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photo courtesy: Nigel Parry

Manhattan, Eat, Drink and Sing Praises for Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin, New York’s four-star seafood restaurant, and currently 21 on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, remembers an order of monks who liked to eat and drink, religiously.

Siblings Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze used to listen to their father, Gabriel, sing to them about the gastronomically inclined order, so they opened the world-famous restaurant in 1972 in Paris. That thrives today at 155 West 51st St.; if you can make it there for a dinner of a few lifetimes, hail a taxi, go.

In New York, following Gilbert’s death in 1994, Maguy Le Coze engaged the services of Chef Eric Ripert, a disciple and close friend of Gilbert who joined Le Bernardin in 1991 and who has continued the tradition at the great restaurant, recently redesigned and now including a lounge with a separate menu.

Let’s begin with the Prix Fixe dinner, pairing wines as we go. First, a choice of “almost raw” Royal Osetra Caviar or Golden Imperial Caviar or the “barely touched” Ultra Rare Smoked Sea Trout, Pickled Red Onion, Citrus-Miso Emulsion. Then, for the Main Course, we’ll opt for fish, The Spanish Merluza, garnished with Aki Nori, with Razor Clam Spring Chowder sauce poured tableside.

For dessert, prepared by Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Raquel, the Milk Chocolate Mousse, Dark Caramel, Candied Peanuts, Warm Malted Caramel, sounds sweet.

Le Bernardin has more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant in New York City. And there’s a long list of others: In 1998, Maguy Le Coze won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in America, and in May 2003, the James Beard Foundation named Ripert Outstanding Chef. And, The Michelin Guide honored him and Le Bernardin with its highest three stars in its 2005 debut and has reiterated that stellar rating each year since.

“For me, food is about memories, feelings, emotions,” says Chef Ripert, “and so is Le Bernardin, and that’s why it’s not just a restaurant.”

Sam’s Soul Food, 718.665.5341; Pacificana, 718.871.2880, pacificanabrooklyn.com; New Asha Sri Lanka Restaurant, 718.420.0649; Manetta’s Ristorante, 718.786.6171, manettaslic.com; Fresh, 631.537.4700, freshhamptons.com; Le Bernardin, 212.554.1515, le-bernardin. For more information about dining and the New York City/Long Island area in general, see discoverlongisland.com and www.nycgo.com.