This is “The Egg.” It came after all the savory dishes and before desserts. A bridge between the two, a three-spoonful tease composed of multiple layers. First, Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème, halfway up the perfect cut eggshell. Then, Caramel Foam and Maple Syrup, the caramel so deep and smoky it borders on savory. And finally savory, in the form of salt grains sprinkled over the surface.
We dug in because that’s what you do. And that was the best bite of lunch, oh yes. Before Le Bernardin’s recent renovations, “The Egg” was sent out only as a gift from the kitchen, but now it can be ordered off the menu at $12 apiece. Worth every penny.
I met Jess at Le Bernardin today. There are three menus available at lunch: $190 8-course tasting, $70 3-course prix fixe, and a $45 3-course City Harvest menu. Aside from the fact $45 option is a set menu with no choices, it’s the best deal. Nick wrote an article on the $45 versus $70 menu here, worth reading. Shall we begin?
“Le Bernardin” Salmon Rillette with Toast to start. Given in addition to bread and butter. I love the little toast holder, so sleek and functional…we need to get some of those to use at home ;) The rillettes – made with mix of smoked and fresh salmon, is a signature dish of the restaurant. They’ve actually published the recipe here.
An appetizer of Hamachi Tartare with a crown of marinated cucumbers and aged citrus vinegar. Sprinkled on top was that same Japanese chili powder – Nanami Togarashi which accompanied tuna tartare over brunch at The Dutch yesterday.
This was sent from the kitchen, a dish that’s listed as one of the appetizer options on the $70 menu. Simple and indulgent. Sautéed Shrimp over Mâche and Wild Mushroom Salad and White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Right on top of the shrimp is Foie Gras, warmed and literally melting from the heat of the shrimp.
And for our entrée, Sautéed Cod with Green Papaya, Lime and Coriander. The Sambal Sauce was poured tableside.
Time for “The Egg”!!
And a pot of tea, Earl Grey to be exact. I love seeing how different restaurants choose to present/serve tea. Here the china used for cup + saucer is given equal attention as the plates used for the main dishes. Take a look at the silver plates in this photo. If you look closely you’ll see that there are hundreds of tiny circular indents. For some reason it reminds me of an flattened sea urchin shell, all the little spikes inverted. The same pattern is used for the saucer, only it’s harder to see here because of the lighting. Which reminds me! What do you guys think of this sea urchin salt dish?
Should we buy it? Pierre says no, no because it’s silly to spend $30 on a salt dish. I think yes because I’m sure we’ll find other uses for it…jewelry dish perhaps? Sugar dish? A way to present loose leaf tea at the dinner table? So many options!
“The Egg” was followed by Maralumi Milk Chocolate Parfait, featuring whipped cream and milk chocolate gelato at the very top. Working our way down is a crackle thin sheet of milk chocolate, a chocolate nougat-esque layer studded in hazelnuts, dark chocolate génoise, and at the very bottom, praline feuillantine.
But that’s not all. Don’t forget the Financiers before you leave. Miniature rounds in Pistachio and Caramel. A buttery sweet kiss before good-bye. And then it’s back out to 51st street, and back to reality. Hope everyone is enjoying the week!
Le Bernardin | 155 W 51st St. New York, NY 10019 | (212) 554-1515