Le Bernardin

IMG_3161

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.

 

Quay- Sydney

maxresdefault

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”    Kurt Vonnegut

 Luxurious dinning, sightseeing the Sydney’s magnanimous opera. Upon arrival, you bump into a modern metal grey building, so strange that you didn’t realize how to get in; after walking  around you’ll find the elevator that would get you up to the main entry.

Glass everywhere, from floor to ceiling this place is where your and your ego can be delighted; Everything is meant for enjoying the fabulous food and environment.

Red, Blue, Gold velvet everywhere, mirrors also in the ceiling a decadent view from every perspective, some romantic lights that are being handled according to the movement of the sun in order for you to enjoy the perfect view of the chromatic colors of the sunset that’s mise en scène perfectly through the harbor bridge.

Picture yourselves there, with the menu on your hands, what would you think when you see one course that’s named:“Steamed King George Whitening, native coastal greens, hatsuka radish, smoked oyster crakling”.

That’s right! If you read my mind (and if you are not an adventurous type) you will consider twice in ordering the eight course tasting menu, because in all the other seven courses you will only recognize 3 ingredients top!. But given that my husband is the adventurous type, and that you are not any given day on Sydney’s best restaurant; I went for it.

I’m going to let you experience it yourselves, but I can describe it as an outburst of surprisesBeautifully set in perfect portions and presentations. The mix of flavors and textures in each course where designed to match entirely with each other.

The Snow egg Berry flavored was my favorite, is the culminating ending. This dessert reminded me as when you see the snow for the first time, stunning and powerful, but fragile at the same time… this dessert is so different and original you would think twice on breaking it. The exterior seems like white fleece, and when you get to the center of the meringue is like the finale of a impeccable savory composition.

As many of the top restaurants there are options of wine pairing, whichever you choose, your experience would be even more remarkable. I choose the premium option, on which they offer you selected brands and vintages. You will never forget this wines, and you better write them down, so you can look for them later on.

Peter Gilmore’s experience is a must when you find yourself in Sydney.

 

Pujol – Mexico City

“ So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being” – Franz Kafka-

enrique-olvera-1413325492013

Intimacy is what this restaurant is all about.

This place is very romantic and exclusive; it is as if everyone is destined to be there that night, similar to a perfect setting for a movie. The place has mirrors all over the edge that meets the wall and the ceiling, thus you can see and be seen (and allows the person that is seated looking at the wall to be able to appreciate the scenery).

Enrique Olvera interprets fine dining in his own and unique way. He focuses in balancing traditional Mexican food, (which everybody should try), with more elaborate gourmet dishes and ingredients, granted that you wouldn’t try something like this menu elsewhere.

A pleasant beginning for the evening is a mezcal drink, a spicy & fruity cocktail that will open your appetite for the six courses you are about to degust.

One of the most popular Mexican appetizers are presented to you in small portions, so you can get acquainted with what Mexicans usually eat on the street, such as huaraches and tacos.

I have to make a special mention to my favorite – “Baby corn with chicatana ant mayonnaise”. One could never imagine that you could get a deli mayonnaise up from an ant, (too small…) but this is a delicate and unique flying ant, one that is only five days a year in Mexico, thus its rareness makes it so perfect to infuse the smoked baby corn, which is delivered in a gourd. (I thought it was a pumpkin at first glance).  Upon opening the lid, the smoke inside seeped out giving you a quick, albeit delicious smell of the perfectly balanced flavors.

The masterpiece of this place is the mole –mole madre, mole nuevo-, referring to an “old” mole that’s been kept for 1306 days to age, and a “new” mole that is freshly made. It is presented in two circles; mole madre on the outside, and new mole in the middle (like a bull’s eye). It is as an elder meeting a newborn. The tortillas with hoja santa, were so soft that they melted in my mouth; oh what a match!

Usually, they won’t give you silverware for this course; you have to soak the tortilla into both moles so as to mix them, just like a true Mexican would do (you won’t regret it). This dish seems so simple but yet is a complex throwback to the Mexican culture ancestors, and the combination of these moles is Enrique’s perfect creation.

For a sweet ending you will have a small portion of Mexican traditional desserts, such as tamales, churros, and even a flan. All of them are amazing; portions are tiny so you can eat all of them without guilt.

Unwind with the wine menu, which presents plenty of great options from different countries. If you are into deep, bold reds, I suggest one goes the Mexican path and try either Icaro or Ojos negros, if not, one can always pair this food with a glass of tequila or mescal – the place has a vast collection from all regions.

In summary, the service is flawless; they really put an effort in explaining everything to their guests, and also have the best attitude.

No wonder The World’s 50 Best Restaurants rates Pujol number 20th worldwide and it’s number 1 in México city.

 

Lupa- NYC

“Everything you see I owe to pasta.” -Sophia Loren, Actress

ls

In the middle of Greenwich Village …. Like if you where lost in a Victor Hugo’s tale, there is this small place that when you arrive it seems like the entrance to a cozy house, the first time we where here was in winter, so it was all cover up, but in summer it seems another place: the terrace and the light you get when you are on the open side is amazing!

This restaurant is divided in two sections; they are so diverse that they seem like different places. At the front you can see an amazing Italian style bar, all colorful walls and lamps, also a delicious prosciutto leg, ready to be cut in slices, and the back that’s a little more like the secret cabin, closed space, candles and a yellow light aura.

That winter we got to seat in the back, it was so tiny that it seems like you where sharing your meal with the ones next to you, but the good side of this is that it turns romantic and intimate.

The second time we where here, was in summer, and we got a table in the terrace, it seemed so different than the first time; more live, bright and open; but no matter the season, mostly you will find locals here, you can tell by the relationship with the waiters and the customers, for us that’s an accurate hint that the place and their food is famous, hence amazing.

We order the prosciutto with mozzarella, for starter, and it was just perfect, a prosciutto that the Italians would be proud of, just the red meat almost lean … PERFETTO! It was deli, and paired it with some Aperol Spritz, a perfect combination.

They have a pretty nice wine menu, with a wide selection of Italian wines, although the sommelier is always eager to help and he recommended us a few top Italian wines. As a second curse, we order Ricotta Gnocchi and Bavette Cacio e Pepe, the pasta was fresh, homemade, and delicious. And something super cool is that they have available “Il piatto del giorno”(the specialty of the day) so you could try something new that’s not on the menu everyday.

It’s the perfect scenario if you want to go in a romantic date and impress your significant other, or in a sunny day to have a lovely lunch, outside the craziness of the city. And one thing you are going to LOVE if you are not into the Italian food terms, is that on the menu there is a glossary, I find that super useful and original.

 

Dish you cannot miss: Lupa’s Tartufo