Le Bernardin New York | Simply Irresistible
As Sarah Michelle Gellar conjures spellbinding culinary decadence in the film “Simply Irresistible,” in which her magical creations hypnotize the guests in her cozy New York restaurant, so did the Culinary Masters at Le Bernardin. In the movie each guest was lulled into a blissful silence, one of sheer pleasure and awe, deepened with each bite. Much like her guests I found myself speechless, rendered silent by the heavenly flavors, elegant ambiance and magic in every detail.
Originated in Paris by siblings Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze in 1972, this elite French Restaurant ventured out to New York City in 1986 after receiving their third Michelin Star. Not long after, Chef Eric Ripert, a disciple of Gilbert joined the Le Bernardin family with the purpose to add to and expand upon the legacy of creative and fresh cuisine, staring the fish dishes, and transforming them into being the lead component of the menu.
Given the location, one of the busiest central and highly touristic areas in New York City, Le Bernardin preserves its authenticity and exemplifies fine dining. From the very moment you enter its elegant and sophisticated space, the personnel’s energy and professionalism set the stage for what is sure to be a culinary experience of a lifetime. Fine dressed hosts welcome you with their radiant smiles, greeting you as the French do, ‘Bonjour,’ and graciously accompany you to your table. As if you were transported to Paris the moment you are seated your journey begins with champagne, Roederer. Seating relaxed yet keeping a straight posture with a refined and delicate Zalto glass in your hand, you get a sense of what being la noblesse must have felt.
Observing around the room, you naturally find yourself immersed in a state of calmness and contentment. Guests are smiling and cozily speaking to one another as if time had slowed down and minutes became hours of joy. Seated in the dining room, it is a perfect moment to enjoy yourself and surrender to this magical culinary journey. The interior décor is classy and very well balanced. Earthly feeling, combined with noble finishes and beautiful artwork. Royal wood wrapping parts of the ceiling and walls while vertical steel elements on windows and sides in the form of waves reflect origins, confidence, and style. White orchids by the bar highlight the elegance and allure of the space, endearing you to reconnect with the beauty you are surrounded.
Salmon Rillette made from Poached and Smoked Salmon, Chives, and Mayo was a starter that gave a small, yet exquisite taste of what to expect. From the moment it touches your lips, this ‘amuse bouche’ is nothing short of heaven. It is a combination of freshness, softness, and delicate textures that inspire you to follow the flavors as they transition from one to another, each one better than the last.
Chef’s Tasting Menu, nothing short of an artful gastronomic journey is composed of Seven Courses. I will leave you with a glimpse of what I felt while indulging myself in this delectable voyage.
When the first dish arrived, I was immediately impressed by its exceptional presentation, not a mere dish to behold, rather a work of art to be studied, understood and appreciated. Caviar Tartare made From Osetra Caviar, Gold Leaf, Smoked Duchess Sauce, finished with Sea Salt Foam. The subtle smokiness aftertaste was the icing on the “cake”. Although the dish was served with a toast, which softened its palate, without the toast, the natural richness and influence of the flavors were on full volume and a completely different experience to savor.
Lobster was a pure delight. Let’s start with the fact that anything with truffle is heavenly. This dish was no exception, except that it went far beyond my wildest expectations. Perfect presentation along with its divine taste, leaves you pleased, yet with room for the remaining courses to follow. The truffle sauce with lobster melted slowly in my mouth, transporting my senses to a serene place. Tagliatelle was the lightest and most perfect I have ever tasted. Perfection, enough said.
For sweets, a refreshing Grapefruit Sorbet creatively composed with Blood Orange-Quince Granité, Bugey-Cerdon, Patrick Bottex and Savoie, France NV looked like an episode of Kandinsky artwork.
“Simply Irresistible” must have been inspired and based on the artful culinary experience at Le Bernardin. It awakens something new, something that hasn’t yet been experienced nor properly described. I discovered new flavors and new senses I wasn’t aware of and Harmony in everything is the only way I can describe this iconic culinary experience.