Bern's as solo diner [with update]

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Nick Gangas
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Bern's as solo diner [with update]

#51 Post by Nick Gangas » February 25th, 2018, 7:57 am

François Audouze wrote:I am not sure that Brad is still there in the restaurant, because on my blog I had put a photo of Brad which was through a link to their website and this picture cannot be seen on my blog. Have you information about the presence of Brad in the restaurant?
I was there in August and Brad took great care of us. I also recently saw a pic here of Berns and Brad was serving them.

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#52 Post by Neal.Mollen » February 25th, 2018, 8:56 am

c fu wrote:
S. Stevenson wrote:Anyone who thinks their home cooked steaks are better than any restaurants they've been to, haven't been to the right restaurants...
Or you’re just not very good at cooking steaks at home ;)
Ha! Agreed
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#53 Post by M. Chacchia » February 25th, 2018, 3:13 pm

François Audouze wrote:Image

I use them from left to right :
- a knife to cut the capsule (I have two in order to make one sharper by using the other to sharpen it)
- the normal corkscrew of sommeliers, just to lift the cork by 5 millimeters (useful as many corks stick to the glass)
- then the super tools which help to lift the cork. I have two because if I lift only a torn cork, the other is ready to continue
- then the small tools to lift what sticks to the glass. I have two because if one is dirty I use the second
- I try to never use the spoon, which is there to lift the pieces which would have fallen in the wine. And I am proud that it happens very rarely, even for the Hermitage 1938 whose cork arrived this way :

Image

nothing fell in the wine !
You, indeed, are the man. Love it.
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#54 Post by mdavis » February 25th, 2018, 4:43 pm

Robert M yers wrote:Wouldn’t a Durand help?
My thoughts exactly. I have good success with mine.


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#55 Post by François Audouze » February 26th, 2018, 4:22 am

Durand is really a good tool, but it hurts the cork and as I keep the nice corks I try not to use it.

http://www.academiedesvinsanciens.org/u ... lle-video/
see the corks on this short video.
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#56 Post by Brandon R » February 26th, 2018, 1:04 pm

S. Stevenson wrote:Anyone who thinks their home cooked steaks are better than any restaurants they've been to, haven't been to the right restaurants...
I hope you're joking. I've been to quite a few top steak houses in this country and, with an amazing piece of aged meat from Flannery, I can cook one every bit as good or very close at home. I also know I'm not alone in this on these boards!
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#57 Post by Peter Chiu » February 27th, 2018, 5:34 am

Brandon R wrote:
S. Stevenson wrote:Anyone who thinks their home cooked steaks are better than any restaurants they've been to, haven't been to the right restaurants...
I hope you're joking. I've been to quite a few top steak houses in this country and, with an amazing piece of aged meat from Flannery, I can cook one every bit as good or very close at home. I also know I'm not alone in this on these boards!

Yes you are not alone ....+ 1. [cheers.gif]

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#58 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » February 27th, 2018, 12:10 pm

not me

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#59 Post by Dave McCloskey » February 27th, 2018, 1:00 pm

RyanC wrote:
K John Joseph wrote:
RyanC wrote:And the steak, while tasty, was nothing special. I had a 14oz ribeye, which was huge and seemingly much larger than 14oz (or other places are short-changing me). It was good but not nearly as good as I do at home routinely with a Whole Foods prime ribeye on the big green egg/cast iron. I guess that's the reality of ordering steak and why I rarely do it--but I didn't find the Bern's steak on the same level as other great steaks I've had at places that really focus on aging/marbling/etc. May also be a product of serving 1,000 covers a night.
I'm with you. I almost never order steak of any sort at restaurants, though one must order steak at a steakhouse. I think we're Texas spoiled. Prime beef and steakhouses here are as good or better, wagyu et al. aside, than anywhere else I've ever been.
Agree. Exhibit A: this $14.99/lb dry aged ribeye I picked up from Whole Foods last week. Cooked slow on the BGE followed by a cast iron sear, it was leaps and bounds better than just about any steakhouse steak I've ever had:

[resizeableimage=450,600]https://image.ibb.co/cCnCAx/IMG_2223.jpg[/resizeableimage]
You've touched on why I rarely go to steakhouses anymore and when I do my order drifts towards a Veal chop or rack of lamb. Last weekend I went to Sprouts and bought two beautifully marbled Ribeye's I cooked on a Kamado Joe. Few steakhouses could compete.

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#60 Post by Bret D!sk!n » February 28th, 2018, 7:54 am

I'm going to be driving through Tampa on a Saturday towards the end of March. Unfortunately, no reservations until 11pm on the day we are looking at. If we show up right at 5 do we have a good chance of getting a spot at the bar or getting a table? Would love to try some of their offerings but need to temper expectations with the Mrs.!

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#61 Post by R M Kriete » February 28th, 2018, 10:55 am

Bret D!sk!n wrote:I'm going to be driving through Tampa on a Saturday towards the end of March. Unfortunately, no reservations until 11pm on the day we are looking at. If we show up right at 5 do we have a good chance of getting a spot at the bar or getting a table? Would love to try some of their offerings but need to temper expectations with the Mrs.!
If you get there RIGHT as it opens, should be able to get 2 spots at the bar w/o a problem

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#62 Post by H Wallace Jr » February 28th, 2018, 1:09 pm

Bret D!sk!n wrote:I'm going to be driving through Tampa on a Saturday towards the end of March. Unfortunately, no reservations until 11pm on the day we are looking at. If we show up right at 5 do we have a good chance of getting a spot at the bar or getting a table? Would love to try some of their offerings but need to temper expectations with the Mrs.!
In the bar area, they have 6-7(?) tables at the back. Those are available for walk ins. If you want a table vs the bar, I'd get there at 4:45 and you should be fine.
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#63 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » February 28th, 2018, 1:12 pm

Yup, get there at 4:45. Valet won’t take your car until 5, so find some street parking.

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#64 Post by Bret D!sk!n » February 28th, 2018, 2:03 pm

Thank you RM, Hardy and Robert - appreciate the advice!

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#65 Post by Tom Gutting » March 1st, 2018, 7:32 am

Great report, Ryan! I've been to Bern's solo once, and it was a treat. BTG was a great deal. I'll never forget having a 1978 Zellerbach Sonoma Cab for $6 that came out, and I swore it had to be the wrong wine, it was so dark in color. Great fun.

Concur there is still a lot on that list that would be fun to drink. Let's plan a trip.
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#66 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » March 1st, 2018, 9:29 am

"Wrong wine"...LOL.....

I like Bern's...wine and food and have been there many times since 1981. It is important to keep in mind, I think, that one's expectations about how a wine or wines should "show" need to be discarded at Bern's door. The temps they keep their cellars are refrigerator levels, not levels supportive of allowing wines to develop "normally". In essence, Bern's wines are often more "preserved" than "mature", IMO. Fun to drink; interesting labels, but....unique "maturity" levels due to the super-cold cellar temps.

Hard, therefore, to extrapolate much from the Bern's experience, though it is surely fun...and the food, IMO, is good, too.

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#67 Post by François Audouze » March 2nd, 2018, 5:24 am

Stuart,
What you say does not correspond to what I saw. Not about temperature which I found cold but not so low, but about conservation.
I was impressed by the fact that for very old wines (before 1920) many bottles had low levels.
It explains why Brad selected 50 bottles in order that I choose five or six for the dinner.
I would say that between 40% to 50% had very low levels. And some wines had bad colors.
When I compare to my own cellar, with a greater temperature, my wines are better preserved.

It must be said to be exact that Bern's has such a big amount of sales that all the super bottles of the super years have been consumed.
So the ratio of good bottles could be better for Bern's if we consider that the greatest are already gone.
Bern's has more very old wines than I have but I have more old wines from legendary years like 1928, 1929, 1915, 1900. All of them are gone in Bern's and not in my cellar.

So my point is to say that a cold cellar does not mean necessarily perfect conservation.
Kind regards

François Audouze

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#68 Post by Paul Jaouen » March 2nd, 2018, 5:41 am

I think it is a myth that Berns keeps their cellars super cold. The storage cellars across the street are not that cold. I've spent time there maybe an hour at a time in just a shirt and was comfortable. If they were at refrigerator levels like Stuart claims then I would have been pretty damn cold.
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#69 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 2nd, 2018, 6:01 am

I have always heard that the cellar was kept colder than what we all perceive to be the ideal, say 55-57. I do not know that for a fact. What I have always thought, however, is that many Bordeaux show younger than they are. The most poignant example to me was a 1961 Pavie that resembled more the richness of an 82 and how 82 are drinking now and have been for a few years. Would have never guessed it was a 50+ year old wine. And that was in a 375 format. I’ve had other wines with similar experiences there.

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#70 Post by Paul Jaouen » March 2nd, 2018, 6:07 am

Robert, agreed but not refrigerator temps. That would be below 40 degrees.
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#71 Post by D Zurcher » March 2nd, 2018, 8:14 am

S. Stevenson wrote:Anyone who thinks their home cooked steaks are better than any restaurants they've been to, haven't been to the right restaurants...
Maybe, but the last time I was in a restaurant with a steak that looked like this they wanted to charge over $20 per ounce [wow.gif] . A little salt and pepper, quick sear over a hot charcoal grill-I'll put these up against most any restaurant, anywhere-and no corkage fee here! :)
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#72 Post by James Cross » March 2nd, 2018, 8:32 am

Hey Dan, great to see your posts. Are you still in Colorado? Every so often someone here in Vegas asks about you and I tell them I'm clueless.

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#73 Post by D Zurcher » March 2nd, 2018, 8:34 am

James Cross wrote:Hey Dan, great to see your posts. Are you still in Colorado? Every so often someone here in Vegas asks about you and I tell them I'm clueless.
Hey Jim....yeah, been here for about 15 years now. I see your posts from time to time as well...reminds of the good wines (you brought an amazing '82 Prieure Lichine one night) and meals back in LV. Every now and then we threaten to move back, but Lisa loves it here.
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#74 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » March 2nd, 2018, 1:06 pm

François Audouze wrote:Stuart,
What you say does not correspond to what I saw. Not about temperature which I found cold but not so low, but about conservation.
I was impressed by the fact that for very old wines (before 1920) many bottles had low levels.
It explains why Brad selected 50 bottles in order that I choose five or six for the dinner.
I would say that between 40% to 50% had very low levels. And some wines had bad colors.
When I compare to my own cellar, with a greater temperature, my wines are better preserved.

It must be said to be exact that Bern's has such a big amount of sales that all the super bottles of the super years have been consumed.
So the ratio of good bottles could be better for Bern's if we consider that the greatest are already gone.
Bern's has more very old wines than I have but I have more old wines from legendary years like 1928, 1929, 1915, 1900. All of them are gone in Bern's and not in my cellar.

So my point is to say that a cold cellar does not mean necessarily perfect conservation.
I see your point, Francois. But, if Bern's was founded in 1952 or in that era....all those ancient wines were somewhere else for their first 20+ years.

I didn't say "perfect conservation", just preserved and differently. I've had many 1983 red Burgs there over the years...and they tastle little like they do on the outside.Good, but...very different.

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#75 Post by François Audouze » March 2nd, 2018, 2:32 pm

I have the same feeling as Paul.
I have spent more than one hour opening wines in the cellar of the restaurant and I was not cold.
Image

Image

Some pictures of their cold room for meat where they mature (colors could be approximative) :

Image

Image

Image

Image
Kind regards

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#76 Post by Eric Ifune » March 2nd, 2018, 3:01 pm

I love pictures of meat aging almost as much as wine!

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#77 Post by Steve Gautier » March 31st, 2018, 11:12 am

Fred C wrote:
H Wallace Jr wrote: I am a defender of Bern's food. I love the simplicity / retro, no frills, + value. You get (IMHO) an excellent, straightforward piece of meat simply prepared (that allows the wine to shine) soup, salad, and 2 sides, for the cost of less than a steak at corporate steak house and without being ridiculously over seasoned
+1. Most places will be charging you an extra $8-15 per soup, salad, side. Food is rarely more than $50pp here and you eat well.

Value aside, that chateaubriand is straight up really good and once they surprised us with a delicious side of pan roasted chanterelles (no extra charge) that would have been a $30+ supplement anywhere else.
We ate at Bern's earlier in the month. What an experience. The evening is certainly not only about the food or wine. Interesting place, fantastic kitchen tour and a long cellar tour (our interest and conversation extended this for some time). The bar, dining rooms and dessert booths are a throwback in time.

I had the Chateaubriand (thanks to the comments here) and thought it was wonderful. Agree with above comments that the additions of soup, salad and sides also made it a "reasonable" price especially considering the level of overall service from the front of the house to our waiter. The one negative was that one person in our party ordered a smaller delmonico which they served butterflied without asking. I had some and thought it was OK at best.

Wine, from a '75 Zin by the glass to a '85 Bourdeaux (375 ml) and a '85 Napa Cab, all seemed to show much younger than I expected.

Would certainly recommend to anyone who hasn't been there and I am sure I will get back again sometime.
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#78 Post by Paul Jaouen » April 2nd, 2018, 6:15 am

I was there with friends last month. I really wish we could have cloned all the bottles we drank in the past. Still the Somm found us a few nice bottles and we had a good time.
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#79 Post by S. Stevenson » April 2nd, 2018, 4:09 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
c fu wrote:
S. Stevenson wrote:Anyone who thinks their home cooked steaks are better than any restaurants they've been to, haven't been to the right restaurants...
Or you’re just not very good at cooking steaks at home ;)
Ha! Agreed
Try the Japanese Pure Wagyu | Hokkaido Prefecture at Cut in Beverly Hills and get back to me.
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#80 Post by c fu » April 2nd, 2018, 5:00 pm

S. Stevenson wrote:
Neal.Mollen wrote:
c fu wrote: Or you’re just not very good at cooking steaks at home ;)
Ha! Agreed
Try the Japanese Pure Wagyu | Hokkaido Prefecture at Cut in Beverly Hills and get back to me.
I’ve done the full wagyu tasting at Cut for work events.
I get A-5 wagyu at wholesale also

So I don’t actually need Cut to make it cause I make it just as well as they do.
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#81 Post by p. raghib » April 3rd, 2018, 10:44 am

François Audouze wrote:I am not sure that Brad is still there in the restaurant, because on my blog I had put a photo of Brad which was through a link to their website and this picture cannot be seen on my blog. Have you information about the presence of Brad in the restaurant?
cheers'

-paul r.

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#82 Post by p. raghib » April 3rd, 2018, 10:45 am

Brad is still at berns and doing well. I am going tonight
cheers'

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#83 Post by S. Stevenson » April 3rd, 2018, 10:26 pm

Try the Japanese Pure Wagyu | Hokkaido Prefecture at Cut in Beverly Hills and get back to me.
I’ve done the full wagyu tasting at Cut for work events.
I get A-5 wagyu at wholesale also
So I don’t actually need Cut to make it cause I make it just as well as they do.
Good for you. I trust Cut instead. Tough choice(sic).
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#84 Post by Brian Tuite » April 4th, 2018, 6:37 am

S. Stevenson wrote:
Try the Japanese Pure Wagyu | Hokkaido Prefecture at Cut in Beverly Hills and get back to me.
I’ve done the full wagyu tasting at Cut for work events.
I get A-5 wagyu at wholesale also
So I don’t actually need Cut to make it cause I make it just as well as they do.
Good for you. I trust Cut instead. Tough choice(sic).
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#85 Post by Craig G » April 4th, 2018, 10:50 am

Brian in rare form. Well done.
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#86 Post by c fu » April 4th, 2018, 10:51 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
S. Stevenson wrote:
Try the Japanese Pure Wagyu | Hokkaido Prefecture at Cut in Beverly Hills and get back to me.
I’ve done the full wagyu tasting at Cut for work events.
I get A-5 wagyu at wholesale also
So I don’t actually need Cut to make it cause I make it just as well as they do.
Good for you. I trust Cut instead. Tough choice(sic).
Damn. Probably the wrong picture to post? Time to check that privilege.
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