Disappointment is what I experienced after a trip to Bern's, and I felt reminded a bit of the children's story the "Emperor's New Clothes." Yes, there is red velvet everywhere, but I found the lack of windows a bit claustrophobic and the way diners were packed in there, it was hard to hear each other at our table. It looked more like mess hall for young recruits, and it is not a good pick for something intimate like a date. As for our server, I felt he was rude to us in a subtle way, as well as to the busgirl. Another thing I noticed was the servers appeared to be men over the age of fifty(not anything wrong with the age, but I didn't see a representation of younger people or women servers).
Now, on to the drinks and food. Yes, Bern's has a humongous wine list, but a smaller and more select wine list, especially for the wines by the glass, might be in order. We tried two different reds and two different whites from France, which were nice, except I could not tell the difference in serving temperature between the red and white(the whites were both served at room temperature). We started off with caviar and an order of potato blinis, which was nice. Next, we tried the french onion soup and the lobster bisque, both of which were nice, but nothing exceptional. Then, we tried the salad which had a lot of different vegetables and that was good, but unless you are wild about salad, why not save room for the main course because that salad was almost a meal in itself. Finally, the entrees arrived. First, there was the porterhouse steak which is served with steakhouse onion rings, vegetables, and a baked potato with fixings. The steak was fine, but not the out of this world steak experience that I was expecting. The onion rings tasted fine, but I would not suggest more than a taste because they were rich and made to kill the appetite when eating steak. The presentation of the food was blah, which I don't mind if the food can stand by itself, but nothing was exceptional. Wanting to see how Bern's non-steak entrees stood up, I also tried the charcoal grilled wild salmon and the yellowtail snapper a la plancha. Of the two fish dishes, I preferred the salmon and felt the snapper was boring.
Finally, the dessert, which deserves its own paragraph because this was my favorite part of Bern's. Each dining party is given their own little room with a table in the dessert room upstairs. There, you can experience the intimacy missing in the downstairs dining rooms. Order your favorite after dinner drink and pick a dessert from their large dessert menu. We ordered the macadamia nut sundae, for which they are famous, and the chocolate cake Jones. Both desserts were very good, and if I could have skipped the whole downstairs dining experience and just came for dessert, that would have suited me fine. All in all, try Bern's once to see how you feel about this landmark steakhouse, but it would not be a place I would go for a special or intimate event.
1208 South Howard Avenue
Hyde Park, FL 33606