Best of the Best 2012: Dining: Le Bernardin

  • Photo by Daniel Kriege
    Le Bernardin Photo by Daniel Kriege
  • Photo by Shimon and Tammar
    Peruvian Style Scallop Ceviche Photo by Shimon and Tammar
  • Photo by Shimon and Tammar
    Smoked Organic Scottish Salmon Photo by Shimon and Tammar
  • Photo by Daniel Kriege
  • Photo by Shimon and Tammar
  • Photo by Shimon and Tammar
  • Lisa Sweetingham

Chef Eric Ripert’s temple to all that is piscine, Le Bernardin (212.554.1515, www.le-bernardin.com) has been at the top of Manhattan’s food chain since it opened in 1986. But while Ripert has continually and subtly updated the classic French menu, Le Bernardin’s dining room remained frozen in the past. Last fall, that finally changed: The restaurant closed for a six-week renovation, and when it reopened Ripert had a room as alive and fresh as his cooking. Out are the wood-framed chairs hunched over round tables. New leather-embroidered steel chairs and banquettes give the dining room a warm, modern feel. Gone are the gilded-frame paintings depicting fishmongers. Now, a 24-foot triptych of a roiling, moody ocean hovers on the back wall, as if to remind diners of the majesty of their meal’s origins.

The new bar seduces with flirty, low lighting, and the bar menu—a first for Le Bernardin—allows indulgences such as pairing caviar and oyster tastings with finely crafted drinks. Happily, the prix-fixe dinner menu continues in the same current, including a perfectly crispy black bass in a sauce of black garlic and Persian lemon, and charred octopus a la plancha that all but melts on the palate. While jackets are encouraged in the bar, and still required in the dining room, it is safe to say this New York icon has loosened its tie.

From Around the Web...
David Burke’s take involves bourbon-infused beef, bourbon aioli, and maraschino-cherry ketchup…
©Getty Images
The Japanese fruit is revered as a status symbol…
Chef Daniel Eddy of Michelin-starred Rebelle tells us how to make his favorite late-night meal…
The executive chef of Pearl & Ash tells how to make his childhood favorite…
Lone Mountain Wagyu Club’s shipments will include both traditional and more unusual cuts…
Thick-cut bacon coated in pancake batter…
Shakshuka is packed with protein and easy to make…
With this guide and the right tools, you will get delicious results every time…
Go big this summer and barbecue an entire beast in your backyard…
The acclaimed chef of Mission Chinese Food takes Corn Pops to the next level…