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What It's Like To Eat Lunch At The Best Restaurant In America [PHOTOS]



Courtesy of Robert Young

Le Bernardin — a high-end seafood restaurant in Manhattan helmed by celebrity chef Eric Ripert — is the best restaurant in the U.S.

That's according to Business Insider's recent ranking of the best restaurants in America

Robert Young, a Flickr user and software engineer based in London, was fortunate enough to take a date there in March 2014. 

He shared photos of the pair's amazing à la carte lunch, which totaled $350, including a few cocktails.

"What really struck me about the experience (beyond the sublime food) was the service,"
Young told Business Insider in an email.

 "Our wait staff weren't at all stuffy or distant, but rather relaxed, joking, and engaging. My girlfriend and I were there for hours — swapping plates and drinks and asking annoying questions, but everything was met with great humor and whenever we swapped plates another set of cutlery arrived."

"Le Bernardin really surprised me by being close to a perfect meal!"
he added.

 Keep reading to see why.

Eric Ripert's award-winning restaurant is located in midtown Manhattan, on 51st Street and 7th Avenue.

Google Maps

The interior was redesigned in the summer of 2012 by Bentel & Bentel, with white tablecloths and rippling aluminum walls.

Daniel Krieger

There's also the Le Bernardin Lounge, which serves more affordable food and cocktails.

Daniel Krieger

This was Young's view. 

The dining room is smaller than one might expect, and is dominated by a 24-foot-long oil painting of waves crashing (it's called "Deep Water No. 1" by Ran Ortner).

But let's get to the food. 

Immediately after ordering, the wait staff drops by with a bread basket filled with eight types of bread, including raisin and walnut, pretzel, baguettes, and much more. 

Young opted for the crunchy baguette and pretzel bread.

The bread came with delicious, room-temperature butter that could easily spread, as well as a salmon rillette that combined smoked, fresh, and poached salmon to spread on bread.

Off to the side is the salmon rillette along with the MLC Mezcal cocktail that Young ordered.

 It was made with Don Amado Mezcal, lime, kaffir lime leaf, agave, and salt.

Next came the wild striped bass tartare with a jicama salad (a crisp, juicy type of root vegetable) and a champagne-mango emulsion.

 The fresh, light flavors were perfect for the new season.

The charred octopus "a la plancha" followed.

 This dish was served with green olive and black garlic emulsion and a sun-dried tomato sauce vierge, a famous type of French sauce.

Courtesy of Robert Young

Young said this razor clams dish was probably the weakest of his lunch. 

The clams were shaved thin and served with lemon confit, piquillo pepper (a type of chile), baby zucchini, and a pesto broth.

One of the dishes Eric Ripert is known for is his barely cooked scallop served in fragrant brown butter dashi broth. 

The scallop is translucent on the inside, and lightly cooked on top for a sweet, tender, and meaty dish.

Young and his date requested the pan roasted lobster as a $15 supplement to their meal. 

It was cut into knuckle-sized pieces and served with a red wine "sauce Américaine," which has chopped onions, tomatoes, white wine, brandy, salt, cayenne pepper, and butter. 

Truffled salsify — a type of root vegetable — was served on the side.

Courtesy of Robert Young

Cut into pieces that rest against one another, the pan roasted monkfish was another delightful course.

 It came with a tarragon-scented pea purée and Armagnac-black pepper sauce.

Next was the first dessert: a blood orange confit and Buddha Hand, a type of fingered citron.

 It was served with mint meringue, olive oil, and blood orange sorbet. Excellently plated and delicious.

The second dessert was a pistachio cake topped with fluffy pistachio mousse, Meyer lemon, and toasted pistachios with a dollop of pistachio ice cream. 

The whole thing was drizzled with passion fruit gelee, which highlighted the versatility of the pistachio flavor.

Young said this entire course was perhaps his "all time favorite dessert."

Last but not least was the salted caramel custard in an egg shell.

 It's made with milk chocolate, crème brûlée, caramel custard foam, caramel sauce, and sea salt served inside an egg.

Courtesy of Robert Young

You eat it in 2-3 bites with a small spoon. Young described it as the "perfect sweet finish."

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