Le Bernardin, New York.

October 2011.

Great fun. We were there on the first night after major renovations. The room is modern and beautiful in a way I imagine rich people accustomed to spaces designed by professionals would consider comfortable, but it was fundamentally pleasant and restful. It reminded us of Troisgros, where everybody was trying to make us feel comfortable and get what we really wanted.

A few minutes after we got seated Robin pointed out to me that Barbra Streisand and James Brolin were seated about 6 m from us, with another couple. It was they all right, and although I tried to get Robin to sit so she could see the other people at the movie stars’ table, it wasn’t until we were walking out of the place that we saw the other guy was none other than Mehmet Oz, and I understood belatedly that we really had had dinner in the presence of celebrity and genius (not…).

There were four courses counting desert. The one blockbuster course was for me a fabulous soft heart warming octopus, and for Robin langoustine. Both stunning and original. The worst disappointment was the main course which was overcooked whitefish for me, and an Asian black bass for Robin which wasn’t very flavourful and was way below expectation, just technically.

Good Lord, you can’t get a properly cooked fish main course in one of the best seafood restaurant in America? Chef was away? Bad luck with choices? More likely standards are lower here, and our $450 wasn’t $850 or more that we would have been paying in Europe quite possibly for a similar disappointment.

Ambience 8.4, service 9.0, food 7.3 (6.3-8.8), value 7.7.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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