A few months ago I went to New York for a work conference and was traveling alone. My last evening in New York, I did a little shopping on 5th Avenue after the conference was over and was walking around with all my shopping bags looking for a place to eat dinner. I then walked right in front of Le Bernardin. I have wanted to eat there for years. The last time Steve and I were in New York, we tried but could not get into Le Bernardin. Even using the services of the concierge at the St. Regis Hotel was to no avail. It’s a tough ticket, maybe not as tough as getting seats at Hamilton, but not easy.
Le Bernardin is the flagship restaurant of chef Eric Ripert. It is one of only 6 restaurants in New York to have the coveted three Michelin stars and was voted the 15th best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine. It focuses on seafood and is one of the most innovative restaurants in the U.S. It’s also very fancy – jacket and tie required.
So, how did I get in? I decided why the hell not just walk in and see – the worst they can do is say no. I was wearing jeans but they were a very dark wash, almost black. I also had brought my nice Burberry coat so I put that on, applied some lipstick and carried my shopping bags in front of me so they couldn’t really see that I was wearing jeans. I told the hostess that I was in NYC on business alone and asked if it would be possible to just sit at the bar and have dinner? She said of course, and offered to take my coat and store my shopping bags. I sat at the bar where I was alone almost the entire evening and was waited on hand and foot by the very kind waiter/bartender.
I inquired about ordering off the full menu was immediately brought one. The waiter walked me the course selection, which features raw fish, barely cooked, cooked and dessert and I decided to go with the 4 course dinner and had a lovely pinot by the glass. This was hands down one of the best meals I have ever had anywhere. What was also nice was sending Steve texts with pictures of my food while he was at home, watching the dog and eating cheese puffs for his dinner.
Out of all the dishes, my favorite was the pasta with lobster and the tuna carpaccio was my second. It was an expensive dinner but I don’t regret spending one penny on it. I will also say that if you want to eat dinner here, try to do a walk-in! The bar was literally empty the entire time I was there and they do have sit down tables in the bar area as well. They are more than happy to let you order off the full restaurant menu or you can sample a few items from the more limited bar menu. Just go in with a big smile and see what happens.