Monday, March 21, 2016

Once In A Lifetime - An Evening At Le Bernardin

Eric Ripert is one of a just a handful of famous chefs who inspire me to a state of complete awe. I love everything about him, from the many global influences that inform his cooking (which is still firmly rooted in classic French technique), to his accent, and his down-to-earth, good guy persona. Aside from Ripert's well-deserved status as a monumental talent in the culinary world, he projects a genuineness that I find so endearing. And I am not alone

Helming one of New York City's few three Michelin Star restaurants could surely go to one's head, but Eric just seems so grounded. He's even a passionate philanthropist and is particularly active with my favorite food salvage charity, City HarvestAs if all this weren't enough, Ripert specializes in the food I love most in the world  and easily the cuisine most represented here on Neurotic Kitchen - seafood.

This was to die for.
Kingfish Sashimi with Osetra Caviar in a Meuniere Sauce, Photo: NK

Like all big chefs these days, Eric has a T.V. show. I could watch it for hours on end. He travels the world for inspiration and often has great guests. He always manages to make haute cuisine seem approachable. If you still aren't sold, I recommend you look into his well-publicized bromance with bad boy chef counterpart, Anthony Bourdain. The two are hilarious together, and their recent exploits while galavanting around the seaport town of Marseilles made for some of the best television I've seen all year.  Watching the two of them eat cheese was, for me, a near ecstatic experience.

For all these reasons, my first trip to Ripert's Le Bernardin was truly a life-altering event, one that I simply must share with you. Please enjoy some of the highlights of our meal, and if you have time, read up on Eric.  

An Evening At Le Bernardin 

In addition to countless a la carte options, Le Bernardin has two tasting menu options for dinner. We opted for the Chef's Tasting Menu with wine pairings. It was decadent, but we didn't want to have any regrets. I say it often and it remains true - you only live once. We'd also been given a very generous gift certificate which, mercifully, lessened the impact on our wallets. That said, you can save a significant amount of money if you do not do the wine pairings, although I must say, they greatly enhanced the experience and were perfect accompaniments to the gorgeous dishes we enjoyed. 

Aldo Sohm, Le Bernardin's wine director, is truly a master. He has his own wine bar as well, right next to Le Bernardin. 

Want the experience of amazing food without the huge pricetag? One of my favorite tips for experiencing fine dining on a budget is to go to fabulous restaurants for lunch. Sure enough, Le Bernardin does offer a three-course lunchtime tasting menu for $85. 

Now, without further delay, here are some of the dishes we enjoyed: 

Tuna Carpaccio, Sea Beans and Iberico Ham Chutney. Photo: NK

Monkfish in Mushroom Broth, just delicious.
Photo: NK 

Exceptional wine pairings really enhanced the meal. 
Photo: NK

Langoustine with Foie Gras in a Seafood Broth with Black Truffle, Photo: NK 

This Lobster Tail and Lobster Spring Roll in Lemongrass Broth was light and refreshing
Photo: NK 

And there you have it. A high point in my well-documented eating career. So inspired by Eric Ripert's genius, I decided I'd simply have to make one of his recipes right away that same weekend. 

Eric Ripert's Steak au Poivre as interpreted by moi! Photo: NK 

Since we'd had our fill of Seafood, Steak seemed to make sense. Pictured is our version of his decadent Steak au Poivre, a very approachable recipe that you can check out HERE. We prepared it with blanched French Green Beans sauteed in a little Butter and topped with shaved, raw Rainbow Carrots. Bon Appetit!!

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