Bern's as solo diner [with update]

Glad you had a good visit Ryan - '64 Jaboulet? . I agree with Hardy re: the food - I kinda dug it.

I dig the food, too. The Chateaubriand is their speciality.

+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.

The value is indeed remarkable. I had two glasses of 1970s reds, a .375 of '64 Cote Rotie, a huge prime, dry-aged steak (with two apps and two sides included), and all-in it was less than $200 including tax and tip.

Maybe I should have ordered the Chateaubriand. Regardless, it was great fun and I hope to return (with a reservation) sooner rather than later. As unique of a restaurant as exists in America.

The Chateaubriand is what we ordered the one time I’ve been. There were three of us and we shared 22 or 24 ounces. Very yummy.

I plan on ordering that again when I return this May.

This is timely, I’ll be there next week. I was thinking veal chop but maybe it’s Chateaubriand time.

Matt - we need to plan another weekend visit!

I visited for the first time last week. First a family dinner, with wine service by Brad who was a treat. Started with foie gras (both preparations were very nice), and 1978 Raymond Lafon BTG ($12/glass, nice but not complex). Then tried the '75 souverain which I found a tad rasin-y and port-like. The Rhone BTG when I was there was an '82 Cotes Du Rhone which eventually opened up and to be lovely for it’s modest pricetag ($9.70).

Of course we had an old bordeaux with our mains, and I completely agree that the food was nice, even a good match for the wine but ultimately unremarkable. Having said that I don’t think I’d have it any other way. This way you can focus on the wine.

Finished in the dessert room with some BTG '70s port, a '76 Mosel Riesling, and younger Royal Tokaji. Quite a nice experience.

The second night I went solo. I ordered the 375 of '62 Delas Hermitage that’s been discussed on here a few times. I’m convinced they don’t have (m)any good bottles of this left. I like old wine but IMO mine was shot. Madeira nose. I managed to send it back. Later that night someone down the bar had ordered it as well. I asked how it was and they shrugged and handed me their glass. I smelled it. Same.

After that I settled on a 750 '79 Guigal Cotes du Rhone, which was nice, but IMO the '82 Cotes du Rhone BTG I had earlier in the week was better and way cheaper. Drank some but not all, stuck the cork back in, then moved on.

Had a 375 of Morey St Denis from J. Thorin ($59), which held up nicely, but didn’t have much in the way of complexity. Mellow, mature and fruit in tact. Then over to a 375 '64 Fixin 1er from Jehan Joliet ($47). Amazing that it had such punchy vibrant red fruit, but not a ton of complexity.

All in all a great experience. Though I can’t help but wonder if the somm I was working with on my solo night couldn’t have steered me in a better direction now that I see this Jaboulet was pulled. After he smelled my '62 Delas, he said all of the 375 60’s Cote Roties were getting tired like that. I found this quite surprising given the reputation here and elsewhere. He did work to find me a couple mature 375 burgs at nice prices so I suppose I can’t complain too much.

I have had two dinners in Bern’s and the idea was to drink old wines.

In the first dinner we drank : Clos Vougeot Meunier 1918 - Château Langoa-Barton 1893 - Château Durfort 1895.

In the second dinner we drank : Château Léoville-Poyferré 1909 - Château Palmer 1910 - Château Lagrange 1914 - Château Brane-Cantenac 1887 - Château Mouton-Rothschild 1907 - Château Haut-Bailly 1913

I know no place where you could order such wines for prices which I found extremely affordable for what we had.

And in which restaurant would I be allowed to go and choose by myself the wines to drink after a preselection made by Brad of nearly 50 bottles of wines corresponding to my wishes?

And even more Brad allowed me to open the wines in the cellar and he was the one who handled a light in order that I can work properly!

here is my daughter, me and Brad

The first time Brad accepted that I opened the wines in the restaurant!

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?

Francois , does the Tour d’Argent not have a similar impressive wine list ?
Thank you

The two cellars are great with a big difference on prices.
I would never have been able to drink the wines I had in Bern’s if they were available in Tour d’Argent.

The old wines in Bern’s have been devastated because the prices were cheap. Tour d’Argent has still more vey old wines.

Both cellars are spectacular.

Tour d’Argent will also raise the price for every certain number of bottles sold. I had the price raised on me within 24 hours just 2 weeks ago!

The son of Claude Terrail has completely changed the price policy.
It is sad.

it’s tough to blame them for raising prices on wines that they purchased and held for as long as they do. From what I understand, diners are still getting incredible deals on wines compared to current auction prices. and I think it’s okay for the restaurant to make money on these as well, don’t you?

I do not recommend the chateaubriand for one as it is a large steak and you will be taking it home from Bern’s. For 3, it was just perfect. And we had some amazing wines including Taittinger ‘Comtes de Champagne’ Blanc de Blancs Brut 2002, Léoville Las Cases 1978, and finished up with a Taylor Fladgate Vintage port 1963. Great meal and wines in December 2017.

Anyone who thinks their home cooked steaks are better than any restaurants they’ve been to, haven’t been to the right restaurants…

Damn I just flew into and out of Tampa on a golf trip a few weeks back and didn’t know about this place. Does anybody have rec’s for similar-ish places in NJ/NY/Connecticut (particularly with the big and well-curated by the glass and 375 menus)?

I’ve found the quality of restaurant steaks to be as variable as Burgundy. You pay a lot and it may be transcendent, or just ho-hum! On steak, I discovered the Rib Cap in the not too distant past and if ever I can find that on a restaurant menu, and the chef knows what he’s doing, oh boy.

Or you’re just not very good at cooking steaks at home :wink:

How many places on this planet do you tell a Somm you’ve never met before that you’re willing to spend up to $300 on a split and they bring you a great bottle for $90. That’s impressive.