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Why are rez's at Le Bernardin so easy to come by?

thievery Jul 17, 2006 10:58 PM

Le Bernardin is a Michelin 3-star and rated the #1 restaurant in all of New York by New York Mag... yet I can go on OpenTable right now and get a prime time reservation for Thursday night and a 9:30 slot for Friday. Meanwhile places like Butter, Bolo and Mesa Grill are booked. And, places like Per Se and Nobu can often require over a month (or more notice). This availability always seems the case, not just today. I realize trendiness is a factor and the food may not be for everyone... but i've never known a Michelin 3-star to be so easy.

What's the deal? Never been. Just curious.

  1. e
    eve Jul 18, 2006 02:16 AM

    Hot summer nights are deterrents for fine dining. Each summer, we find it easy to pick up prime time reservations at haute cuisine restaurants. And, when we are there, the dining rooms are rarely crowded. Enjoy the opportunity (unless something is broken on Open Table--to be sure, call and book directly).

    1. c
      cheftamara Jul 18, 2006 02:19 AM

      Been hearing quality's (food, service, innovation) not as good. Maybe they've reached their peak?

      1. streamwise Jul 18, 2006 04:00 AM

        I was there in January, and quality was exceptional. Eric Ripert was in the kitchen and on the floor occasionally. When its this hot though, I'm loathe to wear a suit to dinner....

        1. Wilfrid Jul 18, 2006 04:04 PM

          As a rule, the city's top - and most expensive - restaurants are not the hardest to get into. Per Se is an exception - few tables, huge publicity - as is Daniel - big tourist trade. Le B, Jean-Georges, Alain Ducasse, Bouley, Gilt - not particularly difficult.

          Most of the "impossible" places, like Babbo, are a step down in price and status.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Wilfrid
            p
            Pupster Jul 18, 2006 04:11 PM

            Also, don't underestimate the power of the Food Network -- Bobby Flay (Bolo, Mesa Grill), Batali (Babbo, etc), even Nobu might fall into that category. I'm sure if Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee decided to open a restaurant together it would be full of their fans...eating 30-minute out of the can/box creations.

            1. re: Pupster
              BackyardChef Jul 19, 2006 05:08 PM

              Thanks for the horrifying vision of what food hell would be like...bottles of "E.V.O.O" fueling the fire, of course...

              1. re: Pupster
                l
                LVI Jul 19, 2006 05:22 PM

                Almost as bad as going to Babbo and watching a 1/2 in the bag Mario Batali hit on some woman 1/2 his age (and probably 1/3 his weight). I guess if he spent more time in the kitchen we wouldn't have had to send back 2 meals out of 4 then send one of the return dishes back!

                1. re: LVI
                  d
                  Darren72 Jul 21, 2006 08:08 PM

                  Nice post!

            2. k
              kirk in NY Jul 18, 2006 06:07 PM

              Quality is not the problem. Had dinner there last Friday (first time since April 1987 -- that was not a good experience), and it was excellent. The place does have a slightly robotic/souless feel to it, but that is a risk that comes from the level of precision in the cooking and the service; very hard to keep a place feeling personal and warm when everything is running on quasi-military clockwork. Happens in 2 stars in france all the time i have noticed; it is one thing that actually makes the 3 star experience in Europe so special; they manange the charm and warmth and personality while hitting the technical food and service bulls'-eyes.

              1. foodiegrl Jul 21, 2006 08:01 PM

                Don't forget it's Restaurant Week, so everyone's flocking to get their 3-course $35 menus. Le Bernardin is obviously not participating.

                http://www.nycvisit.com/RestaurantWee...

                1. s
                  Sean Dell Jul 21, 2006 09:51 PM

                  I'd go to any restaurant with Sandra Lee out front (Rachel can stay in back!).

                  - Sean

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