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Le Bernardin Cookbook: Four-Star Simplicity [Hardcover]

Eric Ripert , Maguy Le Coze
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1998
Le Bernardin, New York's only four-star seafood restaurant, is renowned not only for its impeccable cuisine but also for its understated elegance. Now the Le Bernardin experience is made accessible to everyone in more than 100 meticulously formulated and carefully tested recipes for all courses, from appetizers through dessert.

The food served in Le Bernardin's beautiful dining room is as subtle and refined as any in the world, and because fish and shellfish are often best turned out quickly and simply, the recipes in this book can be reproduced by any home cook.

Maguy Le Coze traces the origins of Le Bernardin's "simplicity" to her late brother, Gilbert, the restaurant's legendary cofounder and first chef: "Gilbert was not a classically trained chef," she says. "He had never been to culinary school. When he cooked, he made things he liked, and things he knew. He focused on the quality and freshness of the fish. He made nages and vinaigrettes because he'd never made a hollandaise or a béarnaise. He focused on flavors that were delicate, subtle, herb-infused."

Today, Chef Eric Ripert carries on that tradition with dishes such as Poached Halibut on Marinated Vegetables, Pan-Roasted Grouper with Wild Mushrooms and Artichokes, and Grilled Salmon with Mushroom Vinaigrette. And, of course, there are the desserts for which Le Bernardin is also so well known--from Chocolate Millefeuille to Honeyed Pear and Almond Cream Tarts.

Essential to the experience of dining at Le Bernardin and to the Le Bernardin Cookbook are the dynamic and charming personalities of Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert, whose lively dialogue and colorful anecdotes shine from these pages as brightly as the recipes themselves.

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From Amazon

At Le Bernardin, seafood is always the star. From the day this posh restaurant opened in New York City, it was recognized for revolutionizing the way fish was prepared. Chef-owner Gilbert Le Coze and his sister, Maguy, quickly gained an exalted four-star rating for their original, impeccable, exquisite food, which you can now reproduce at home using their recipes.

Le Coze avoided using classic sauces because, lacking professional training, he did not know how to make them. Instead, he created Carpaccio of Tuna, a kind of paper-thin sashimi on a plate, Baked Sea Urchins, and Roast Monkfish on a Bed of Sautéed Savory Cabbage with Bacon, a dish that is both rustic and rich. When Gilbert died in 1994, at just 48, his chef de cuisine, Eric Ripert, stepped in and has continued to dazzle with his own fish dishes. Ripert, who had a classical chef's training, is especially innovative in his Poached Lobster in Lemongrass-Ginger Bouillon. If following three pages of meticulously clear instructions for handling the lobsters, puréeing their coral, and much more is not for you, try the salmon fillets served in a magically cream-free but creamy lemon sauce, the Roast Cod Niçoise flavored with basil, capers, and black olives, or the saffron-and-orange-perfumed Fish Soup.

Le Bernardin's desserts are famous, too. A reasonably competent cook can create ecstasy with the Bitter Chocolate Soufflé Cake, lavish with dark chocolate, butter, eggs, and just one tablespoon of flour.

If you read mostly cookbooks, the spirited dialogue between Ripert and Maguy, their anecdotes of culinary adventures, and characteristically Gallic commentary may divert you. Typically, Maguy says, "My favorite way to eat calamari is with a nice green salad. How American!" Seems the French only ate a lettuce salad with meats until nouvelle cuisine came along in the 1970s, and Maguy still considers it an aberration with seafood. Just as her taste has changed, this book may open you to new experiences with seafood. --Dana Jacobi

From Publishers Weekly

The first cookbook from Le Coze (owner) and Ripert (executive chef) of Le Bernardin, New York City's only four-star seafood restaurant, may spark the frustration of readers who have had difficulty getting a reservation at this culinary landmark. Such an appetizer such as Poached Baby Lobster on Asparagus and Cepe Risotto or entree like Pepper and Fennel-Crusted Salmon with Shallot-Madeira Sauce and Truffle-Scented Polenta promise a nirvana-like experience that will be hard to replicate at home (despite the collection's subtitle). This is four-star restaurant fare prepared by a master (and staff), requiring of home cooks a source of ultra-fresh seafood, deftness in esthetic presentation and considerable patience. There are some widely useful tips?capitalize on fresh herbs; use top-quality ingredients?and some recipes are indeed simple, e.g., Salmon Baked with Tomato and Mint; Broiled Shrimp with Garlic Butter; and Coffee Creme are within reach of anyone. But many recipes will challenge adventurous chefs. Baked Sea Urchins require nerve and dexterity. Salmon and Black Truffle Strudels aren't even attempted at the restaurant when it's busy, says Le Coze, and Ripert admits it took him two weeks to master Lobster with Coral Sauce, Asparagus, and Mushrooms. With an introduction recalling the restaurant's history, opened by Le Coze with her late brother Gilbert, this volume illustrates the best that a restaurant cookbook can offer, as well as the drawbacks.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four-Star Simplicity with Seafood Dec 4 2002
I'm really into seafood, and this is the cookbook for that genre.
The sophistication of taste and presentation is the ultimate maxization of the fresh seafood.
One is impressed instantly upon perviewing the recipes and trying them of the intense experience this chef has had with the ingredients and prep techniques.
Four-star chefbooks are typically intimidating due to all the ingredients and steps, but here it's minimal, yet turns out utmost in culinary heights.
Try these, they'll be knockout dishes! Pan-Roasted Grouper with Wild Mushrooms and Artichokes (served with unbelievable pork jus); Roast Monkfish on Savoy Cabbage and Bacon-Butter Sauce; Black Bass in Cabbage Packages with Purple Mustard Sauce; Yellowtail Snapper with Garden Vegetables.
Accompaniments are worth paper as well, with monster dinner dessert of "Earl Grey Tea and Mint Soup with Assorted Fruit;Gruyere and Potato Cakes.
Tough one to match in my extensive collection!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great food, surprisingly achievable Sept. 11 2003
By A Customer
Unlike some other reviewers, I've always found Le Bernardin and its staff to be very warm and accommodating. That feeling comes through in the text and personal reminiscences included in this book.
The big surprise for me was how very well written the recipes are. Although there is plenty here for the over-achieving home chef, well over half of the recipes can accommodate a harried schedule and/or moderate talents in the kitchen. If you scan through the book and follow Le Bernardin's three-course format, you can put together an unbelievably elegant dinner in a reasonable amount of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book, Beautiful Fish Nov. 2 1999
By A Customer
Unlike many chef and restaurant books, the recipes here are lucidly written and easy to follow. Although some demand considerable technique, the techniques are well-explained. The book is nicely illustrated, with nice first person anecdotes and recipe commentary. Anyone who has ever been to Le Bernadin will appreciate the book's elegant flavor and feel. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The fish master June 1 2000
I've eaten at Le Bernardin a couple of times and although I occasionally felt overwhelmed by the NYC high-powered patrons, I always left the table impressed and glad to pay the high pricetag. Meals there are tremendous. I was afraid I might be intimidated by this book but was pleasantly surprized. Not only was the book beautiful in presentation, layout and illustration, but the introductions, recipes and ingredients were very useable, easy to execute and a gastronomic success when I tried them. This is a book for every cookbook library.
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