..... at Le Bernardin.
Okay ..... so I’ve read a lot of good stuff about this place and I’ve seen the owner/chef Eric Rippert on TV shows like’ Top Chef’, so on Friday afternoon me and my wife thought we’d give it a try. Eric Rippert is French ..... and like most French ..... they’re mostly a bunch of ‘fancy pants’. So without much reservation ..... I made a reservation (ya’ like that play on words). I thought this place was popular and it might be hard to get a table but I called on Wednesday and got a lunch date for Friday. “Table for two? Oui. No problem Mr. Lotuspath”. They mentioned ‘jackets required’ so I got out my Banana Republic summer plaid jacket. It’s a tad bit loud and says; “Sure I have a jacket on ..... and ..... hey can I interest you in a used Chevy Impala? It’s only got 20,000 miles on it.”
We arrived a tad early and the ‘maitre de’ smiled and said; “I will see if we can seat you early” (but with a creepy German accent). I looked out across the dining room and a good quarter of the tables were empty. “Yah ..... ah ..... well see what you can do.” We were seated at a table for four. At the next table from us was ‘Anoop’ one of the contestants from last season of ‘American Idol’ and it also looked like Bill Maher was at another table with two women.
Okay so I have to confess that I never feel more like the ‘fireman from Brooklyn’s kid’ than when I’m dining at an expensive fancy pants restaurant. When the waitress opened my napkin and went to place it on my lap I lurched back and exclaimed; “Please not in front of my wife!” ..... and then discretely slipped her my business card ..... “Call me!” ...... ** wink wink **.
We both looked at the menu. Now in an American restaurant they use French words for dishes as a excuse to over charge customers ..... so I was surprised that in this French restaurant they used only English and not a single French word. Well, they did use the word “parsnip” (as in) the “celery and parsnip custard” that came with my wife’s order. I had to explain to my wife that “parsnip” is actually the French word for “fancy pants”. I had reached out to one of the great NYC Destination Experts for menu advice ..... and went with Crans advice and ordered the fish. So we ordered ..... charred octopus and Fluke sashimi appertizers ..... then black sea bass and cod for entrees. I must say that it was all very delicious and there was a party going on in my mouth. However, I also noticed over the years that there’s a distinct inverse correlation between the size of the serving plate and the amount of food actually on the plate. The plates at Le Bernardin are ..... huge! And where is the tartar sauce?
It’s also intimidating when the waitress needs to explain ‘how to eat the food’ to you and your order comes with instructions from the chef. “First you should dip your cod in the octopus ink sauce and then into the urchin foam” ..... “Oh so that’s how I do that. ”..... Yikes!!! While watching the wine stewart work the room, I noticed the silver cup hanging from her neck so I asked the waitress what’s that cup for and was told “To spit out wine”. Now I wasn’t planning on having wine ..... but that changes everything. I’ve never spit wine out in a fancy pants French restaurant before and here was my chance.
Finally, the day of reckoning came ..... “Le bill”. Fixed price lunch $68 dollars a person ..... the bill came to $1780 dollars ..... whoops ...... make that $178 dollars. With tip that’s’ like $212 dollars. Or let me put that another way ..... that’s like equivalent to 50 McDonald’s Fillet-O-Fish sandwiches ..... or 40 bags of “Gorton’s Fish Sticks”
I started sweating a bit. “Don’t you know there’s a recession going around?” ..... ah ..... (arms flailing and giving Heimlich sign) ..... “I think I’m choking on a fish bone” ..... ah ..... “Got to use the bathroom I think I got food poisoning”. But just my luck, no windows in the bathroom to make my escape. I was forced to pay ‘le piper’.
Okay ..... so you win this round Mr. Eric Rippert ..... but I’ll be back ..... mark my words ..... oh I’ll be back Mr. Fancy Pants!