New York Restaurant Trend: Dining at the Bar
by Meryl Pearlstein
Interested in eating at some of New York City’s best restaurants, but put off by the prices? Try dining at the bar! Not only is it less expensive, but the bar or lounge atmosphere is often a more relaxed experience than in the main dining room. It’s a wonderful trend that many top-rated New York restaurants are embracing, including Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park and Per Se, where diners can avoid having to order the prix-fixe menu by dining in the lounge.
Separated from the elegant restaurant space by a beautiful teak screen, the lounge at Le Bernardin is an oasis of Zen in busy midtown. Elegant but relaxed, this room is where those “in the know” come for exquisite pre- or post-theater meals at the bar or comfortable tables. A small menu samples the fine-dining seafood experience that keeps Eric Ripert’s restaurant among the most revered in Manhattan and a regular on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. Choose from the extensive bread selection (try the rosemary focaccia), and small plates like kanpachi tartare, Peruvian-style scallop ceviche, or lobster and truffles “en brioche.” End with the mini-dessert tasting trio. Should you desire it, the full prix-fixe multi-course selections of the main dining room are also available.
Personable and knowledgeable sommelier Aldo Sohm will help select the perfect wine to complement your food. Look for his new wine bar at 151 W. 51st, a stone’s throw from Le Bernardin, opening this spring. On the menu: 200+ bottles, light foods, plus beer and spirits.