You’re going to see Wicked at the Gershwin Theater and you need to know where to eat dinner beforehand? No problem! One of the city’s best, and most-admired, restaurants is a short broom’s ride away.
The Show: It’s the musical backstory of the Wizard of Oz, well before Dorothy blows into town from Kansas, based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Turns out the adored Glinda the Good Witch of the North and brainy, green-skinned Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, were once roommates. Their story about friendship, fitting-in and falling out of favor earned three Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Musical for Idina Menzel as Elphaba, in 2003. The spell-binding soundtrack includes the memorable hits “Defying Gravity” and “Popular.”
The Restaurant: It can be called the Glinda of the restaurant world: 28-year-old Le Bernardin, just a block and a half east of the Gershwin, has been anointed New York City’s “Most Popular” restaurant by the Zagat Survey, as well as earning the honors for Top Food.
What to Eat: Chef Eric Ripert’s menu relies on elegant preparations of fish. If the evening calls for a splurge, go for the tasting menus, either the eight-course Chef’s Tasting ($198) or the seven-course ($155) Le Bernardin Tasting. But the four-course prix fixe ($135) is just as captivating, with jewels from the sea such as thinly shaved geoduck clam with lemon confit, piquillo pepper, baby zucchini and pesto broth, or “ultra rare” smoked sea trout with braised ramps and gribiche sauce.
What Else to Know: This is exactly how popular Le Bernardin is: It is among the best-reviewed restaurants in New York City, including four stars from The New York Times, three Michelin stars, and more James Beard Foundation Awards than any other NYC restaurant. If you’re pressed for time pre-theater, the a la carte menu in the lounge does the trick.