Le Bernardin by Eric Ripert (New York, USA)
Arriving from Paris in 1986, we quietly opened Le Bernardin in New York
Born in Paris in 1972 by sibling duo Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze, Le Bernardin only served fish: Fresh, simple and prepared with respect. After receiving its first Michelin star in 1976, and two more in 1980, the Le Coze’s set to open Le Bernardin in New York in 1986.
After the unexpected passing of Gilbert in 1994, Maguy Le Coze began working closely with Chef Eric Ripert, a disciple and close friend of Gilbert, who took over the kitchen to continue preparing the freshest seafood with the simple philosophy that the fish is the star of the plate.
Le Bernardin earned four stars from The New York Times three months after its opening, never having dropped a star throughout five reviews, and is the only restaurant to maintain this rating for that length of time.
In September 2011, Le Coze and Ripert unveiled the next chapter in the restaurant’s history: a significant redesign from Bentel & Bentel. The new look features a lounge, a first for the restaurant, where a separate menu is available. Since then, the restaurant received a James Beard Award in 2012 for “Best Restaurant Design,” and an “Outstanding Restaurateur” award in 2013 for Le Coze, who is the first woman to be honored in the category.
The restaurant holds several records in New York: it received its four-star review from The New York Times only three months after opening and is the only New York four star restaurant that has maintained its status of excellence for more than 20 years. Reviews have come in 1986, 1989, 1995, 2005, and most recently in 2012, with the same verdict: four stars.
Le Bernardin has received more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant in New York City. In 1998, Maguy Le Coze won the coveted James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurant” in America, and in May 2003, the James Beard Foundation named Eric Ripert “Outstanding Chef.” In 2009, Le Bernardin was honored with the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Wine Service.” The Michelin Guide, which made its New York debut in 2005, honored Chef Ripert and Le Bernardin with its highest rating of three stars in 2005 and each year thereafter, and the restaurant ranks 17 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
The New York Zagat Guide has consistently recognized Le Bernardin as top rated in the category of “Best Food” and the 2011- 2016 editions awarded it a 29 food rating: the highest in New York City. In the 2012-2014, 2016 & 2017 Zagat Guides, Le Bernardin is named the Most Popular Restaurant in the city, and in the 2015–2017 guides, it’s also rated the city’s top restaurant for service. New York magazine also rated Le Bernardin #1 in its annual ranking of the 101 best restaurants in New York City in 2006. In his year-end dining feature, Frank Bruni of The New York Times selected Le Bernardin as the “Best Meal of 2008.” Most recently, for 2017 Le Bernardin was ranked #2 in the world and #1 in American on La Liste’s international list of 1,000 restaurants.
In 1999, Ripert and partner Maguy Le Coze expanded their business to form Ripert Consulting which so far has shaped restaurants in Florida, California and New York City and has partnered with the Ritz-Carlton to open restaurants in Washington D.C., Philadelphia and the Caribbean.
In September 2014, Ripert and Le Coze extended the elegance of Le Bernardin’s private dining room with the opening of Le Bernardin Privé, a modern and dynamic event space, and Le Bernardin wine director Aldo Sohm opened Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, where guests can enjoy a menu of simple and shareable dishes meant to complement and elevate an extensive and ever-changing wine list.
To the delight of fans all over the world, 1998 saw the publication of Le Bernardin’s first cookbook, called Le Bernardin—Four Star Simplicity. Eric Ripert has also published a memoir, The New York Times bestseller 32 Yolks, and four other cookbooks: My Best: Eric Ripert, Avec Eric, On the Line, and A Return to Cooking.
Maguy Le Coze, co-owner of Le Bernardin, was born in a small fishing village in Brittany, France, where her grandfather was a fisherman and her parents owned the Hotel de Rhuys, a small inn and restaurant. These early years instilled in Maguy an undying love of the sea and a continual appreciation of seafood.
By the time she was a teenager, Maguy was already working in the Hotel de Rhuys’ dining room, and her brother Gilbert was learning to cook in the kitchen. The siblings so impressed their father with their skills, that he opened La Biscorne, a summer disco, and let Maguy and Gilbert operate it. In the winter, the two traveled to the French Alps to work at popular clubs and restaurants at the ski resorts.
In 1972, while Maguy and Gilbert were still in their twenties, they moved to Paris and opened a small restaurant named Le Bernardin, after an order of monks devoted to good wine and food. Maguy and Gilbert borrowed recipes from family members in Brittany, and their parents would gather fresh ingredients, such as wild fennel, to ship to Paris by train. Le Bernardin became one of Paris’ hottest restaurants. In 1981, Le Bernardin moved to a larger location and a year later, received two Michelin stars.
Expanding on their Parisian success, Gilbert and Maguy opened a second Le Bernardin in New York City in 1986. Just three months later, they received a four-star review from the New York Times, an unprecedented record. After selling the Parisian restaurant to focus on America, the two opened Brasserie Le Coze in Coconut Grove, Florida, which was named one of “America’s Best 25 Restaurants” by Esquire magazine. In 1994, they opened a second Brasserie Le Coze in Atlanta, Georgia.
With the untimely and tragic death of Gilbert in the summer of 1994, Maguy focused her energies on the New York operations. After selling the Coconut Grove restaurant and closing the restaurant in Atlanta, Maguy worked closely with Chef Eric Ripert to uphold
Le Bernardin’s tradition of excellence and innovation. Following a significant and striking redesign by Bentel & Bentel in September 2011, Le Bernardin continues to maintain this tradition, simultaneously drawing a new generation of diners while staying true to the artistry and consistency that have made it such a success.
In September 2014, Maguy and Eric opened Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, named for their acclaimed wine director Aldo Sohm, just steps away from Le Bernardin. Set in a casual and convivial room, the wine bar offers a menu of simple, shareable plates meant to complement Aldo’s ever-changing, expertly curated wine list. That same month, Maguy and Eric expanded Le Bernardin’s private dining offerings with Le Bernardin Privé, a dynamic space above Aldo Sohm Wine Bar that can accommodate a range of events, including weddings, cocktail receptions and corporate meetings.
Maguy received a 2013 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurateur,” the first woman ever to be honored in this category. Under Maguy’s loving guidance, Le Bernardin continues to receive universal acclaim for its food and service, a testament to its timeless appeal.
Eric Ripert is grateful for his early exposure to two cuisines—that of Antibes, France, where he was born, and to Andorra, a small country just over the Spanish border where he moved as a young child. His family instilled their own passion for food in the young Ripert, and at the age of 15 he left home to attend culinary school in Perpignan. At 17, he moved to Paris and cooked at the legendary La Tour D’Argent before taking a position at the Michelin three-starred Jamin. After fulfilling his military service, Ripert returned to Jamin under Joel Robuchon to serve as chef poissonier.
In 1989, Ripert seized the opportunity to work under Jean-Louis Palladin as sous-chef at Jean Louis at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Ripert moved to New York in 1991, working briefly as David Bouley’s sous-chef before Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze recruited him as chef for Le Bernardin. Ripert has since firmly established himself as one of New York’s—and the world’s—great chefs.
In 1995, at just 29 years old, Ripert earned a four-star rating from the New York Times. Twenty years later and for the fifth consecutive time, Le Bernardin again earned the New York Times’ highest rating of four stars, becoming the only restaurant to maintain this superior status for this length of time, without ever dropping a star.
In September 2011, Ripert and Le Coze unveiled a significant redesign of Le Bernardin from Bentel & Bentel that earned the restaurant a James Beard Award for “Best Restaurant Design” in 2012. The new look features a lounge, a first for the restaurant, where a separate menu is available.
Three years later in September 2014, Ripert and Le Coze opened Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, named for the acclaimed wine director Aldo Sohm. Located just steps away from Le Bernardin, the wine bar offers a menu of cheese, charcuterie and simple fare paired with Sohm’s curated wine list in a casual, convivial setting. That same month, the two expanded Le Bernardin’s private dining offerings with Le Bernardin Privé, a dynamic space above Aldo Sohm Wine Bar that can accommodate a range of events, including weddings, cocktail receptions and corporate meetings.
Ripert has been recognized as one of the top chefs in the world. In 1998, the James Beard Foundation named Ripert “Top Chef in New York City” and in 2003, “Outstanding Chef in the United States.” In September 2009, AVEC ERIC, Ripert’s first TV show, debuted on PBS stations and ran for two successful seasons, earning two Daytime Emmy Awards: “Outstanding Culinary Program” (2011) and “Outstanding Achievement in Main Title and Graphic Design” (2010). Avec Eric: a culinary journey with Eric Ripert (Wiley) was released in November 2010 with more than 100 recipes inspired by Ripert’s travels. AVEC ERIC returned for a third season on the Cooking Channel in February 2015. Ripert has also hosted RESERVE CHANNEL’s show “On the Table” on YouTube, which debuted in July 2012, and appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” “Ellen DeGeneres,” “TODAY,” “Live with Kelly & Michael” and “Martha Stewart.”
In fall 2008, Ripert published On the Line, his second cookbook with Artisan, which in 2002 published A Return to Cooking, a collaboration between Ripert, photographers Shimon and Tammar Rothstein, artist Valentino Cortazar and writer Michael Ruhlman that was selected by Newsweek as one of its best books of the season. Ripert’s first cookbook, Le Bernardin – Four Star Simplicity (Clarkson Potter) debuted in 1998, and in 2014, Ripert released his newest cookbook, My Best: Eric Ripert (Alain Ducasse Publishing). In 2016, he published his memoir: 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line (Random House), which appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. In addition, Ripert partnered with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to open Blue in Grand Cayman.
Ripert is the Vice Chairman of the board of City Harvest, working to bring together New York’s top chefs and restaurateurs to raise funds and increase the quality and quantity of food donations to New York’s neediest. When not in the kitchen, Ripert enjoys good scotch and peace and quiet.
155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019. USA.
RESERVATIONS: 212 554 1515
We are currently accepting reservations through May 31st. June reservations will begin May 1st.
Our reservation lines are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Beginning on the first day of each month, excluding Sundays, reservations can be made for the entire following month. Reservations are not accepted in the Lounge.
Lunch: Monday – Friday, 12 pm – 2:30 pm
Dinner: Monday – Thursday, 5:15 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday – Saturday, 5:15 pm – 11 pm
Le Bernardin is closed on Sundays.
May 28, 2018, Memorial Day
July 4, 2018, Independence Day
September 3, 2018, Labor Day
November 22, 2018, Thanksgiving (reservation lines open 9:00AM-5:00PM)
December 31, 2018, New Year’s Eve
January 1, 2018, New Year’s Day
Jackets are required for gentlemen in the Main Dining Room during both lunch and dinner. Ties are optional. In the Lounge, jackets are recommended but not required.