Le Bernardin: the Epicurean Apex

Let me just warn you that my initial blog begins at the summit, and it’s all downhill from here. My gastronomic love for everything Eric Ripert sprouted at Chef Central in Paramus, NJ. It wasn’t just his hypnotic French accent; it was his answer to my question on how he manages to remain at the top – in short, “train my staff well and treat them with respect.” (At 8:19 YouTube link

And so my tryst occurred less than a month after Le Bernardin was renovated. When dining out, I am generally lenient with my personal critique of a restaurant. I am forgiving and understanding of certain errors, so I let my taste buds and my standard of work ethic and respect decide whether I will return. This time, however, I went in wearing a Gael Greene hat. If Michelin is going to flash three stars and national publications are going to splash “best” (I dislike pretentiousness), then by-golly, it better be just that.

We decided on the 5-course prix fixe and made sure to each order a different selection. Once the amuse bouche came out, there was very little conversation. It was mostly hushed orgasmic-like “mmmm”s and “wow”s as each forkful of flavor danced along our palettes.

I then knew that I wouldn’t find any fault from the kitchen, so I looked toward the server – was he hovering? No. Was he rushing us? No. He had an inviting French accent (almost as charming as Eric’s) and offered us every bit of menu knowledge he had to help us in our decisions. The one thing that I thought was a bit over the top – and wasteful – was the changing of our silver butter dish every 10 minutes or so with merely a small dent in the surface. It was really unnecessary and didn’t contribute to the royal treatment for me. Alas, I found a flaw. There were a few pulls in the brand new carpet already. It’s ridiculous I had to resort to that to find any demerit. I glanced at my slightly worn boot heels to make sure I was not to blame.

Describing each dish would be an injustice, so the photos will have to speak for themselves. If you click on a specific photo, hit Permalink, and you’ll receive the full menu description.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Daniel F. on January 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    If there is anything negative that can be said about Le Bernardin, its only that It will become the seafood restaurant you will judge all others by. If you ever have the opportunity to go, By all means do it. Keep in mind, depending on the season, the wait time for reservations can be anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks.


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