Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A Magical Experience....Le Bernardin
This weekend I celebrated a milestone birthday, as a gift my mother-in-law took me to Le Bernardin. Yes, the same restaurant where I completed my externship. By far the experience I had was magical and unlike anything I ever experienced before, and yes I have been to some pretty nice places in my day.
Upon walking in to Le Bernardin I felt extremely excited. Here I was pretty dressed up, or a far cry from the black and white checkered pants, chef coat and designer scarf tying up all my hair that I wore in the kitchen. I wondered if anyone would notice me. We got seated and as I took a look around the room I easily remembered certain waiters and Ah Ha! one finally recognized me!!! We were escorted to our table--a very nice spot in the corner and we were given the wine menu and then the chef's menu was explained. Shortly after we all placed our orders--I tried to contain myself as I was psyched about how each plate will taste. I knew they would be fantastic, but never imagined how much so.
All guests are greeted with a canape as a "thanks for joining us." Tonight it was shrimp in an asparagus soup. Delicious, about 15 minutes in and already a delicious start! We picked our bread for dinner and patiently awaited our orders. Long story short, the dishes started rolling out. Each one presented new flavors that excited our taste buds and our stomachs! We ordered the Tuna app, me the Oysters over shaved ice. We ordered our the Sea Urchin Risotto, the Crab and me the Langoustine. We ordered our entrees, the Salmon, the Monkfish and me the Surf and Turf. Prior to this we all received a Red Snapper entree "compliments of the Chef". The wait staff presented each dish with a description of what was plated in front of us, and also explained how to eat them so that you tasted the dish at it was designed to taste. Then of course on to dessert. The Chef gave us each a beautiful egg laced with creamy decadent chocolate on the bottom a layer of sea salt--truly a masterpiece! Unable to decide between the Pear and the Hazelnut dessert, the waiter brought out both "from the boys inside!" Needless to say, we feasted that evening and enjoyed every bite. As we drank, ate and talked the time slipped on by. 2 Hours later and we were getting the check.
As we ate we already planned on returning and named holidays or events that we would like to celebrate here. According to all our planning I am to return 3 times within the next couple of months--guess we will see what happens. But I am keeping my fingers crossed! But at the very least, I am truly grateful that I was able to visit the restaurant. This time not as a cook or extern, but as a guest. But a very special guest whose hard work earned them a bit more respect for being able to survive such a busy and perfection driven kitchen. My role here was small, but I was rewarded as a part of the team! For all those people who worked on our dishes that night a Big Thank You and as always a job well done!!! And for Chef Chris thank you for bringing a few tears to my eyes, as I was so overwhelmed by your generosity. The food tasted magnificent and the pampering unexplainable, making the whole experience one that would last me a lifetime. And a sincere thank you for inviting me into your kitchen and a small part into the life of Le Bernardin--a treasure buried at sea indeed.
Posted by Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo