Near MOMA, PLAZA and Rockefeller Center

Le Bernardin

The table service at this great midtown seafood palace rivals any of the grand old dowager restaurants of Europe. You won’t find a broader, more impeccably tuned range of seafood textures and flavors, either, or a more impressive range of technique emanating from the kitchen in everything from the baking of the small, toasty predinner baguettes to the work of the legions of sauciers to the legendary butcher, Justo Thomas, who breaks down a veritable rainbow of fresh fish in the basement for 12 hours a day. Unlike many of its multi-star competitors in town, whose tables are increasingly crowded with gastronauts jetting in for the evening from far-off places like Beijing and Dubai, Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert’s cultivated midtown establishment also remains, after all these years, a uniquely New York (okay, Manhattan) institution, one filled with regulars who return for their power lunches, pretheater dinners, and special occasions again and again. The great restaurant is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, so save up your dollars, dial up that wealthy out-of-town aunt out in Winnetka, or badger your increasingly tightfisted editor or boss for one last nostalgic, expense-account visit, because when Mme Le Coze and chef Ripert do finally decide to close the doors of their grand, old-fashioned, impeccably refined restaurant for good, you won’t see another one like it in the city ever again. — Adam Platt

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New York Lexikon