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Apr 14, 2013 09:47 AM

Le Bernardin

I have a dinner reserved for next month and had a few questions about the menu:

The 4 course prix fixe: Is that designed to essentially be one almost raw, one barely touched, one main course and one dessert. How much room for variation is there?

And are people generally satisfied with either of the tasting menus (portion size, etc?)

Thanks very much. I'm extremely excited

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  1. My most recent review, updated last week:

    We had two barely touched instead of one almost raw one barely touched and they didn't seem to have a problem with that.

    Haven't had any of the tasting menus in a while but I tend to steer people towards the prix fixe. If you have huge appetites, you can have the prix fixe, add a dish a la carte, and still come in under the tasting menu price.

      1. It's a four-star restaurant, so if you want to fiddle around with the menu, they'll oblige. But why do so? The menu works perfectly as laid out. Just go with it.

        With amuses, wine and bread, the prix-fixe will leave you plenty satisfied. I've had the tasting menu twice and left happy, but stuffed.

        If this is your first time at Le Bernardin, enjoy. It has survived and retained its stars for two decades for a very good reason. If you over-Chowhound the menu in advance, you're doing yourself a disservice.

        5 Replies
        1. re: famdoc

          "If you over-Chowhound the menu in advance, you're doing yourself a disservice."

          I think these words should be printed at the top of every thread here concerning non-ethnic-cheap-eats restaurants.

          People talk about these top-of-the-line world-famous restaurants as if they're holes-in-the-wall in Queens where if you don't order the right dish, you court disaster.

          1. re: famdoc

            Thanks for the advice. I don't want to fiddle, I just want to know how it works and I appreciate everyone's help. The menu is a little vague on the website (not complaining). It says 4 courses but doesn't totally specify how its structured. It doesn't have the desserts listed (not complaining) so I wasn't sure if that was included in the four courses.

            I don't want to "over-Chowhound" the menu, but would like to order the dishes that are most popular, or the "standards". If i'm going to pay a lot of money (not complaining) for a meal, I want to maximize the pleasure. I'm sure everything is delicous, but who knows when I'll get a chance to go back, so I don't want to miss out on the dish(es) that everyone tells me is a must-have.

            Thanks again. I will try not to over-analyze it.

            1. re: bnowell

              If you love seafood prepared elegantly, if you love attentive, yet not intrusive service, if you love an adult dining room where you can actually hear your dining companion, you will love Le Bernardin. I just looked at the menu. It changes often, so many of the dishes are "new" since my last visit in January, yet many are variations on themes established by Ripert years ago. You can close your eyes and point to any dish and be thrilled with what you get. If any uncertainties remain, you can ask your server for his suggestions. I also hope you like wine. Don't hesitate to ask Aldo or any of his somms for a recommendation to fit your budget. On my last visit, I had a Condrieu (a viognier from a very small region of the Rhone) that delightfully complemented my meal.

              1. re: bnowell

                (Please understand: not trying to be argumentative. Trying to maximize your experience.)

                But you're not the "standard" diner. You're YOU. You have your own preferences. If there are things on the constantly-changing menu that look appealing TO YOU, why in the world should you forgo them in favor of some other dishes you're told is are "standards"? This is one of the best kitchens in New York: trust them to do well.

                1. re: bnowell

                  I like the tuna with foie gras and the charred octopus but just order what sounds good to you. The last two New York Times reviews would give some indication of the restaurant's strengths though the menu has been updated over the past year.

                  Dessert menu: