It was simple but tasty.
We opted for the three course lunch menu. Basically you can choose one first dish, one main course and one dessert from their extensive menu. All we had that day was tasty and well presented. First a pleasure for the eyes before a pleasure to taste.
Prepared by chef patissier Thomas Raquel, the desserts were really nice as well, especially the green tea custard, which reminded us of our trip to Japan last summer.
Le Bernardin for lunch
Disastrous Wine Service
Unfortunately, in our eyes, a very important part of such a meal, the wine, was a huge disappointment. In a three stars restaurant, you expect a lot from a sommelier. They had a good selection of wine by the glass, as well as some very interesting bottles like a 1943 chateau d’Yquem. To start, we ordered a glass of a californian Chardonnay, one of our favorite white grape especially when it is to associate with seafood. But I have to say that when it was served to us, I almost fell from my chair. A very good friend of mine, sommelier in a two stars restaurant in France always says that wine has to be served religiously. Well, today, it was just the opposite. The lady sommelier (or pretending to be one) poored a little bit of wine for me to taste. Unfortunately without showing the bottle. As soon as I said it was good, she filled the glass faster than your car is filled with fuel at the gas station. Same program for my wife. Before I had time to realize what had just happened, she was gone. So we never saw the bottle nor had the chance to hear a few words about the wine she just had served. She probably took us for amateurs so we monitored her during the service, but for every customer, the ritual was the same. It seemed that for lunch wine bottles were not very popular so we only saw wine by the glass being served. An empty glass was set on the table, people were offered to taste the wine without having the chance to see the label and then it was poured in the glass, holding the bottle almost vertically to finish quicker. One can imagine this happening at the corner’s pizzeria, but for a three stars establishment, this is simply not acceptable. We had to tell the Maître d’hotel about it, as such a behaviour can ruin the reputation of the restaurant. He apologized and was open to feedback. Nevertheless, it ruined our lunch that day!
To finish, the mignardises were quite basic. There were more sophisticated ones, but for some reasons they were only served to another table!
Pros and cons :
+ Good price/quality ratio for the lunch menu
+ Extensive choice within the menu
+ Good service in general (apart from the wine service)
+ Good location
– Amuses and mignardises could be more elaborate
– Terrible wine service
– $50 for the kids fish (for 1, while the lunch is a three course at 80$)
What about you, would you consider Le Bernardin for lunch ?