Your event venue and location are crucial to the attendee experience. Not only do attendees love to travel to exciting destinations, but they like to experience the local sights, culture, and, of course, cuisine.
With the launch of our new guide, "The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States," we're going to share our interviews with premiere chefs and restaurant teams from the country's most popular meeting and event cities. They'll share what makes their restaurant stand out, how their city influences their flavors, and how they can accommodate events.
155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
Chef: Eric Ripert
This home of famed seafood and French cuisine has ranked No. 1 for eight consecutive years in Zagat's guide to New York City's best restaurants. Below, Chef Eric Ripert shares what inspires La Bernardin's famous menu and makes it unique.
Q: What makes you the proudest about Le Bernardin?
I’m incredibly proud of the team Maguy Le Coze and I have gathered at Le Bernardin. Whether collaborating on a new dish or ensuring an evening in the dining room runs smoothly, our employees are our family, and we all work together with respect and harmony. We have an unbelievably loyal group – many members of our team have been with us for more than 25 years! Warm relationships and overwhelming dedication make it easy for the team to understand and share our vision with every guest who joins us at Le Bernardin.
Q: How is Le Bernardin unique?
The experience is focused on elegance and service centered on adaptability and attentiveness. A meal here is often special because of our team’s ability to subtly understand the type of experience guests are hoping to enjoy.
Whether they’re hosting a business lunch and want minimal interruptions or celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime dinner and want to discuss every element on the plate, we customize the experience for every single table each evening. We strive to balance the more formal aspects of fine dining with an approach that is intimate and friendly, offering little special moments. We wish for every guest to feel like the Le Bernardin experience was tailor-made.
Q: What makes your culinary style unique?
At Le Bernardin, we have a single, focused mantra that guides our culinary style: “Fish is the Star of the Plate.” This simple phrase serves to remind us that every ingredient added to every dish is there to elevate the main component. We encourage our culinary team to play with traditions, techniques and international flavors as long as each additional ingredient pays homage to the seafood.
Q: How do you accommodate groups?
We offer two private dining venues: Les Salons Bernardin, located directly above Le Bernardin’s main dining room, and our newly added Le Bernardin Privé, just steps from the restaurant. Both rooms reflect the understated luxury of our main dining room. They can be subdivided to accommodate a variety of party sizes, configurations and needs.
Our menus are carefully crafted by the Le Bernardin culinary team. Every dish is cooked à la minute to ensure guests enjoy the same quality and creativity synonymous with Le Bernardin. Our largest event was a 275-guest pre-theater reception for a nearby Broadway show. Our dedicated team of private events managers and staff exceeded the expectations of the hosts, with interactive food stations and even activities for the youngest guests.
Q: Where do you get inspiration?
I get inspiration for new dishes from travel, other restaurants, ingredients, people I know … Inspiration is something you cannot control, and you never know when it will hit. It’s also a collaborative process at Le Bernardin. I ask my sous chefs and also impose on myself to take notes whenever we have an idea.
I write ideas down on whatever piece of paper I have nearby. Eventually, I bring all the papers together. Then, I carve out a spot conducive to creativity – calm, quiet, clutter-free.
Sometimes we get lucky, and it only takes us a few days to master the flavors and elements of a new dish, and other times it takes months. Sometimes, an idea sounds really good, and we’re excited to pursue it. But when we try it, we realize it’s not at all what we expected. We don’t rush ourselves. By the time a dish is on the menu, it often carries influences from multiple team members.
Q: Where can we learn more about Le Bernardin?
For guests who may not be able to visit, or for those who would like a window into life here at Le Bernardin and Le Bernardin Privé, we share a lot via our social media channels: @LeBernardinNY and @LeBernardinPrive. Our cookbooks, available on our website, also offer insight into our world and the creativity of our culinary team.
Read more about what to do in New York City and what the top venues are for meetings and events in the city by downloading our free guide below!