After the Theater, we made a reservation at Le Bernardin. Even at the late hour of an 11PM reservation the restaurant was bustling. We arrived early and were asked to have a cocktail in the bar while they spent 20 minutes getting our table ready. The cocktail list was interesting with a mix of classics and modern libations. The bar snacks were also of high quality - the candied walnuts with pepper were my favorite.
Two years ago the dining room and bar area were given a sprucing up. The bar area was enlarged and the entire space's decor was given a welcome modernization. All making for a pleasing experience from an atmosphere perspective.
However, it's all about the fish here. This was our second visit to Le Bernardin and it didn't disappoint. Sure, there were a couple of wine pairings we didn't agree with, but the food was outstanding. We opted for the seven course Le Bernardin tasting menu with wine pairing. I'll admit, I'm not a person who really likes fish, but if Eric Ripert would cook for me I'd become a pescatarian. For the quality of the food, presentation, and level of service, I found Le Bernardin to be a good value (especially when compared to some of its NYC contemporaries).
Following the obligatory and quite tasty amuse bouche, came the tuna course. Deceptively simple, this dish was a surprise of flavors and textures. It was pounded almost paper thin, placed on top of toasted baguette, and topped with foie gras. The contrast in textures between the fish and bread alone was enough to give the dish rave reviews but it delivered on flavor as well. The scallop in dashi with brown butter was a marvel. The broth made you want to pick up the shell that the sweet and tender scalloped rested on and slurp it.
I could go on about the experience and food, but wouldn't do it justice. I highly recommend making a reservation (well in advance) to try to the current menu. It's worth the price of admission!
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