Remember Marilyn Hagerty, the 85-year-old restaurant critic who gave the Grand Forks, North Dakota Olive Garden a glowing review and became a viral sensation? Well, Anderson Cooper was so taken with Marilyn that he invited her on a three-day dining tour through New York City. And the crowning achievement of her stay in the Big Apple was not her charming review of Crown Restaurant (though that was, of course, adorable). No, it was dinner at the fabulously posh and renowned Le Bernardin.
And I'm sure you're all dying to hear what Marilyn thought of the revered dining establishment, aren't you? How did it compare with Olive Garden? Were there unlimited bread sticks? What delicious, folksy yuck-yucks does Marilyn dish up in her review?
Here are our favorite quotes from Marilyn's review.
There Will Be Bread: No bread sticks at Le Bernardin, but "waiters were on hand with a variety of breads." Even better!
What's Next, Seating Us Next to the Restroom? "We were surprised when Eric Ripert, owner of Le Bernardin, invited us into the kitchen. Usually when I visit restaurants, there is no effort to show off the kitchen." Eric, honey, this simply isn't done in South Dakota. Didn't you know?
Marilyn's Shut-Up-and-Eat Moment: Marilyn enjoyed the Thursday night chef's menu, which included an octopus dish. "Ryan said he had never eaten it before. I nodded and said, 'Neither have I. Dig in.'"
Purse Perk: "We noticed small, little tables where women can place their purses. No need to sit there wrestling with a bag all evening." Okay, that's genius. Every restaurant needs those!
Marilyn Crushes Hard on the Sommelier: She dedicates two paragraphs to the man. "The sommelier, Aldo Sohm, stayed with us, describing in a delightful witty way of how he paired each course with the right wine." And then, "Sohm really made the meal an enjoyable adventure. He has been voted Best Sommelier in America -- and indeed the World. He is witty and wise about wines and explained how each wine blends with the food." She left out the part where Ryan surreptitiously stabs Sohm in the thigh with his fork under the table.
Sigh ... the witty Mr. Sohm
Time to Drool Over Dessert: "The final course was called chocolate peanut. This was a Madagascan chocolate ganache, peanut mousse, and salted caramel ice cream. Each was bite-size -- a medley of wonderful tastes. When the salted caramel ice cream drooped a little, the waiter took it out and replaced it." I'll take two, please. Send my bill to Anderson.
Classic Midwestern Understatement: "There are not many minuses at Le Bernardin."
And, on the other end of the dining scale, Marilyn tells us about her favorite $2.99 truck stop breakfast.
What did you think of Marilyn's experience at Le Bernardin?