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Jan 22, 2009 07:32 AM

My Culinary Fantasy Trip REVIEWS!

Ok ya'll I'm back and I'm just starting to write my reviews. May take a little while but I will post them in order of my favorites. Favorites being first and working my way down. First up Le Bernardin (My Favorite)!

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  1. In a trip that involved dining at some of the worlds greatest restaurants there is one that stood taller than the rest. Le Bernardin. In a mondern day last supper, I believe this would be the place Jesus and the Apostles would choose to have there meal. Seafood so fresh that it tastes like it was swimming in a sea or ocean 10 minutes before you eat it or maybe the staff who seems to really care about your dining experience and not wondering what party there going to go to afterwards or how much I'm going to tip them. Service so swift and perfect its like watching a ballet show. There has been many complaints about the interior design and how it looks like a office building, but to me the only thing that looks like a office building are the guests dining there as they all come dressed to impress in which they should. The guys in suits and the ladys in there ballroom dresses. If one takes a secound to look around, expecially at the paintings, to me it resembles a greek beachside restaurant with a little french twist on it. The paintings really resemble the food served here with bright blues and french guys flowing up and down the water. Beautiful flowers that just really make the room pop. Tables are a little close but close enough where a couple couldn't enjoy the company of each other. It a great restaurant for a romatic night out or for a culinary adventure.

    When I first walked in they didn't have me down for a reservation, which I made, but said no problem sir and took be to the perfect little table in the corner that was devine for a solo diner. They then brought me a complimentary glass of champagne to start off what would be the greatest dining experience I've ever had. I knew from the beginning the tasting menu would be what I would choose but wanted to create my own tasting menu as there were certain dishes I wanted to try. The server quickly said no problem sir, we will do whatever you like. First course I chose the Tuna (Almost Raw), Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin Tuna, Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette, Shaved Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Tuna was very silky and smooth with the Foie Gras adding a nice richness to it followed by the crunch of the Toasted Baguette. A beauitul dish that was light and yet rich at the same time. Secound course was the Sea Urchin Risotto (Barely Touched), Sea Urchin Risotto, Toasted Nori, Urchin-Citrus Emulsion. Aw this was one of my favorites of the night. It was lightly rich Risotto with the Citrus Emulsion adding a nice light flavor and the Nori adding the slight saltiness to the dish. Right in the middle floating on top was a big Sea Urchin that seemed to just swim right down my mouth. Third course was the Salmon (Lightly Cooked), Barely Cooked Organic Salmon, Water Chesnuts and Pea Tendrils, Gingered Baby Bok Choy and Citrus Emulsion. The best salmon I have had, period. Cooked just slightly, it was sweet and savory to the last bite. Fourth course was the Bass-Langoustine (Lightly Cooked), Baked Wild Striped Bass and Langoustine, Confit Tomato Agnolotti, Boullabaiise Consomme and Curry Emulsion. This was the shining star of the night. Perfectly cooked flacky Striped Bass with a HUGE piece of Langoustine that was almost as big as the bass itself that had the texture and taste of Lobster but I prefer this little creature more than Lobster. I can still smell this dish. Has a bright yellow citrus color around the bass with a delicous and wholesome smell of fresh grown tomatoes with a slight spice of the curry. Excellent dish! Fifth course was the Surf and Turf (Lightly Cooked) Escolar and Seared Kobe Beef, Sea Bean Salad and Eggplant Fries, Mr. Kaugmans Pesto and Anchovy Sauce. The nice rectangle shaped Kobe Beef was cooked to perfection but was a little more salty than I liked. The Escolar is a white tuna and flavorless fish but Mr. Kaugmans Pesto and Anchovy Sauce added a nice brown and earthy taste to it that made it sing! For the First Dessert I went first with the Yuzu, Yuzu Parfait, Meringue, Green Tea Biscuit and Ice Cream. The Yuzu had a citrus flavor of a orange but the slight bitterness of a grapfruit but the meringue balanced in out with a creamy and rich flavor. The green tea biscuit look like a doggy treat but tasted just like green tea. Good but nothing great. Secound Dessert I went with the Hazelnut, Gianduja Cream, Oregon Hazelnuts, Honey, Banana, Brown Butter Ice Cream. It tasted like bitter chocolate but the Bananas and Brown Butter Ice Cream really brought the sweetness out in the dish. But yet again, good but nothing great. At the end they give some very delicous Mignardises which were delish. Throughout the meal the Chef would bring me some Amuse Bouches all in which were good. Some dishes were excellent and the rest were pure greatness.

    Overall this meal is a meal I will remember for a long time. The service and food was the best I recieved throughout my culinary adventure tour of NYC which included restaurants such as Per Se, Jean Georges, and Daniel. I was treated like royalty from the staff and even the other diners around me, which a very nice couple bought me a shot of the best Rum I've ever had and probably the most expensive at that and came over to say they admired me for dining solo, and everyone around me didn't once seem to judge me or look down on me for dining solo. This is what I think "Fine Dining" should be like. They don't have a BS reservation system or require you to set your alarm and spend hours trying to get a reservation but a restaurant that truely understands hospitalty and food. Simply put, its what I think is the best restaurant in the United States.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cgervais45

      Being that Le Bernardin is my most favorite place, it is no doubt you had such a wonderful experience. YUM!!!!

      1. re: taboo

        Yes it is now mine as well. It was a honor and it will be the first reservation I'll make next time I'm in NYC!

    2. Jean Georges (2nd Favorite)

      Awww Jean Georges. When it comes to fine dining in New York there is one restaurant that has stood the test of time and a restaurant a Foodie, a New Yorker, and a Chef should know about. Its a restaurant of classic french cusine with a strong asian influence and if anyone is familiar with Jean George Vongerichten, he is very much influenced by the Asian culture and it shows in his cooking and within all his other restaurants. Located within the beautiful Trump Tower, the Main Dining room is a well lit with colors of white and dark tans with flowers assorted throughout the room, its what I would consider a classic style french restaurant. Nothing over the top, just perfect. As soon as I walked in I was greeted by two beautiful young ladys who escorted me through Nougatine, Jean Georges more casual restaurant, and had a perfect little table for me where I could see the whole dining room. Tables are perfectly spread out to allow more of a intimate dining experience. Once seated I was presented with three delicous Amuse Bouche's which were simply amazing and I knew I was in for a great lunch.

      For the First Course I went with the Peekytoe Crab Dumplings, Celeriac-Meyer Lemon Jam. It consisted of three plumped dumplings feeled with lots of Peekytoe Crab, which is one of my favorite seafoods, with a perfectly seasoned and zesty lemon broth. I'm drooling while typing this. This is the standout dish of my trip. Simple and yet amazingly delish. Next I went with the Seared Gulf Shrimp, Silky Pumpkin, Ginger and Basil. This had a nice kick to it which is why I love Jean Georges cooking because he isn't afraid of adding a little spice. Shrimp cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection with a little kick to it and the Silky Pumpkin added a creamy and a slight sweetness to the shrimp and the dish was topped off with pumpkin seeds that added a perfect balance of earthiness to it. Beautiful dish! Next I went with the Soy Glazed Beef Short Ribs, Apple-Jalepeno Puree and Rosemary Crumbs. AGAIN a beautiful and excellent dish. Perfect amount of kick and sweetness with the Apple-Jalepeno Puree and the crumbs adding a nice crunch to the perfectly cooked Beef Short Ribs which were the best tasting short ribs I've had. For desert I went with the Strawberry, Crisp Praline, Strawberry Sponge, Fraise des Bois Gazpacho, Lemon Thyme Sorbet, Tristar Berries, Hendricks Cucumbers. To be honest I wasn't blown away by the desert but it still delish. It had nice refreshing fruity sorbet on top of a crispy praline covered with a nice warm marshmellow type coating. It was unique because the sorbet was cold but the coating around it was warm. The warm cinnamon donut hole that is was accompanied by was delish as well expecially dipped in the sweet caramel sauce it came with but I think I like my Dunkin Donut holes better....

      Overall it is was a excellent meal and I prefer Jean Georges style of cooking over many other Chefs. He is probably one of New Yorks most respected chefs and I can see why. Service was nothing but the best and what you would expect from a restaurant of this caliber. Weather your looking for a foodie lunch, or a romantic night with your lover, this is the perfect restaurant.

      1. thank you so much for letting us live vicariously through your amazing meals!

        1 Reply
        1. Ive been eagerly awaiting your reviews. :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: ConOrama

            There was a few changes due to some minor complications which I didn't make it to WD 50 or Momofuku Ko which I was kinda sad about but I still had a lovely time. Instead of WD 50 I end up at Babbo and ended up at Restaurant Daniel instead of Momofuku Ko which was the biggest disapointment even though my meal at Daniel was sensational.

            1. re: cgervais45

              Aww, the two 'controversial' ones. Save them for your next trip.
              I had actually wanted to know what you thought about the 'infamous' Ko.

              1. re: cgervais45

                Sorry you didn't get to Ko. I was really looking forward to your review of Ko since it's one of my new favorite restaurants. Daniel isn't on my list of favorites. I'm enjoying reading your reviews. I'm looking forward to your review of Per Se.

                1. re: ellenost

                  Daniel actually was good. I'm very dispointed not making it to KO, WD 50 not to much. Plus I need something to look forward to, like you said, for my next trip. Per Se will come but as you can tell already it wasn't my favorite but still sensational.

            2. Per Se Review. Short and to the point!

              Thomas Keller, he is a gift from our Lord above brought to us to taste and experience food. He is a Chef's Chef meaning you won't find him on TV cooking for America or yelling at people because there kitchen is dirty, but he is a Chef devoted entirely to his restaurants in which are considered to be the greatest restaurants in the world. I will not waste my time going through dish by dish because there is no point. It is extremely unlikely you and I will ever have the same meal as each other. There is a different menu everyday with the exception of one the greatest dishes of my life and that would be his signature dish "Oysters and Pearls".

              Walking into Per Se is like walking into a private club where very few people get to be let in and once you've experienced its a greatness, a sense of accomplishment will glow inside you, at least for me anyways. I believe there is only 16 tables throughout the dining room which allows more of a intimate dining experience. With views of Central Park that are stunning and the decor was beautiful yet simple at the same time. As soon as I sat down the complimentary champagne was poured followed by another pour. The food was sensational, from the Amuse Bouche's to the Mignardises, everything was presented beautifully, cooked to perfection, and tasted delish but there was just something missing from my meal and I can't quite catch what it was. While the food was good the only memorable dish was the "Oysters and Pearls".

              The service was flawless but was a little to watch full, I just felt like someone was watching me the entire time but maybe because I was a solo diner. I was given a tour of there wonderful kitchen that was spotless and ran like a military camp ground. While my meal hear was defiantly a experience and I am entirely glad I experienced it, I just hope my future visit to The French Laundry won't leave my trying to catch what was missing from my meal here. Thomas Keller is still my favorite Chef!!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: cgervais45

                I enjoyed reading your reviews and agree with your rankings. I have only had sublime meals at Per Se, Le Bernardin, and Jean Georges. I am continually amazed at the perfection and consistency that both Chef Ripert and Jean Georges achieve. I have had the opportunity to eat at Le Bernardin at least once a month for the last 8 years and I eat at Jean Georges about 3 times a week during the same period. I have never had a bad dish, or service error at either of these restaurants during that time.

                1. re: sethd

                  I agree 100%! Jean Georges and Le Bernardin have both been around longer than Per Se which is why I thought they were both more fine tuned than Per Se, thats if you count Le Bernardins stay in Paris. I think Per Se tries to be more modernized than classical. I guess I tend to lean towards Classical.....