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Diamond Dish: Le Bernardin

Diamond Dish: Le Bernardin

Diamond Designation: Five Diamond (Leading-edge cuisine, ingredients and perparation with extraordinary service and surroundings.) Learn more about AAA Diamonds.

Address: 155 W. 51 St., New York, N.Y.

Signature Dish: Pounded Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio

Serving artfully prepared and presented fresh seafood since 1986, Le Bernardin is known as one of the best restaurants – not only in New York, but in the world. Among its many accolades, it holds the prestigious AAA Five Diamond designation.

Reserved for only the best of the best in the hospitality industry, only 0.2 percent of more than 31,000 AAA inspected and approved restaurants receive the Five Diamond designation.

Headed by esteemed chef Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin’s pre-fixe and tasting menus change continually with the seasons and new inspiration. But in over 30 years, there is one dish that sticks around. The pounded yellowfin tuna carpaccio “truly reflects our philosophy and approach to food,” Ripert said.

It is prepared with layers of paper-thin raw tuna, draped over rich foie gras and served with a thinly sliced baguette for texture. Chives, shallot olive oil and lemon provide a balance of flavors.

“An artistic signature of the kitchen, the carpaccio and its delightful plating is more akin to a Picasso artwork than to a mere plate of fish,” noted a AAA inspector in a review.

Various iterations of the dish have been served in the restaurant over the years, with the latest adaptation featuring Iberico ham and sea beans. And while the concept has continued to evolve in the main dining room, the popular foie gras version is always available exclusively in the lounge, which offers a selection of a la carte items.

The tuna is so beloved it’s the only dish that’s never been taken off of the menu. It’s even served at sister restaurant Blue by Eric Ripert at the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman.

For seafood lovers – or for that matter, any lover of food – Le Bernardin is a fine dining experience that can’t be missed. The dinner tasting menus give the full experience, while lunch provides an equally enjoyable, well-priced option.

(Photo: Daniel Krieger)

Thinly Pounded Yellowfin Tuna, Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette, Shaved Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Foie Gras Terrine:
1 lobe of foie gras (about 1½ pounds)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon pinches sel rose
6 cups chicken stock

The Tuna:
12 ounces sushi-quality yellowfin tuna fillet
Marquise-shaped 4½- by 9-inch template

The Garnish:
1 mini baguette
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons shallots, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1 lemon, cut in half

  1. To prepare the foie gras, place the lobe in ice water overnight. Remove the foie gras from the water and pat dry. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Separate the two lobes, keeping one covered while you work on the other. Starting at the primary vein on the underside of the foie gras, carefully slice through the lobe to the main vein. Split the foie gras apart and butterfly the lobe by making an outward cut at each side of the vein. Remove the primary vein and then the small veins throughout. Repeat with the remaining lobe.
  2. Mix the salt, pepper and sel rose together. Season the liver evenly on both sides. Cover the foie gras with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Form the foie gras into a log, approximately 2½ inches wide by 6 inches long, on a piece of parchment paper, twisting and squeezing the ends so it is compact. Unwrap the foie gras and transfer to a piece of cheesecloth. Rolling away from you, roll the foie gras into a tight log, again twisting the ends to compact the shape. Tie one end with a piece of kitchen twine and then tie the other end.
  4. Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the foie gras. Add the foie gras and cook for 2 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 90 degrees. Remove the foie gras from the stock and chill immediately.
  5. Remove the cheesecloth and reshape the torchon one more time with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. For the pounded tuna, slice the tuna into ¼-inch-thick slices. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap onto a work surface. Arrange the tuna pieces, with an inch between each slice, on the plastic; cover the tuna with another large sheet of plastic. Using a kitchen mallet, gently pound the tuna until there is a very thin and even layer of tuna that is about 1/8–inch thick. Using the template and a sharp knife, cut through the tuna and both layers of plastic to get four marquise-shaped portions. Refrigerate the tuna for at least 30 minutes; it can be pounded and cut a few hours ahead of time.
  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the bread lengthwise into 4 very thin slices. Arrange the slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; cover with parchment paper and another baking sheet (so the slices stay as flat as possible). Toast the slices in the oven until they are lightly browned and crisp; about 5-7 minutes. Allow the slices to cool to room temperature.
  8. To serve, slice four thin pieces (about ⅛-inch thick) of foie gras, making sure each slice is as long as the baguette slices. You will have extra foie gras; reserve for another festive occasion. Place the foie gras slices on top of the baguette slices. Place each baguette in the center of an oval-shaped plate. Pull the top piece of plastic wrap off of a portion of tuna. Invert the tuna (so the remaining plastic-wrapped side is in your hand) and place it on top of the foie gras baguette. Pull the other piece of plastic wrap off the tuna. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and brush with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle shallots and chives over each piece of the pounded tuna. Wipe off the excess garnish. Squeeze lemon juice over each portion and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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