If New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells flies in the face of popular sentiment with his low reviews (one star for the Shake Shack?), he's embraced convention with his first four-star review, awarding the paper' top rating to Eric Ripert's already lauded Le Bernardin. It's probably the safest bet Wells could have made for his inaugural addition to the four-star list, but it's still worth a read, if only for a reminder of what longstanding restaurant perfection means.
As we pointed out in October, Le Bernardin was due for a revisit, having languished on the four-star list since Frank Bruni's visit in 2005 and reopened after a remodel last fall. And in reviews much more recent than Bruni's it's consistently gotten top honors, including a three-star rating from Michelin and no. 2 on Alan Richman's 2012 GQ list of New York's top restaurants. Ripert got his first four-star review from Bryan Miller in 1986, so the restaurant's quality is sort of beyond question.
Nobody is even a little bit surprised by Wells's choice, including us. CNN Eatocracy editor Kat Kinsman tweeted that she was "not shocked in the slightest" about the review, Eater editor Greg Morabito said it was "no surprise," and even Wells himself treated it like an inevitability: "Why wait to say it: today I fall in line, happily, with my predecessors." So just in case you thought you could get a reservation soon, it's time to make a plan B.