Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bits & Morsels

"Bits and Morsels" is an ongoing collection of information from the world of the foodies and foodblogs:

Earlier this week I went to dinner at Le Bernardin and to no one's surprise, mine included, I was very impressed. Le Bernardin was named after an order of monks devoted to good food and wine, and appropriately, it is one of the select restaurants to hold three Michelin stars as well as four stars from The New York Times.

Chocolate Peanut Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Caramel Tart, Meyer Lemon Purée, Peanut Powder, Praline-Citrus Sorbet.
Yes, the food was phenomenal but the décor of the restaurant which always seemed to me, an afterthought, made its reason known on this night; streamlined, leaving plenty of space between the tables, allowing for no distraction from the food. It was a very busy night at the restaurant and many conversations were taking place. But it was never noisy.

Le Bernardin is primarily a fish restaurant and that's good news since Chef Eric Ripert is so skilled with handling his fish, it's as if he'd been anointed with fish oils. The prix fix menu is divided into sections of almost raw, barely touched, and lightly cooked. And with each section the flavors were explosive yet refined. My favorite dish was the Wild Alaskan and Smoked Salmon; Apple, Celery and Baby Watercress; Jalapeño Emulsion (for that touch of heat).

Almost all of the dishes receive their sauces tableside, which makes for a nice presentation. The Escolar with red wine sauce was also delicate and delightful. Escolar is a snake mackerel and is sure to become commonplace on many menus. I left feeling sedate and satisfied; the perfect way to unwind after being stuck in horrible midtown traffic. Le Bernardin, 155 W 51st St., (212) 554-1515.
Spot-on service.
A delectable dessert.
Smoked salmon.
Slowly Braised Porcini and Oyster Mushrooms; Asparagus and Baby Leeks.
Wild Alaskan and Smoked Salmon; Apple, Celery and Baby Watercress; Jalapeño Emulsion.
Red Snapper Pan Roasted Red Snapper; Sautéed Pea Shoots; Gingered-Lemon-Scallion Broth.
Escolar getting sauced.
Poached Halibut; Marinated Grapes and Cherry Tomatoes; Pickled Shallot; Verjus-Lemon Grass Infusion.
Eating local. The Oxford word of the year for 2007 is Locavore. This word represents the local food movement. Locavores maintain that food obtained from local farmers markets or even grown in their own garden is better for the environment as well as their bodies. Finally, an indication that mass society is thinking consciously about the environment they live in. [The Oxford University Press Blog]

Thanksgiving. If you have no desire to spend thanksgiving stuck in the kitchen, check out this list of restaurants that will be serving thanksgiving dinner. In the mix are some Italian, French, Japanese and of course, some American choices. [Where to dine on Thanksgiving]

If you feel like staying home but don’t feel like cooking, here is a list of places to take out from. Some of these dishes also make thoughtful gifts to give to your host. You can even order some of these dishes online! [Where to get take out for Thanksgiving]

If you plan on roasting the turkey yourself, here is a list of five essential items you will need. These items range from a digital meat thermometer to a very sharp carving set. [Amazon]

If you want a bagel to impress check out this $1,000 bagel with white truffle cream cheese. The bagel is being offered at the Westin New York hotel at Times Square and was created by chef Frank Tujague. Part of the proceeds from the bagel go to Les Amis d'Escoffier Scholarship, providing scholarships to students of the culinary arts. Besides being packed with white truffles, the bagel is also topped with goji berry-infused Riesling jelly. [Reuters]

Till we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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