So, I tell my Chef at the time that I'm heading to NYC, and eating at Le Bernardin. He'd told me that he'd been, so when I asked him if they had a strict dress code, he just said, "nahhhh, just a button up; you don't need a jacket or anything." I end up just taking his word for some reason. I also end up telling all my friends : just a button up, we don't need a jacket or anything. So we get there and--guess what..? Luckily, they had loaners...
One of the most embarrassing dining experiences of my life : sitting at a table with two other friends, all of us wearing over-sized jackets, looking like we're 13 year-olds trying to impersonate adults. Half the restaurant was wondering where our parents were. Longest dinner ever.
Okay, so the food. It was expensive. $300 for 5 courses. Seriously?? I know it's one of the best establishments in the city, but $300? That's like 600 tacos at Jack in the Box. The food was good, but it wasn't as good as 600 tacos from Jack in the Box.
An amuse bouche of truffled crab salad sanwiched between two wispy layers of potato. Good. (This bite was $50.)
bluefin tuna & foie gras
This was the saving grace of my dining experience. It still stands as one of the most memorable dishes that I've ever had. Eric Ripert's signature dish : bluefin tuna, foie gras, truffle oil. You'd think it's luxury overkill, but it's amazing. Truly amazing. Hidden underneath the veil of tuna is a thin peasant bread crisp slathered with foie gras. I can tell a lot of work went into this dish to get it to look and taste like the perfection that it was. Hats off to the chef on this one.
maine lobster, hearts of palm, & orange beurre blanc
Tasted exactly how it sounded like. In this case, it was a good thing, but I wish there was more to it. Perfectly cooked lobster, though.
escolar, kobe, eggplant fries, & red wine demi
Everything was cooked and season really well here. I especially liked the eggplant because it was the most unfamiliar. The steak and the fish were good, but not amazing. I just wanted more. I hate when people say this, but I'm gonna say it. It was...'too pedestrian'.
beets, chocolate, & orange sorbet
If I'm essentially paying $50 bucks for a 6 oz portion of dessert, I should be getting an edible gold ingot with my name engraved on it by virgin fairies from Middle Earth, right? Nope: beets. I got beets.
Do I recommend Le Bernadin? I don't know. There comes a point where food just costs too much, no matter how good it is. $300 for only 5 courses manages to break that threshold for me. If it's that expensive, every dish should have been a 10/10, but only the tuna ever ranked that high for me. I recommend just going in for a drink, and an order of that tuna to share with a friend or a date. Definitely bring a jacket.