To quote Andy Hayler, the gentleman who has eaten at every Michelin 3-Star Restaurant in the world, to earn a star, “there are very distinct differences between the way the countries are assessed. There are certain places that are marked quite hard, and certain places that are marked quite easily.” Unfortunately, I believe New York is one of the cities in which the judging process is not as rigorous as it should be. Years ago I went to WD-50, a 1-Star back then (but eventually lost the star), and was quite disappointed at the unremarkable food. Last year another not so good experience at Marea (2-Star) where the dishes were overly salty, the waiters were wondering around with bread baskets but never bothered to serve them to guests. This year the lunch at Sushi Yasuda was unspectacular if not outright regrettable; I am horrified to find out that they too, is a 1-Star restaurant (please click here for my experience at Sushi Yasuda).

So to put things into perspective, Le Bernadin is the best restaurant that I’ve dined in NYC so far. Is it 3-Star worthy? I would say probably not, if one calibrates it with genius Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea (3-Star) in Chicago.

There are 3 staffs dedicated to each table; a waiter, a server, and a sommelier. My pet peeve was that the tables were just placed a bit too close to each other. As such, when the waiter was serving the guests next to us, the distance of his behind from my face was uncomfortably close. The service was good, as is expected of a 3-Star restaurant. Our waiter seemed sincere and genuine and we were happy with him.

It was an overall decent experience.

~~~

Amuse-bouche trio (from left to right) ~ Salmon inside puffy pastry, followed by a spoonful of bouillabaisse in the middle. The liquid bouillabaisse was wrapped inside a thin gelatin skin; once the skin was punctured, the liquid would burst in your mouth. This was a very popular molecular gastronomy technique that Ferran Adrià of El Bulli already started to use in 2003. This process is called ‘food spherification. The third amuse-bouche tasted like lobster with steamed eggs, but I regrettably forgot what it is.

~~~

2013 Sandhi Chardonnay, Santa Barbara ($90) ~ My initial choice was a 1995 Portuguese white wine (Arinto I believe?) but I was a bit concerned that the wine would go downhill if left open for 2 – 3 hours. Our sommelier graciously poured me a sip to taste, and it was a bit too oxidized for my taste (typically I love oxidized wines like a Jura or a Fino Sherry, but to accompany food I prefer fresher ones).

Sandhi’s winemaker, Rajat Parr, is known for his preference to pick grapes early to retain acidity and freshness. This Chardonnay displayed those characteristics. Fermented in used older French oak barrels and aged for 10 months in barrel, the resulting secondary aromas contributed by oak was subtle and barely noticeable.

~~~

We ordered the $140 four course prix-fixe dinner, with two appetizers, one main course and one dessert.

Appetizer 1, King Fish Sashimi, Heirloom Tomatoes Basil-Tamari Vinaigrette ~ The dish had some Japanese and Chinese influence. The sauce tasted like what was served with steamed fish in Chinese restaurants, with soy sauce and cooked oil.

~~~

Appetizer 2, Geoduck Thinly Shaved “Giant Clam;” Wasabi Tobiko, Lime Dressing ~ again this is Japanese inspired. The geoduck was fresh, flavorful but the lime dressing was a bit on the sour side; overall delectable. What really disappointed me was the spilled lime dressing at the side of the dish, sloppy for a Michelin 3 star restaurant.

~~~

Appetizer 3, Lobster Lacquered Lobster Tail; Herb Spring Roll Lemongrass Consommé ~ this dish had Vietnamese and Thai influences and it was my favorite dish of the night. The lobster tail was cooked to perfection; juicy, moist, and not chewy nor rubbery.

~~~

Appetizer 4, Crab Warm Peekytoe Maryland Lump Crab; Shaved Heirloom Cauliflower, Mustard Emulsion ~ Finally something that resembled French cuisine, as Le Bernadin is a French seafood restaurant that debuted in Paris in 1972. The crab meat, like the other seafood, was extremely fresh, but unfortunately the mustard emulsion was on the overpowering side, masking the freshness of crab meat.

~~~

Both my company and I picked the same main course, White Tuna-Kobe Beef Grilled Escolar and Seared Wagyu Beef; Fresh Kimchi Asian Pear, Soy-Citrus Emulsion ~ Bok-choy, kimchi, soy sauce, this was a mixture of Chinese and Korean flavors. For a seafood restaurant, the meat dish was just as outstanding!

~~~

Hazelnut Praline with Flourless Hazelnut Cake, Gianduja Mousse, Orange Curd Praline Ice Cream

~~~

Exotic Fruit “Pavlova” with Roasted Pineapple, Guava Jam, Yuzu-Coconut Sorbet ~ Aromatic, light and refreshing, I love this dessert!

~~~

Pretty and colorful Petit Fours to end the meal.

 

Le Bernardin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements