Unlike many fine dining establishments in Los Angeles, a number of fabulous New York restaurants are open for lunch. Not only was this great for our schedule, but it was also great for our wallets. We sampled our first Michelin three-starred restaurants for so much less!
This was a place after which I'd lusted for a long time -- Chef Eric Ripert's prized restaurant, Le Bernardin.
The decor didn't impress me. Rather blah like a nondescript hotel restaurant.
But this was no hotel restaurant. No, not at all.
Hotel restaurants don't give you this.
Doesn't my camera bag look super happy sitting on its own little perch?
Mr. Monkey, however, was not happy about having to wear a suit for lunch. He bitched and moaned all morning. Le Bernardin doesn't mess around. Whereas you can get away with smart casual attire at most L.A. fine dining restaurants, eating hoity-toity food in NYC is a formal affair. Staid. Stuffy. And, if we're being completely honest here, sort of uncomfortable. At Le Bernardin, a jacket is always required for men, even during the day.
Luckily, this complimentary salmon spread shut Mr. Monkey up pretty fast.
He doesn't even like salmon. He liked this. I liked this. I liked that he liked this.
There was also this tasty bread.
This shut up Mr. Monkey, too.
During lunch, Le Bernardin offers a three-course meal for $68.
The menu is divided into "Almost Raw," "Barely Touched," and "Lightly Cooked." If you are ridiculous enough not to eat seafood here, there is also an "Upon Request" section that offers duck, Kobe beef, and pasta.
Actually, "ridiculous" isn't enough. You'd be an idiot to go to Le Bernardin and not eat seafood. This is the marine mecca, my pretties.
Baked langoustine, lemon-seaweed butter.
Meaty, luscious, and beautiful. So simple. So lovely.
Escolar poached in extra virgin olive oil, sea beans, potato crisps, light red wine Béarnaise.
Lightly cooked to a perfect tenderness. The sauce was sweet and tangy and unlike any Béarnaise I'd ever encountered. Exquisite.
Crispy black bass, Iberico ham-green peppercorn sauce, celery and parsnip custard.
Pan-roasted monkfish, black garlic and Persian lemon sauce, Israeli couscous tabbouleh.
This fish had a fantastic texture, and the sauce was interesting and unexpected. We enjoyed the pairing with the couscous tabbouleh. Very refreshing.
Dark Amedei chocolate ganache, sweet potato pearls and sorbet, pistachio, palm sugar, vanilla salt.
Dude. Dude. I wanted to kiss Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis. The use of sweet potato was genius. Very memorable.
Gianduja cream, Oregon hazelnuts, honey, banana, brown butter ice cream.
More kisses to the pastry chef. A nutty fantasy.
Chinese and Indian green tea with apple and jasmine scent.
Fresh-baked warm mignardise.
Man, even these were heavenly.
Along with our check, we received a menu and a Le Bernardin-imprinted Zagat guide.
The only thing I regret is not having visited sooner. Consider me a believer.
Next: A walk in the park.