I am on the Le Bernardin email list and just got what I think may be the first email from them. It was a promotion for their “Celebrating Valentine’s Day 2012” tasting menu. Naturally, the 14th is sold out, but there are, at least now, seats available on Feb 11th. I would be there in a New York (no pun intended) minute if I could be. The price is high, but one doesn’t worry about such things for an experience like this. If you don’t like the price, you just don’t go. I would also, of course, pay the extra for the wine pairings.
I have posted the menu below, but want to make a couple of comments. There are a few reasons why a meal like this costs what it does (and I am not going to call it expensive). One is the ingredients used. A restaurant of this caliber only uses the best ingredients, whatever it takes, they don’t use that item unless the top quality is attainable. For example, you will not see grocery store tomatos, even if perfectly ripe heirlooms or other quality tomatos aren’t available. No compromise.
Another thing is the skill and consistency of the chef, sous chefs, sommelier, kitchen staff, and front of house personnel. Most people realize that chefs like Eric Ripert never touch the
food you are served. That doesn’t matter if he has the staff who can consistently and honestly execute his vision. Le Bernardin has all that and more. What makes a great chef is his vision and there is no better example than the Valentine’s Day menu below. Everything sounds wonderful and how many people could have come up with some (or all) of these ideas? I have no doubt that the sommelier has selected great wines and the entire staff will deliver the promise of a remarkable dining experience.
CELEBRATING VALENTINES’S DAY 2012
$235 per person – Wine Pairing additional $170 per person
Slivers of Scallop, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chives and Black Truffle
Chablis “Vieilles Vignes,” Domaine Savary 2009
Charred Octopus, Fermented Black Bean-Pear Sauce Viergé, Ink-Miso Vinaigrette, Purple Basil
Sauvignon Blanc “Winkl,” Kellerei Terlan, Alto Adige 2010
Yuzu Custard; Shellfish-Caviar Medley, Smoked Fumet
Yoki No Busha, Yamahai Junmai Sake, Akita, Japan
Barley Cooked Salmon; Wasabi-Bean Purée, Yuzu Emulsion
Château Grillet, Neyret-Gachet, Rhone 2005
Baked Lobster; Caramelized Endive-Pear “Terrine,” Whiskey-Black Peppercorn Sauce
Sandhi Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2010
Sautéed Dover Sole, Truffled Mâche Salad, Red Wine-Cassis Sauce
Morgon, Gamay, Marcel Lapierre, Beaujolais 2010
Seared Venison Loin, Turnip Gratin, Périgourdine Sauce
Château Pape Clement, Pessac Leognan 2000
Passion Fruit Parfait, Rose Pearls, Lemon Curd
Torrontez Sparkling-Deseado Familia Schroeder, Patagonia NV
Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Raspberry Meringue, Mandarin Sorbet
Passito de Pantelleria, Sanghe d’Oro, Sicily, 2009