#LauraLovesNYC Post #3: Lunch at Le Bernardin

Mesclun Salad from Le Bernardin
Mom’s first course: Mesclun Salad! Salad of the Day’s Market Herbs and Vegetables with Balsamic-Shalott Dressing

*NOTE*: Neither Le Bernardin nor Eric Ripert asked me to write this post; I am just a Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, who wanted to share this fabulous lunch that I had in New York City! Photos were captured with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Day two of the New York City trip! Once we finished touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my Mom and I went to lunch at Le Bernardin, located in the West Side of New York City.

Why was I interested in dining at Le Bernardin? Well, the restaurant is co-owned by Anthony Bourdain‘s best friend, Executive Chef Eric Ripert. I’ll never forget when we watched one of the first No Reservations: New York City episodes- Bourdain was meeting up with a bunch of his chef friends from dinner at Prune and The Spotted Pig. He briefly introduced each chef, and when it was time to introduce Ripert, my Mom was like: “Wait- who is THAT? Rewind!” lol. X)

Needless to say, my Mom and I were intrigued by Eric from very early on in No Reservations. Thanks to Bourdain featuring him on No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown, I had the opportunity to get glimpses into the personality of Bourdain’s best friend.

Then again, Ripert does not need Bourdain’s help; he is very accomplished in his own right. Thanks to Eric, Le Bernardin has some Michelin stars, and is constantly named one of the top 50 best restaurants in the ENTIRE world!

My Mom and I were lucky enough to attend Bourdain & Ripert’s “Good vs. Evil” tour back in 2013, when it stopped in Pittsburgh. Needless to say, we both became ever bigger fans of Eric, as he gracefully took Tony’s mock interrogation on stage.

Mom REALLY wanted to go to Le Bernardin. I also wanted to go, but hesitated at first, because we had already made reservations for Les Halles Park Avenue, and I knew that would be an expensive meal. Lucky for my Mom, she didn’t’ have to “twist my arm” (metaphorically speaking) too far to convince me to make a reservation at Le Bernardin.

When we arrived, I was totally blown away by the elegance of the restaurant, and the meticulous detail (from the design, to the attentiveness of the wait staff, to the food)! Once the host sat us at our table, our waiter (who I could definitely tell was from France) greeted us and inquired about what beverage we would like served at lunch.

Knowing this would be a pricey (but memorable) lunch, my Mom and I both stuck with water. Pictured above is my Mom’s first course. I must say, I took one bite of the salad- I’ve NEVER tasted better salad in my entire LIFE! IT was such a simple salad, but yet so incredibly good!

Artichoke Dish from Le Bernardin
My First Course: warm artichoke panache, with vegetable risotto and truffle emulsion! 😀

How many people can say they’ve had a three course lunch? Pretty fancy, right? My second course was also delectable! The only other risotto that I’ve had that comes close to being as good as Le Bernardin’s was the former Le Pommier restaurant in Pittsburgh.

Of course, I am a HUGE artichoke fan; thus, this dish pleased me immediately. It might be hard to see in this photo, but there was a shaving of black truffle on top of the risotto. For those of you who do not know: black truffle is VERY expensive.

Lobster from Le Bernardin
Mom’s main course: Pan Roasted Lobster, with chestnut mousseline, and a Celeriac “Cannelloni”.

As Eric says: “the fish is the star”, and my Mom definitely felt that this lobster dish was the star of her lunch! I tried a bite as well, and of course, it was pretty incredible.

Crispy Duck Le Bernardin
My main course: Crispy Duck with fennel and sour cherries, all swimming in a sherry sauce! 😀

The minute I took at the menu, I knew I wanted the Crispy Duck dish! Although, above this dish, it said “Upon Request” (meaning, if you asked for it, and they had it, they would make it for you). Well, I asked, and they had it!

This was THE best duck dish I’ve EVER had! Between the savory-ness of the fennel, the tartness of the sour cherries, and the smooth texture of the medium rare duck, I was definitely in foodie heaven! This dish was almost too handsome to eat, but I managed. 😉

Flourless Cake Le Bernardin
Mom’s course #3: Hazelnut Praline! Flourless Hazelnut cake, with Gianjuda mousse, orange curd and praline ice cream

I didn’t get a chance to sample my Mom’s dessert, but from what I can remember, she loved this dessert (who wouldn’t?)!

Chocolate Mousse from Le Bernardin
My Course #3: Dark Milk Chocolate! Milk Chocolate Mousse. dark caramel, candied peanuts and warm malted caramel

First of all: mousse in ball form? I was very impressed by this original take on a chocolate mousse dish! I loved dunking each bite of chocolate mousse into the caramel sauce, followed by sampling the crunchy candied peanuts. Heaven on a plate!

Spice Chocolate Ice Cream Le Bernardin
Spice Chocolate House-made Ice cream!

I thought things couldn’t get any better- man was I wrong! This spiced chocolate ice cream BLEW the other dessert out of the park! This was the most decadent, and tasty ice cream dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming!

I must say, this lunch left me breathless. Unless I eat at some spectacular restaurant in Europe someday, I try believe that this is the best meal I’ve had in my entire life, and that it’s won’t get any better (at least in America) than Le Bernardin.

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Le Bernardin’s website

Le Bernardin’s Facebook page

Le Bernardin’s Twitter page

Eric Ripert’s Twitter page

Le Bernardin’s Instagram page

Eric Ripert’s Instagram page

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