Place for the wannabe upper class
Provided by Citysearch
My wife and I have made it a hobby to try as many restaurants in Manhattan as we can, given the city's wide variety of choices. For her round birthday, I wanted to surprise my wife with a truly special place, and I had read and heard a lot about Le Bernardin, so I gave it a shot. \r To sum it up: it was a huge disappointment for both of us. The atmosphere is exceptionally stiff, the average age in the (very well populated) dining room was about 60 (I am not exaggerating), and the whole experience felt like dining in a museum. We went for the 4-course menu: the food was very good. That said, food tends to be very good in 95% of Manhattan's upscale restaurants, so that's sort of a given and not really a great differentiator anymore. The price was pretty steep ($300 including tip, and we did not have any alcohol): but again, that's what can be expected....for a great dining experience, which this was clearly not. To be perfectly candid: Le Bernardin feels like the kind of place that upper middle-class people frequent when they think they are rich. For example, I don't think you would find a lot of celebrities in a place like the Bernardin. But you will likely find a lot of people there who think they are, or should be celebrities. \r The staff was not exactly unfriendly, but again, they made you feel like they were there to teach the plebs some ""etiquette"" -- which to me, is an utterly ridiculous, old-fashioned, and almost touristy concept. \r If you want to spend a few hundred bucks and have a great evening, go to Megu, Kittichai, Tao, Nobu or one of the upscale steakhouses in the city. Spending a lot of money on food in Manhattan is easy, but the results can be vastly different.