Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Date Night at The Four Seasons

Cotton Candy -- The Four Seasons Restaurant
The Four Seasons Restaurant

The first thing you need to know about our experience at The Four Seasons is that we spent a solid minute of our dinner convinced that the place serves $2 glasses of wine.
Apparently, We Believe This is a Mexican Beach Bar
Yes, somehow we convinced our not-exactly-quick-firing brains that an establishment whose entrees cost upwards of $75 is a bargain basement for alcohol.  How did we come to this conclusion, you may ask?
Here's a Hint: We're Idiots
While perusing the gargantuan Bible that The Four Seasons calls a "wine list," we mistakenly read the PAGE NUMBERS listed in the book's Table of Contents as the PRICES.  Yes, that's right -- we genuinely believed that The Four Seasons served $2 glasses of champagne, $5 glasses of burgundy, etc.  Did we ever stop and think, "Hmm, why are these numbers listed in ascending order?" or "Hmm, why are the  glasses of wine on the first page so much cheaper than the ones on the second?"  No.  Instead, we were too busy calculating exactly how many Happy Hour cocktails we could consume for the price of one single bottle.
Hooked on Phonics Didn't Work for Us
Needless to say, we have never been more grateful that our slow-but-not-completely-absent deductive reasoning skills kick in, and that we figure out the error of our ways BEFORE our waiter comes back for our drink order.
We Don't Deserve to Be Trusted with Such Glassware Delicacies
We are at The Four Seasons to celebrate Ginger's birthday, and thus to receive the cotton candy that the restaurant serves gratis for all "special occasions."
Cut To: Every Single Table in the Restaurant Featuring a Mound of Cotton Candy. "Special Occasion," Indeed
Unfortunately for Ginger, she nearly missed her celebration all together, as she was too busy loitering outside the Four Seasons HOTEL on 57th Street to notice that the Four Seasons RESTAURANT is located five full blocks away (and apparently has no affiliation with the hotel whatsoever).  Stumbling into the joint ten minutes late, she finds Vodka sitting at what is obviously meant to be a "date night" table -- a side-by-side booth with a "romantic" view of the pool.  

"First of all," Ginger begins.

"First of all?!" Vodka interrupts her.  "We are already on AT LEAST 'eighteenth of all.'"

As the location where our own culinary icon, Bethenny Frankel, got married, we have learned that The Four Seasons is some sort of New York institution (which we find a bit odd for a place boasting palm trees as decor).
This Is Very Polynesian Resort, Disney World, No?
And, true to form, we are racking up the 'moron points' by the minute at this place, and we are not sure how we will survive long enough to procure Gail Simmons's Best Thing I Ever Ate CHILDHOOD FAVORITE choice at the end of the meal.  We have come to realize that places whose Best Thing I Ever Ate specialty is a dessert really have the odds stacked against them when it comes to us, as the chance of us staying in a good mood throughout an entire meal is not always the easiest feat.  Thankfully, The Four Seasons is off to a rousing start, mostly due to the fact that their heaping bread basket is already on the table.
Batting 1,000 in Carb Calories
Unlike the perpetual hunt for the bread boy that disrupted our dinner at Le Bernardin, an overflowing platter of rolls appears on our table seconds after Vodka sits down, along with a miniature bowl full of heirloom cherry tomatoes.
At First, We Are Perplexed by This Food Choice... Until Our Bowl Wound Up Empty
As there is no surer way to our hearts than plying us with free food within moments of our arrival (except, perhaps, plying us with free liquor), we are instantly convinced that this place has it all over Le Bernardin in terms of winning our affection.
See How Easy We Are to Please, Le Bern?!
Once we figure out how to, you know, READ the overwhelming Torah of wines, we order an Australian sauvignon blanc, chosen primarily because it was one of the cheapest (at $65) bottles on the menu.
No Wonder This Thing Has a Table of Contents
As we sip (read: guzzle) our wine, we sample every single one of the rolls placed before us.  While we heavily favor the miniature croissants, the white and raisin rolls are also pleasing -- at least they are when we slather them with our typical gobs of butter ("It was kind of them to provide us each with our own slab").
Hoarding Bread Products
The whole wheat roll, which is so chewy it verges on being stale, is decidedly the miss in this arrangement, but being that The Four Seasons replenishes both our bread basket and our cherry tomato bowl minutes after we have emptied them, we are more than willing to overlook such disappointments.
And Here We Have ROUND 2!
The Sad Part Is That They Ended Up Refilling Our Butter Dish, Too
For our appetizers, the birthday girl orders the caesar salad, which is prepared tableside, and Vodka chooses the corn ravioli, which comes with rock shrimp and chanterelles.  After our waiter (of which we have ONE, and who is NICE TO US.  Hint, hint, Le Bernardin) finishes creating the salad, he walks away from our area without serving it to Ginger.
Um, Mister -- Hand It Over
"Is this some sort of buffet now?" she asks, as we seemingly have the patience of baby birds when it comes to waiting for our food.  The waiter returns with Vodka's ravioli and hands Ginger her caesar salad, and we prepare to dig in.

Well, Ginger prepares to dig in, while Vodka yells at her not to touch anything until the photographic evidence is complete.
After All of This Time, You Would Think She Would Learn
After the shots have been taken, Vodka says to Ginger, with absolutely no affect, "You can eat now.  Happy Birthday."
We Should Really Have the Mental Asylum on Speed Dial
The salad proves to be worth the wait, featuring crisp greens, tangy from the dijon mustard and  smothered with a hearty portion of parmasean cheese.  It is without a doubt one of the best caesar salads we have tasted, and believe us -- we know our way around a caesar salad (really, what part of a salad whose primary ingredients are "cheese" and "croutons" could be displeasing?).
Yellow Tinge Courtesy of an Ambitious Serving of Mustard
Vodka's corn ravioli are similarly delicious.  Three thick pasta bundles sit sprinkled with perfectly cooked tiny shrimp and laden with mushrooms, and effusing a delicate scent of truffle oil.  The corn is sweet without being overpowering, and the sauce is so delectable that Vodka uses the rest of our second bread basket to scoop it into her mouth.
Though Before You Think We Have Made Complete Pigs of Ourselves, We Did NOT Require a Third Bread Basket
"This place is great," Ginger comments as we await our entrees.  "Why would anyone ever go to Le Bernardin?"
We Are Here to Right the Wrongs of the New York City Culinary Scene
For the main portions of our dinner, Ginger picks the Maryland crabmeat cakes with mustard sauce, and Vodka the roasted halibut with vegetables and tamarind sauce.  The crab cakes are lightly breaded (though apparently not lightly enough for Ginger, who picks around most of the outer portion in order to consume only the (more than plentiful) crab meat).
Olympic-Sized Swimming Pool Helping of Mustard
The rest of the plate features a side salad, beet chips, and a hearty portion of mustard sauce ("There is a theme to my meal and it is mustard").  Despite the fact that the crab cakes include not one but two particles of crab shell, Ginger enjoys the dish.
Either Ginger Has Very Sensitive Teeth or Restauranteurs Across the City Are Intent on Serving her Bones & Shells
On the other side of the table, Vodka is neatly shoveling halibut into her mouth. Indeed, the halibut, for Vodka, is one of the best fish dishes she has ever tasted.  Thick and meaty, it manages to remain refreshing despite its chicken-like consistency.
Tastes Like Chicken.  No -- Really -- It Tastes Like Chicken
The exterior of the fish has a slight crispiness, while the inside is flaky and moist, and it all melds perfectly with the mattress of vegetables on which it rests.  The tamarind sauce is quite wonderful, and if there is any flaw in the dish, it is that it could have used some more of it.
We Pretty Much Like Our Sauces Like We Like Our Bread: Plentiful
By the time our plates are removed from the table, we are approaching the point of "uncomfortable fullness."  In truth, Ginger has passed that point a long time ago, as her dress is so tight around her lungs that she has been unable to take a deep breath all night (in contrast, as she pulls at the dress's billowing midsection, she notes, "Luckily, it leaves lots of room for stomach").
"It's Nice of The Four Seasons to Provide a Barf Bucket on the Table"
Despite the certain overstuffed doom that is slowly descending upon us, we pioneer on to order the strawberry shortcake to share for dessert.
Because The Best Idea When Reaching the Point of Vomiting is Always to KEEP EATING
In retrospect, this proves to be beyond faulty reasoning, as our dessert ends up including not one but FOUR plates of sweets on our table:

1. the strawberry shortcake
2. a complimentary bowl of sorbet
3. a complimentary "treat tray," and finally,
4. the whole reason we are here in the first place: the complimentary "special occasion" cotton candy

As if all of this were not enough, The Four Seasons also provides us each with a free glass of dessert wine, as if to say, "Just try to give us anything but 5 stars now, boozers."
Well Played, Four Seasons. Well Played
In truth, once the giant mound of cotton candy appears before us, complete with a birthday candle at the top for Ginger, the other plates of food disappear from our consciousness (though the glasses of dessert wine barely leave our hands, naturally).
"Happy Birthday to -- Wait, I Need to Take a Picture"
We begin hacking at the thing immediately, forcing entirely-too-large-for-our-mouths balls of cotton candy onto our tongues.  While we were never exactly connoisseurs of cotton candy in our youth, we doubt that any kind featured at the Ringling Bros. Circus could compete with The Four Seasons's variety.
The Beginnings of the Massacre
Softly spun and perfectly sugary, it somehow refrains from becoming the sticky goo into which most cotton candy inevitably transforms.  Sprinkled on top of the pink mountain of sweetness are lavender candies, and hidden underneath is a scoop of strawberry ice cream (which Ginger is convinced is not present at all, so she reaches her entire hand into the bottom of the pile to prove her theory... and it returns smothered in ice cream).
Lavender Candy, Prepare for Your Close-Up
Believe It Or Not, This Ice Cream Looked Even Less Appetizing Once It Was Mauled by Ginger
Frankly, we probably could have done without the ice cream, as it is so melted by the time we reach it that it is practically a moot point.  The cotton candy, however, we cannot get enough of.
Though If It's All the Same to You, Four Seasons, Please TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON
"We are probably going to be the only two people in the history of The Four Seasons to FINISH the cotton candy," Ginger surmises.  "Although those kids over there are doing pretty good.  We have to beat them."
Preparing to Dive Face-First Into the Cotton Candy Ball
As it happens, the children who are present at various tables across the room do not seem to be enjoying said cotton candy nearly as much as we are (perhaps because The Four Seasons dress code forces boys to wear jackets and ties ("If I were a kid and had to wear a jacket and tie to dinner, I'd off myself."  "If you wore a jacket and tie as a kid, you'd have had bigger problems to contend with.")).
The Slow, Depressing Deflation of Spun Sugar
Eventually, however, even our hearty appetites cannot make it through the full cotton candy portion, and we can barely even think about finishing the other three bowls of dessert before us.
Oh No -- What Have We Done?!
We Can't Believe We're Saying This, But TOO MUCH FREE FOOD
You Know It's a Dire Situation When We Can't Even Finish the Treat Tray
We take half-hearted tastes of the coconut, passion fruit, and berry sorbets and reluctant bites of the items from the treat tray before abandoning our quest all together, due to the threat of imminent nausea.
Someone Pass the Barf Bucket
Ginger asks to have the strawberry shortcake, which we have barely touched, wrapped up to go, and Vodka asks the waiter to include the treat tray items along with it.
Truth Be Told, She Would Have Taken the Sorbet, Too, Had She Had a Cooler on Hand
When the waiter returns, we do not find the seven half-eaten items from our treat tray in the bag.  Instead, our waiter has filled an entire container to the brim with brand new treat tray items, all to "stock the dorm rooms" of us "college students."

So just a second -- you think we're still in college AND you just handed us a free box of cookies?!

The Four Seasons is our new FAVORITE PLACE EVER.
Other New York City Eateries: Please Take Note
We pay our bill without incident and skip out of The Four Seasons happily, Ginger slightly more weighed down by the bushel of desserts she is carrying.  Feeling more youthful and decidedly more fat than usual, we are filled with glee over the fact that our faces still sport the collegiate look.

If only our own college had managed to teach us how to properly utilize a Table of Contents.

The Four Seasons Restaurant's Cotton Candy: 5 stars*

*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard, Le Bernardin, We Have a BLOG

Black Bass -- Le Bernardin
Le Bernardin

If past experience is any indication, we do not have a great track record when it comes to squelching our foolish tendencies in hoity-toity restaurants.
There Is Just So Many Plates to Contend With!
We are therefore rather shocked when Le Bernardin allows us to dine in their Michelin-starred establishment, and we try to present our version of "good behavior" as no less than three staff members escort us towards our table (Eric Ripert is clearly doing his part in solving the unemployment crisis).
Le Bernardin: America's Answer to Economic Woes
Instantly, there is confusion, as the swarm of hosts and hostesses is replaced at once by multiple servers -- even by the end of our meal, we are uncertain as to which one is our designated waiter (when it comes to our table, Le Bernardin apparently knows it takes a village).
Here's a Tip, Le Bernardin: Hand Us a Cocktail Immediately and We'll Be Happy With Just One of You
After about a decade of confusion over the massive wine list, one of the multitude of waiters presents us with food menus and explains how we are each to choose one item from the "Almost Raw," "Barely Touched," and "Lightly Cooked" lists (plus a dessert) to create our $125 prix fixe meal.  Dutifully, we select our choices, including Ted Allen's favorite black bass entree from the CRUNCHY episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate, and return to downing our glasses of Sauvignon Blanc at a rate we are certain Le Bernardin disapproves of (in truth, every time the designated wine pourer disappeared with our (screw top, naturally) bottle, Ginger could be heard calling, "Where is he going with that?  I need that back!").
We'll Handle the Wine Allocation Around Here, Thanks
Before we have made it to the right side of tipsy, yet another staff member (Eric Ripert must hoard them in the basement) presents the complimentary amuse bouche: a trio of lox, lobster, and tomato salad.  The moment he disappears, we prepare to dive in, only to discover that we have no idea how to properly utilize the utensils Le Bernardin has provided.  A miniature spork and spoon sit on either side of the dish, and we stare at each other blankly before collapsing into uncomfortable laughter at our own idiocy.
Clearly, Our Parents Should Have Sent Us to Charm School to Prevent Such Debacles
"We don't even know how to use the silverware," Vodka bemoans.  "We don't belong here."  As it turns out, this silverware conundrum proves to be an issue throughout the meal, as Le Bernardin is insistent that new (not to mention, different) flatware be provided with each course, just as we had figured out how to get food into our mouths with the old ones.  Additionally, they are horrified when, say, a patron who shall remain nameless uses her dinner knife to butter her bread, and they replace the tarnished utensil immediately).
Sorry to Offend You, Le Bernardin, But This Dinky Little Knife Isn't Enough to Spread Our Desired Amount of Butter
When we finally manage to wrangle the amuse bouche items onto our tongues, we are delighted.  The lox sphere is smoky and light, the lobster meaty and rich, and the tomato salad refreshing.  We are off to a fortuitous start.
Things Tend to Be Fortuitous When the Courses Are Free
That is, until we discover that the bread boy hates us.

As this blog has made clear, there is nothing that influences our opinion of a place more than its bread basket.  We would venture to say it can make or break our star rating, if only because the carb-laden rolls it provides decide what kind of mood we are in for the rest of the meal.  Therefore, when table after table is served bread and we are left with no vehicle with which to consume our butter, we grow increasingly hostile and convinced that the bread boy has it out for us.
Hey Mister, Here We Are!  Over Here!  Breadless!
When he eventually appears, it is all we can do not to leap out of our seats and begin stuffing the assortment of rolls into our bras.  Trying to maintain a level of decorum, Vodka asks for a brioche and a garlicky olive bread, and Ginger for a brioche and a pretzel roll (to be fair, she only chooses said pretzel roll because Vodka could be heard whisper-yelling across the table, "GET A PRETZEL ROLL").

Diving deeply into the butter dish (with the wrong knife), we slather it on our respective breads and bite in.  While all of the choices are appealing enough (read: we finish them in seconds), the pretzel roll is the stand-out here, tasting vaguely of coarse sea salt despite its smooth exterior.  As we mop up the last of our bread plates, we can't help but note that the rolls are all room temperature, and frankly, we'd prefer them hot out of the oven.

"Would it kill them to warm their rolls?" Vodka quips.

"They don't know who they're dealing with," Ginger agrees.  "We know our bread."

Before we can dive any further into the depths of self-important carb knowledge, yet another duo of mysterious Le Bernardin staff members presents our first courses: the tuna for Vodka and the striped bass for Ginger.
At Le Bernardin, One Pays Extra to Get the Plate to Match the Shape of the Tuna
A Striped Bass Wearing Polka Dots
Knowing that the tuna is supposed to be served on a "crispy baguette," Vodka confiscates the rounds of toast which have been placed next to Ginger's plate before discovering that her own baguette is actually hidden underneath the tuna.  Sliding her fork through the uber-thin slice of tuna sashimi, she eventually finds the promised foie gras and rectangle of "baguette," all of which has been sprinkled with chives and olive oil.
Note: Despite Months of Practice, Vodka Still Cannot Properly Pronounce "Foie Gras"
This tuna proves to be a highlight of the entire meal, as it is refreshingly light and perfectly displayed, and it later causes Vodka to wonder whether she likes her fish cooked at all.
Can We Reorder And Only Have Dishes From the "Almost Raw" Side of the Menu, Please?
On the other end of the table, Ginger tastes the striped bass tartare, which comes with fennel, artichoke, lemon, and olive oil (and, apparently, toast).
In Keeping With the Theme, This Plate Should Have Been Rectangular. Really, Le Bernardin - Get It Together
This dish, too, is unexpectedly more flavorful than it looks, especially when smeared onto the thin layers of baguette.  Halfway through each of our dishes, we perform a swift switch across the table ("You go over, I'll go under, you go over, I'll go under!").
And Whatever You Do, Don't End Up with Fish On Your Lap!
When one of our assortment of waiters notices that we have done this, he offers Vodka additional toast for her portion of the striped bass.  She declines, pointing to the rest of her piece which is resting on her bread plate, and murmurs the second he's out of earshot, "Don't worry -- five minutes ago, I didn't even know this came with toast."
Though Come to Think Of It, It Would Have Been Preferable for Them to FILL Each Of Those Toast Slots!
In between courses, we attempt to track down the elusive bread boy, who eventually deposits an additional baguette and pretzel roll onto our plates, albeit reluctantly.  As we systematically manage to devour an entire tub of butter, Ginger regales Vodka with her tale of losing her shoe (singular) in Vegas, and we debate if it's classier to pay in cash or credit ("Credit -- cash would expose that we don't know how to figure out the tip").  Our "Barely Touched" courses arrive, and we immediately start shoving octopus (Ginger) and scallops (Vodka) into our mouths.

"I'm still so hungry," Ginger complains between bites.  "I've been fasting since lunch."  (Thankfully Vodka secured us a "highly sought after" 5:30 seating).
Octopus Riding a Pirate Ship
Scallop Soup?
Of the two, we prefer the octopus on a grand scale.  Topped with an olive oil and garlic emulsion and sprinkled with a sundried tomato sauce, the octopus itself is ideally cooked -- the consistency of roast chicken, thus preventing the tentacles from becoming too dry and crunchy (a texture we hate).
We Only Count Five Pieces - Where Are the Other Three Legs?!
In contrast, the scallop dish is just... bizarre.  Thinly sliced rounds of scallops are arranged delicately around the plate, and a lime-shiso broth has been poured over them (by yet another eager staff member).  Snowpeas and shiitakes are allegedly there, too, but we never find them.
So Just to Confirm, This Is Supposed to Look Appetizing?
The scallop slices themselves are stuck -- literally stuck -- to the bottom of the plate, and once we manage to pry them up, the broth tastes so overwhelmingly of lime that it makes the entire dish a bad experiment in citrus.  Even more unfortunate is that the scallops live up to their "Barely Touched" name, sitting luke-warm in their lime bath and giving the disconcerting impression of a ceviche that was left out in the sun too long.
Throw These Scallops Some Sunblock
Finally, for our last courses we have the black bass (Vodka) and the red snapper (Ginger).
We're Beginning to Think Eric Ripert Is a Tad Too Into His Sauces....
Is That Smattering In the Middle Supposed to be Pasta?  Cause We're Going to Need Another Bowl Full
Now, it should be noted that the black bass was on the CRUNCHY episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate -- CRUNCHY.  We mention this word multiple times because said bass is decidedly NOT CRUNCHY.  Indeed, unless Ted Allen has become toothless, we are incredulous as to what he found to crunch upon in this dish.
Black Bass That Even An Infant Could Chew Through
Rather than having a crackery crust, this fish is the same texture throughout.  Now, is it a bad texture?  No.  Is the whole thing tasty enough (if, again, HIGHLY citrusy from the sauce)?  Yes.  But this black bass is anything but crispy.
Are The Vegetables Purposely Arranged to Look Like Sliding Boards?
Someone Give This Bass Some Doritos and Teach It How to Crunch
On the other side of the aisle, Ginger is making a series of facial contortions about her red snapper, which has been laden with a smoked red paprika and chorizo sauce.
We Should Have Known - We Don't Have the Best of Luck When It Comes to Chorizo
"This tastes like Campbell's soup," she repeats to Vodka at least three times.  Unfortunately for Le Bernardin's massive cult of a waitstaff, one of their members chooses to appear at our table at just this moment to ask how everything is.

"It's okay," Ginger says with a level of enthusiasm that would verge on hatefulness.

"Is there something wrong with your dish?" he persists.

"It's fine," Ginger answers, biting her tongue hard to prevent any reference to Campbell's soup from escaping her lips.  We switch plates, and Vodka confirms Ginger's suspicions about the red snapper: "They essentially poured Campbell's tomato soup over fish sticks and charged $35."  Indeed, the red snapper itself is virtually tasteless with a thin piece of white bread toast literally adhered to the top, and the sauce is without a doubt reminiscent of something we could pour out of a can.
In Other Words, Le Bernardin: NOT IMPRESSED
Even more egregiously, Ginger's venture into the black bass has led to the discovery of a rather large bone (is this what Le Bernardin means by "crunchy"?!).  Of course, yet another staff member (we assume this is a manager, though we never receive confirmation), arrives at our table just as Ginger is busy picking bones from her teeth, and he does his best to appease us.
Does It LOOK Like We're Enjoying It?!
After All, We're Usually Members of the Clean-Plate Club
When Ginger points to the bone resting on the periphery of her plate, however, he seems to determine that all hope is lost in removing the sour expressions from our faces, and the staff removes our half-finished dishes without further commentary.
Maybe We'd Look Less Sour If You Stopped Inundating All of Your Dishes with CITRUS
"We don't know if you've heard, Le Bernardin," Vodka whispers to Ginger with fanfare the minute the staff is out of our presence.  "But we have a BLOG."  She says this as if our ramblings could ruin this New York culinary institution, rather than the reality of the situation: our only reader, Vodka's mother, will certainly never patronize the place now.  You lost one, Le Bernardin!

For dessert, we order the Hazelnut-Marshmallow (chocolate ganache, vanilla marshmallow, and hazelnut ice cream) and the Chocolate Peanut (chocolate ganache, peanut mousse, and salted caramel ice cream).
In Case You Haven't Figured It Out By the GIANT HAZELNUT, This Is the Former
We Really Think The Individual Dots on the Plate Make a Difference, Don't You?
In a show of goodwill, Le Bernardin also presents a complimentary dish of something involving strawberries, gelatin, and foam (which one waiter informs us is his personal favorite).  Obviously, they're terrified of losing Vodka's mother as a potential customer.
Frankly, Le Bernardin, You'd Succeed More If You Gave Us a Free Cocktail
We thank them sans any genuine gratefulness and begin to eat our desserts in a much-less gung-ho fashion than we had approached our amuse bouches so many courses before.  We have essentially given up on Le Bernardin, and admittedly, our plethora of waiters are also decidedly over us (at least they finally stop asking how everything is).
Here's a Hint: We Didn't Finish This Dish Either
Of the three desserts, the chocolate peanut is by far the best -- essentially an overgrown Kit Kat accompanied by a miniature scoop of salted caramel ice cream (really, Le Bernardin, your ice cream portions leave something to be desired).
Have a Break - Have a $30 Kit Kat
Please Send the Pile of Salt Directly to Vodka's Side of the Table
Ginger enjoys the strawberry concoction , though Vodka, who hates fruit in her desserts, does not (it also fizzes with each bite -- the Michelin star version of Pop Rocks).
Does the Dessert Fizz In Order to Terrify All of the Complaining Customers?
Enormous Plate, Much?
And finally, the chocolate hazelnut is a grand disappointment, as the mousse has a decidedly odd taste and the combination of hazelnut and marshmallow, in retrospect, is anything but a successful one.
Goes to Show - You Can Squirt the Mousse Out Into a Pretty Ribbon But It Doesn't Make It Taste Good
Our bill arrives, and the waiter reveals that they have charged us a la carte for Vodka's portion of the meal, eliminating the bone-ridden black bass from the total (this happenstance will historically go down as the day Ginger, the far less complaint-driven of the two of us, procured her first discount -- and at Le Bernardin, no less!).  By some miracle, we manage to figure out our totals without mathematical incident and stumble through the dining room towards the restrooms.
And Before We Forget, Le Bernardin Provided These Doo-Dads as a Final Course...
...Though Clearly, We Weren't Particularly Fond of Them
"Let's be real," Vodka begins.  "This place is in the Theatre District -- how good could it be?"

"We should've just gone to Steak 'n Shake," Ginger agrees.

As yet another four workers hold the front doors for us on the way out, we figuratively roll our eyes at the proceedings.

And if there is one thing we can say for our Le Bernardin experience, it is this: we guarantee that no other "review" of their highfalutin premises has ended with the "critic" traipsing away from its residence while murmuring under her breath, "Ugh, this place is stupid."

Le Bernardin's Black Bass: 3 stars