Yes, the steaks are delicious and the variety of cuts they offer is overwhelming, but what really separates this steakhouse from the ordinary is the incredible wine list. Not to mention the price point on many of these wines are extremely reasonable. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and picked out an incredible Merry Edwards Meredith Estate 2004 Pinot Noir that was everything we hoped for and more!
As for the food. The escargot are some of the best I've ever had, scratch that... they were the best I've had. Keep in mind their version isn't the traditional butter/garilc preparation that most restaurants abide by, rather theirs is a a hybrid of creamed spinach and garlic escargot wrapped into one harmonious dish packed full of flavor.
We also tried the truffle steak tartare which was very nice and had just the right amount of moisture. I even asked them to leave off the raw egg which they did, yet the dish still turned out exquisite.
The one setback for our apps was the braised short rib ravioli as the pasta was cold. We sent it back and when it returned it was nice and hot. When cooked correctly, this is a terrific dish especially if you like al dente pasta (which we do!).
Now for the steaks. We had a filet and chateau, both were pretty tasty but were just as good as a Capital Grille steak. Again... what makes this place stand out is the wine, atmosphere and the other sides they offer. Also if you don't like an intense char on your steak this may not be the place for you. While the steak is cooked to your liking on the inside, the outside of both steaks had an intense black char to them.
For sides we had the truffle mac n cheese which was the size of an entree, and ohhh soooo tasty. We knew we ordered way too much food but we wanted to try as much as possible since we made the trip down from DC. Their mac and cheese (like the ravioli) was perfectly al dente packed full of truffle decadence.
It should also be noted that sides are almost unnecessary at Bern's since each dinner comes with a salad, potato and french onion soup. Most major steak houses are charging 8 bux for a basic potato, it is nice to see Bern's doesn't go with masses and lets the customer feel comfortable and not being ripped off.
Everyone raves about the desserts here and we really had every intention of giving it a whirl but we were sooooo stuffed we couldn't eat anything more. Luckily our waiter still offered (and we accepted) the tour of the wine cellar which was more than impressive.
Two last items to mention:
Even with a reservation be prepared to wait on a Saturday night. Our reservation was at 8 and we were seated around 8:40. Secondly, 12% is included in the tip, then you are supposed to tip the additional gratuity like normal. For instance 12% comes on the bill then you would tip 20% if you thoroughly enjoyed the meal/service.... meaning you'd be tipping 32% on the check. I guess when they throw in the free potato, salad, soup and reasonable wine prices it somewhat evens out.
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