Le Bernardin

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The name of this restaurant is based on a folk song called “Les Moines de St. Bernardin” about an order of monks who rejoiced in food and drink. Oh, boy, were they right! This place is nothing but pure pleasure.

Since arriving at this restaurant you can feel the elegant and candid atmosphere, is like entering a ballroom. The restaurant is fancy and romantic at the same time, with an amazing chandelier and paintings on the wall, the decoration sets your mood for what’s coming.

The menu, certainly, is a selection of the famous Eric Ripert, which is focused in French seafood but expect to find a lot of amazing dishes, different styles, exotic mixes and compositions that would blow your mind.

The journey begins with some canapes, in a lovely presentation. We enjoyed some Uni, Lobster espresso ( this was outstanding) and some tuna tartare. They were super fresh and well prepared.

Second course: Kampachi Sashimi; Crushed Niçoise Olives, “Greek Salad” with a bed of extra virgin olive oil. The balance of flavors in this dish was stunning, the buttery fish, with the saltiness and popping of the olives, was so different and perfect at the same time.

Thirth course: Baked Lobster; Butternut Squash Manicotti, Shrimp-Black Pepper-Brandy Sauce. This was one of my favorites, it was a nice discovery that the sweetness of the butternut squash and the lobster could be paired with such a positive outcome.

Fourth course: Poached halibut with some radish and ginger. This plate took my mind to the beach, it tasted so fresh that I imagined myself fishing it just a few minutes ago. It was super soft and tender, and so rich in flavors that it remains on your memory for a long time.

In the end, undoubtedly, you know, my favorite part: The dessert. You’ll get to choose from 4 different desserts, and I chose the apple: Brown Butter Mousse, Apple Confit, Armagnac Sabayon. I think this dessert deserves a detailed analysis. First, the look: is like they gave you a perfect waxed apple that’s too beautiful and shiny that you don’t want to break it. Then, with tenderness, you open it and it’s a mousse, you can notice all the layers of it, you can’t believe the incredible structure of this dessert. The flavor: the sweetness is there but not overpowering, the “waxy” crust gives a little lightness to it, and the Sabayon is just the last piece of the puzzle.

Le Bernardin offers some of the best service you’ll find in any restaurant. The staff is formal and professional while anticipating and attending to your every need. This experience is totally worth it, I highly recommend if you are in NYC to come and dine here, just make sure to make reservations.

 

Manhatta

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“Take the journey to enjoy the view”- Jeffrey Benjamin

Union square hospitality group characterizes for their impeccable restaurants, amazing food and service, and delicious food, and this is no exception.

Upon arriving at the address, you have to be careful to found the right entrance, it looks like an office building, and given that you are in FiDi, most of them are alike. Once you enter there’s a lobby and they send you to the top floor of the restaurant.

The place is a ceiling to floor windows, with exceptional sky-high views of all Manhattan. The distribution of the restaurant is amazing and the decoration is a Gatsby aged kind of vibe.

The menu is a 3-course menu with a wide range of options:  I choose the Madai Crudo that was particularly well balanced and full of flavor. For the second course, I ordered the Squash Risotto, and this plate was just delicious!! The buttery flavors and the parmigiano touch made this plate a sweet but tangy soft flavor that melts in your mouth of course, my favorite! But if I have to be honest, the dessert was also extraordinary, I ordered the Warm Date Cake, and it was outstanding, the tenderness and the flavor of this cake were their strongest attributes.

The sommelier and all the staff were super attentive and understanding, the drinks also very well planned and elaborate.

In my opinion, I give Manhatta, and Union Square Hospitality Group my compliments for the accomplishment of this place. I recommend you to make a reservation and visit this venue, I promise is worth it.

 

 

Maialino –NYC

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The only think I like better than talking about Food is eating”- John Walters

Coming from the word Maiale, that means Pig in Italian; Maialino(“piglet”) is a modern-preppy place where you and your friends could have the perfect lunch or dinner. The setting suits perfectly with the private, newyorker Gramercy Park that’s located just in front of the restaurant.

The decoration is one of a kind, and they slay on mixing the classic of the roman’s with the classy of the new Yorkers.

While they escort you to your table you will pass by a fancy bar, a pastry open counter, and a cheese table you will want to make a quick stop and take a bite, or have a drink in either one of this.

The Wine shelf’s, are coarse and they are a fair representation of their wine menu. You could find an extensive list of Italian fine wines that are hard to find in other restaurants. A good example of this could be a Barbera, a wine from the Alto Piemonte, or a well-known Nebbiolo vintage such as “Giuseppe Rinaldi“. If you get overwhelmed by too many options, and you were not sure of what would pair your meal there’s a very good sommelier you could take advise from.

I strongly recommend the Tonarelli Cacio e Pepe you can’t go wrong with this one, the home made pasta, and the blend of flavor’s would take out a big smile from your face.

Also their “Malfatti Malialino” if you like pork is the signature dish in this place, the meat is so soft and perfectly combined with the pasta and watercress that you will finish it in a glimpse.

And sometimes they have specials; ask for them. Last time I ate a ricotta cheese raviolis that where just marvelous.

One thing I really love about this place is that almost all of the pastas and primi piatis have a size option, Small or medium, so you could save a place for dessert.

Regarding dessert, I could definitely recommend la -Torta de la nonna, the lemon and nuts are just balanced in the right way. Or the classic –Affogato, with Fior di Latte and Italian coffee. And if you are in a stronger mood, please ask for a cup of sweet wine, and enjoy the cherry on top.

The music is the perfect companion with the environment, and invites you to stay and enjoy your lunch or dinner, just make sure that you’ve got time on your hands, because the service is a bit slow.

 

 

 

Piazza Duomo – Regione di Alba (Alba- Italy)

“One cannot think, love, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Viriginia Woolf-

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Alba is a small town surrounded by these famous out-of-life wine regions of Barolo and Barbaresco. There must be something flowing through the earth or wind that makes this place so unique.

It has a very distinctive feeling of an old European town that is disconnected from the rest of Europe yet it stands above them.

Getting to the restaurant is an experience in itself. Right next to the Piazza, in a small alley you ring a bell and someone asks for a reservation – very Stanley Kubrick-like “Fidelio” password to enter the place.

Once inside, the setting is that of a neighbor’s cozy living room. Exotic paintings on the wall (a deer and a stove) that end in a few windows with a view of the Piazza.

The menu has some ingredients that you have never heard before (think of…) that lead the customer into the unknown.

Piemonte is so proud of its wine that they have their standalone menu. The rest are classified as “rest of the world”(including the Italian Veneto region which should be a country in itself)

Given that my husband and me are avid Cacio e Pepe fanatics, we could not go for any of the tasting menus as none of them included this traditional Roman dish.

In a very Italian way, we first ordered an apperitivo.

The appetizers where just like a Kandinsky painting, perfect colors, textures, and the flavor was…. Just as “Composition VIII”.

The initial ones were kind of futuristic given the way they look – perfect presentation with unusual plates and bases, like rocks and mirrors.  Homemade pasta, wafer peanut, foie gras and gingerino, chard sponge with tuna sauce – perfect for accelerating the expectation of the actual dish you order.

I asked for the “Sea Bream Carpaccio, Lime, Juniper” which can be defined as a flower symphony, a perfect balance between a fresh and flowery flavor; the presentation was exquisite.

At first I thought that the flowers where mainly decorative, but as I tried each one of them with the balanced fish, I knew that they were made for each other, just like Alice in Wonderland.

The Agnoloti del Plin with meat sauce was smooth in the mouth like a glass of a fine champagne; the flavors where so well balanced that pasta and strong meat reunited themselves at a perfect point.

After all these delicious plates, for the grand finalle, the chef presents you his royal sweet flush with truffles, a smooth Madagascar vanilla milk, and a pair of delicious chocolate popsicles. All of these are just a preview of your actual dessert.

I asked for a Hazelnut Monviso, a creamy pastry that just melted in my mouth. My husband ordered the surrealistic Miró Panna Cotta; I describe it like that because it was colorfully disrupted but tasted just like the Italian grandmother classic dessert.

I recommend strongly the Wine Pairing, so you can perfectly feel the combination of Piemonte’s wines and Enrico Crippa’s original and playful mind.

 

Dish you cannot miss: Rabbit kidneys, bernaise sauce.