USA- Le Bernardin- ✪✪✪

Le Bernardin's head chef Eric Ripert grew up in both France and Andorra, a small country on the border with Spain, where starting at age 17 he began working in fine dining restaurants like La Tour D'Argent. Le Bernardin is one of the most consistently high-ranked restaurants in the world, with a 4-star rating from the New York Times since 1986 and 3 Michelin stars since 2005. Ripert is known for his focus on seafood- he once served as the poissonier for Joel Robuchon.

 Le Bernardin Main Entrance

Le Bernardin Main Entrance

NEW YORK, NY, USA

SERVICE: 7.5/10

FOOD: 8.5/10

PRICE PAID: $87 (LUNCH)

VALUE/MONEY: 9.0/10

FINAL SCORE: 8.0/10

If you're on the hunt for a classic urban open-format French restaurant, then look no further. Le Bernardin's dining room has all the modern-artsy, well-appointed, gilded look once could possible desire. Fantastic lighting and set pieces make this space really sing.

 Le Bernardin Interior

Le Bernardin Interior

 First Bites: Scottish Salmon + Toast, 8/10

First Bites: Scottish Salmon + Toast, 8/10

As a delightful pre-course amuse, the restaurant offered a hash of poached salmon. The fish was perfectly cooked and tasted both rich and smooth on the palate. The hand-sliced thin toast was a great touch. 8/10.

 1st Course: Sea Trout, 9/10

1st Course: Sea Trout, 9/10

For my first lunch course, I selected the ultra rare sea trout with braised ramps and sauce gribiche. The warm trout pairs with the miso perfectly, and the small dash of fried and fresh veggies on top adds a crispy texture. 9/10.

 2nd Course: Duck + Sour Cherry, 10/10

2nd Course: Duck + Sour Cherry, 10/10

Besides being generous in portion, the duck with sour cherry is possibly the coolest pairing I've yet experienced, especially on a lunch menu. This second course kind of knocked my socks off- the duck was cooked to absolute perfection, and the sweet cherries played off the fatty duck exquisitely. The snow pea chunks added a nice mouthfeel. 10/10.

 3rd Course: Pear + Vanilla Bourbon, 8/10

3rd Course: Pear + Vanilla Bourbon, 8/10

Third and final course- a slice of roasted Bosc pear with a pear and olive oil emulsion-filled bonbon. An inspired collection of flavors, and a nice simple conclusion to the meal. 8/10.