Eric Ripert Planning Le Bernardin Expansion

The New York Post reports that the chef is planning a wine bar and a private dining room

Eric Ripert might not be opening any more restaurants, but he has planned an expansion of his seafood mecca Le Bernardin.

The New York Post reports that chef-owner Ripert and partner Maguy Le Coze have taken over two floors in the Equitable Center, where Le Bernardin now resides.

The plan: A wine bar on the ground floor called Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, and a private dining room on the second floor, called Bernardin Privé. Both are reportedly slated to open early next year. This will be Le Bernardin's first expansion since its opening 27 years ago, although it just recently redesigned the main dining room in 2011 and added a lounge area.

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar will be run by its namesake sommelier (although he will still be on the floor at the main dining room). It will only have a 200-bottle wine list (compared to the main room's 900-bottle list), plus a light menu and a limited selection of beer and spirits, all of which Ripert says will be "reasonably priced."

Bernardin Privé, in the meantime, will be a private dining area that can accommodate 200 guests, compared to Le Bernardin's previous private room which could only house 80 diners. “We feel we will have an edge for things like banquets because we can cook à la minute," Ripert told The New York Times.

These two projects are taking over spaces that were originally Palio and Piano Due; the 11,500 additional square feet might be the only expansion in a while. "We see this project as the completion of Le Bernardin," Ripert told The Times.

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