Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin absolutely delivered a 3 star meal. This is not bells and whistles cuisine, but every single dish delivered delicious, bright flavors that was executed perfectly. Many of the sauces were added table side and you could see the care and attention given to every detail. This is not cuisine of a 100 ingredients with the hope that something works. This is precise edited cuisine that shows an intelligent understanding of what constitutes a great tasting menu.

The wine pairings by sommelier, Aldo Sohm was also spot on.

I wrote down one of Aldo’s sayings “A dead fish floats with the river.” What he meant was that he wants to go against the tide and do the unexpected. This was his way of explaining why he chose the wines for the pairings. 

The service was equally 3 star, not hovering, but just always “there” when we needed something. 

Basically, I am going to let the photos tell the story.

Amuse – Tuna Tartare


Thinly pounded smoked salmon carpaccio; toasted brioche brushed with creme fraiche and caviar

Wine pairing: Shizuku – Divine Droplets, Junmai Daigginjo Sake


Kindai Maguro – (First sustainably raised Japanese Blue Fin Tuna in the world) Seared Blue Fin; Parmesan Crisp and Sun-Dried Tomato; Nicoise puree, black olive oil, micro basil

Nicoise puree being added

Final dish

Wine pairing: Godello – Vina Godeval, Valdeorras 2006


Ultra Rare Charred Scallops a la plancha; Braised Morels and Chanterelles, Mushroom Jus Hollandaise style, capers, cornichons

Mushroom jus being added

Final dish

Wine pairing: Chablis 1er Cru vaillons, Daniel – Etienne Defaix 2000


Baked Lobster; Asparagus, Sauce Gribiche with Tarragon

Sauce Gribiche added table side

Wine pairing: Blaufrankisch “Brandkraften” Wenzel, Neusiedlersee-Hugelland, Austria 2002


Escolar- White tuna poached in extra virgin olive oil; sea beans and potato crisps; light red wine bearnaise

Red Wine Bearnaise added

Wine pairing: Nuits saint-georges, Vieilles Vignes,m Daniel Rion 2003

Crispy Black Bass; braised celery; Iberico Ham, Green Peppercorn sauce

Green peppercorn sauce added

Wine pairing: Rioja, Reserve ‘Vina Ardanza’, La Rioja Alta 2000


Fourme d’Ambert, Crispy bacon soy caramel, Gingershap tuile, Curry sauce, Lemongrass (not pictured)

Wine pairing: L’Etoile, Savagnin, Domaine de Montbourgeau, Jura 2000


Dark Amedei Chocolate ganache, Toasted baguette, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Maldon sea salt

Wine pairing: Muskat Ottonel Trockenbeerenauselese No 4 – Aloise Kracher, Austria 2002


An excellent meal in every way.


6 Responses to “Le Bernardin”

  1. 1 John October 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    AMAZING that Le Bernardin would serve Escolar, a disgusting and unhealthy fish that has been banned in several countries, one of which is Japan. Fyi, while it is sometimes referred to as “white tuna,” it is absolutely NOT related to the tuna. I’m sure my reply will warrant further examination on your part.

  2. 2 lizziee October 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Escolar is consumed in several European and Asian countries, as well as in the USA, sometimes raw as sushi or sashimi. It may be sold as “white tuna” – a term also used for the albacore – or as “super white tuna” to distinguish it from the albacore.[1] Escolar is also sold misleadingly as “butterfish”, “oilfish” and “Hawaiian butter fish”; in Hawaii and Fiji, it is known as walu. Like oilfish, a related species with similar consumption consequences, escolar is also sometimes deceptively sold under the name of an entirely different species of fish, most commonly “codfish” or “orange roughy”.

    In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after receiving complaints about diarrhea associated with escolar consumption, issued a bulletin recommending against import of the fish in the early 1990s. However, the FDA backed away from this recommendation and withdrew the bulletin several years later after deciding the fish was nontoxic and nonlethal. Currently, the FDA informally recommends that “Escolar should not be marketed in interstate commerce.”[4]

In the right hands, this oily whitefish has overcome its undeserved stigma
    By Chris Anderson
    Chefs who feature it regularly on their menus say there is no better-eating fish than escolar, a firm and dense white fish with a mild flavor that is equally at home on a grill or in a sauté pan. Escolar’s relatively high oil content makes it easy to cook and adds a pleasing texture when eaten.
    But that which makes it so tasty — the high oil content, or what is referred to as “waxy esters” — has dogged escolar’s reputation for many years as reports of its purgative effect on diners regularly circulate. Because the human body can’t absorb the waxy esters, they can act as a laxative for some, resulting in stomach cramps and diarrhea.
    Reports of this effect had the Food and Drug Administration scrambling to ban escolar imports in the early 1990s, though the agency eventually backed off, since the fish is not poisonous.
    Importers, wholesalers and chefs who sell escolar say the reputation the fish has developed over the years, while not necessarily untrue, is based on a variety of factors, including mislabeling of a related species, mishandling of the fish before cooking and selling portions that are too large.
    Escolar is the common name for Lepidocybium flavobrunneum. A member of the mackerel family, it is found in warm tropical waters and is a bycatch of longliners fishing for tuna and swordfish, so it’s available year-round. Its skin is smooth and brown to black, which is one of the differences between escolar and its close cousin, the “oil fish,” or Ruvettus pretiosus, which has a similar body shape and color but a scaly skin.
    John Barrett, South Pacific specialist for New Zealand Seafood Marketing, an escolar importer, says this is an important distinction for those looking to buy and sell the fish.
    The oil fish, he explains, “should not be used or sold as escolar.”
    John Victoria, president of Pittsburgh-based Western Edge, which imports frozen-at-sea escolar loins, agrees that proper identification of the fish is important.
    “There are potential problems with people not knowing the difference between the two fish. What we look for and sell is the smooth-scale, black-skin escolar, and we import it from South America, South Africa and Singapore,” says Victoria.
    “Today we have educated ourselves about the difference between oil fish and escolar, and we are very careful who we buy it from,” says Steve Foltz, vice president of sales for Chesapeake Fish Co., a San Diego wholesaler that sells about 300 pounds of the fish each week.
    “Now we have little or no problems with it.”
    Selling the proper fish is a start, but purveyors say that strict attention to handling and proper portion control also need to be considered. The recommended portion size should be in the 6- to 7-ounce range, as anything over that has the potential to cause adverse reactions in a small number of consumers, say purveyors.
    Because portion control is of the essence, escolar’s availability at retail is spotty, at best. The small recommended-portion sizes make it a good fit for upscale, white-tablecloth restaurants.

  3. 3 Loving Annie October 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous meal !
    Very impressive, and I will put it on my list for the next time I am in New York !

    Want to try Jean Georges and Per Se as well.
    Daniel was fabulous in April !

  4. 4 ChuckEats October 26, 2008 at 1:00 am

    John, Bernardin’s escolar, when on, is one of the great dishes in the US, if not the world.

  5. 5 Pam November 8, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    DH and I will be dining at Le Bernardin for the first time next Friday. Would you please share info on your table location? Are there any specific tables for two you would recommend? Having never been there, I don’t know what section to request.

    And special thanks for the photos of the courses.

  6. 6 lizziee November 9, 2008 at 9:36 am

    We were 4 people and were sitting more or less in the middle of the room. As long as you are not at the rear of the room, by the bathrooms, you are fine.

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