I finally went to Le Bernardin this past Friday - YAY! I have to agree that this is very high-powered kind of place; I don't think I've seen that many fur coats in one place before. I actually really liked the interior; the warmth of the teak wood coupled with the navy and cream upholstery was quite nice. I think the artwork is a bit confused - some very classic nautical scenes coupled with modern pieces. I loved the floral arrangements, too.
The service was very attentive and courteous - in fact, when I got up to use the restroom in the middle of my meal, there was a small army at hand to make sure my food remained warm, etc.
And the food - WOW. I had to wait for my companion so I nibbled on the cheese and pistachio sticks and I had to hold back from scarfing the whole plate and spoiling my appetite. Good thing I did. The amuse was a crabmeat "napoleon" - very tasty. Lump crabmeat in a cream sauce of some sort with two shards of crisp pastry - a little hard to eat politely. I had the amazing progressive tasting of fluke - what a great starter, and I spent a lot of time just savoring the sauces and trying to figure out what was in them. My favorites were the coconut milk concoction and the mignonette-tasting one.
Second course was the shrimp ravioli with wild mushrooms in a foie gras-truffle sauce - AMAZING. Almost wish there were more than just two ravioli but the sauce was so rich, perhaps that was a good thing. The shrimp were a generous size and perfectly cooked. My companion had the poached lobster - very delicately flavored; I have to say I preferred mine but I was spoiled by the yummy earthy sauce.
Third course was the wild salmon which was seared on one side and raw on the other - absolutely velvety. The chanterelles on the side were excellent and the truffle sauce? I tried to get every little bit of it. My friend had the sea bass in okra - not impressive, but perhaps the richness of my dish had spoiled my palate again.
I have to agree that dessert is not their strong point. We both had the chocolate cashew tart, and the highlight was really the malted rum ice cream.
Very pleased with this choice, and I'm going to save my pennies so I can come back again next year. Teehee!