Le Bernardin, which specializes in a French presentation of seafood, is ranked the number one restaurant in NYC by New York Magazine, and number one in America by the reader-reviewers of Zagat. Uploaded by boston.com.
This elegant restaurant, located in midtown Manhattan, is consistently ranked as one of America’s finest restaurants. Since its opening in 1986, it has consistently received raved reviews from the food press – and from satisfied diners.
I’ll admit right off that Le Bernardin is above my pay grade. I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting its gourmet fare, so I’ll let the food and wine press speak to its merits:
Chef Eric Ripert. Uploaded by nytimes.com.
From Gourmet: “There is a reason why Le Bernardin is constantly rated at the top of every New York restaurant poll: It may be the most perfect combination of France and America that can possibly be achieved in a restaurant.”
From New York: “The city is full of ornate restaurants, but none of them manages to exude the glamour and class of Manhattan the way this one does, without any overweening glitz.”
From Zagat: “Everything in (Chef Eric Ripert’s) elegant French seafood-based cuisine – from the bouillabaisse to the raw/almost raw fish and seafood selections, to the extensive wine list and dreamy desserts – conspires to ensure an unforgettable experience.”
From Forbes: Le Bernardin remains the gold standard of seafood restaurants.”
Yes, that is "CLAM BOX" spelled in flowers out front. Photo courtesy of Roadfood.com.
It is shaped like a clam box. As you can imagine, it’s become a landmark in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a quaint town about 30 miles north of Boston. Built over 70 years ago, the Clam Box draws folks from all over the region for its fried feasts, featuring local clams, scallops, and shrimp.
Mmm, fried seafood. Photo uploaded on Flickr by EdKopp4.
But don’t take my word for it. (Actually, you couldn’t, because my personal travels haven’t led me to Ipswich thus far.) Here’s what the undeniable expert in such matters, Roadfood.com, has to say: “The trapezoidal Clam Box is the place to eat the best fried clams on the North Shore; and since the North Shore is home of the best fried clams anywhere, these are the best fried clams in the universe. Get them piled high on a platter along with French fries and onion rings. You’ll get a little tartar sauce for dipping and some wonderful sweet cole slaw.
“But the truly wonderful thing about Clam Box fried clams is how greaseless they seem. They are luscious and crunchy, no doubt about that; but you’ll have no oily fingers after plowing through a plate. Overall: Worth planning a day around.”
Friend and New Englander LysaC recommended the Clam Shack as a Great American Thing. In fact, she wanted all of New England to be considered, and I promise it will. Just not all at once. Patience, Lysa, patience!
Let Coldwell Banker (sorry, the Clam Box spends its time cooking, not making video) show you the town of Ipswich, with a brief visit to the Clam Box.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Captain Scooter.
The American pizza community is basically divided into three camps. First, those who like thin crust pizza (let’s call them the “Smart” pizza lovers). Second those who prefer the deep-dish style (also known as people who don’t understand what pizza is all about). In geographic terms, it’s New York vs. Chicago. The final group is California “pizza”, dough topped with goat cheese, bean sprouts, and other things God never meant on pizza.
Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased on this subject. (You think?) I love a crunchy crust, and nothing is crunchier than a pizza made in a coal-fired brick oven. Patsy’s way.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Home Slice Pizza.
The original Patsy’s is in East Harlem, going strong since 1932. From most places in Manhattan, it’s a longer way to go for a pizza, not as easy as going around the corner. And its atmosphere can best be described as what atmosphere? But it’s worth it for the pizza… Read what Michael Stern of Roadfood.com had to say about it:
It is the simplest pie imaginable, easy to hoist slice by slice, built on a marvelous thin crust with charred spots all along the edge that have the smoky flavor that only a coal oven delivers. Two versions of plain cheese pizza are available: fresh mozzarella, with thin pools of creamy sliced cheese spread out within the microthin layer of tomato sauce, and regular mozzarella on which saltier, slightly oilier shredded cheese is spread evenly all across the surface. They have a very different nature, topping-wise, but they both sport that marvelous wafer-thin charcoaled crust.
This is one of the Great American Things I haven’t personally had the opportunity to try yet. Next trip to NYC, it’ll be a must-do. The only problem is, I may never be able to eat Pizza Hut or Papa John’s again…