This was the meal I was most looking forward to during my trip to NY last week. The reason for that is because Le Bernardin is my friend’s favorite restaurant (he had also been to all of the Michelin 3-starred restaurants in NY.) We booked our reservation pretty late (a few weeks out) and could only get a 5:30PM reservation, which wasn’t too bad.
We were waiting for our 4th guest, and while waiting, I had noticed there was a crease in the middle of the tablecloth. Now I know this sounds extremely petty, but I only noticed this because when I was at Canlis, I noticed the waiters there actually ironing out the creases in the tablecloths. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if we didn’t have to wait for our last guest. Now am I going to complain or knock off a star because of this? No, but if you are a 3 Michelin starred restaurant, it’s all about these minor details (like how the waiter uses that tool to pick up the bread crumbs on your table.)
There are 2 tasting menus – the chef’s tasting and the regular tasting. We unanimously picked the chef’s tasting menu with the wine pairing. I preferred this wine pairing over Per Se’s since there is a set wine pairing and you received a new wine with every course. I also liked this tasting menu since I’m a seafood lover and this menu was predominantly seafood.
After we ordered, our waiter came out and told us bad news/good news. The bad news was that they didn’t have the first course anymore. The good news was that they were going to replace it with a caviar/white fish course instead (which would have been a $50 supplement.) I call that good news-good news.
I thought the meal was fine. The Maine lobster was good, the langostine a touch overcooked, the salmon was good as well. For dessert, I had asked to swap dessert dishes since I preferred the chocolate one from the regular menu. The chef was nice enough to make us an anniversary cake and then an additional mango cake that was delicious. Sure enough, after that, a plate of petite fours came out.
The dessert here was just as delicious as Per Se, but the Per Se 4 desserts PER PERSON slightly wins.
Also, one of the wine pairings was a Krug champagne. I was VERY EXCITED for this since. However, it wasn’t poured into a flute (more like a white wine glass) and the temperature was a bit on the warm side. It didn’t have the bubbles and crispness that I was used to. I wasn’t sure if it was due to the temperature or maybe the batch wasn’t as good as the ones I remember on CX or SQ.
Le Bernardin is slightly cheaper than Per Se, and if you like seafood, then I would recommend Le Bernardin over Per Se. Food quality I thought they were pretty similar, meaning in a blind taste test, I wouldn’t have been able to guess which restaurant made what dish. I do feel like I need to go back to Brooklyn Fare the next time I visit NYC to see if it truly is my favorite (or maybe I thought it was good because it was one of my first Michelin experiences.)
A friend told me she liked Le B better than Per Se as well. However, I think it may be because Eric Ripert gave her a private tour of the kitchen. That’s the thing with these Michelin star restaurants – I think it’s truly about the experience since the food is already top notch. At Brooklyn Fare, there’s only ~12 seats per seating, and so it feels more intimate whereas with EMP, Le B, and Per Se, you are in a pretty “big” dining room, and so it no longer feels “special.”
Oh, Le B also had a pen. My wife decided to ask this time, and the waiter happily obliged. However, she said it wasn’t as nice as the Per Se pen.