Recently installed New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells has bestowed his first four-star review on midtown seafood shrine Le Bernardin. Only five other restaurants–Jean Georges, Per Se, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park and Del Posto–hold the top rating. But the honor comes as no big surprise for Le Bernardin, which the Times has awarded four stars in each review of the restaurant since it opened in 1986.
Wells gushed about nearly every one of ace chef Eric Ripert’s dishes (only the “dover sole in a red wine and cassis sauce the color of grape chewing gum” gave him pause) and also applauded the restaurant’s recent redesign, which added a relatively informal lounge and spiced up what had been the “boardroom” ambience of the main dining room. Reservations will be even tougher to procure in the wake of the rave, and the nautical pleasures don’t come cheap, with a four-course prix fixe costing $125 before wine and various culinary supplements. Still, Wells was happy to shrug off the expense, saying he, “decided not to worry, because a chance like this might not come along again.”