You may recall my post No Jacket Required (An Anti Dress-Code Manifesto) in which I argued that restaurants shouldn’t impose a dress code. Subsequent to that post, I took one commenter’s suggestion and reached out to Le Bernardin, one of the restaurants mentioned in the piece, for comment regarding their dress code. I spoke to Mandy Oser, Director of Strategic Partnerships, and she forwarded my questions to Ben Chekroun, Le Bernardin’s long-time maitre d’. Here are his responses:
What is the dress code at Le Bernardin?
Jacket is required and tie is optional.
How is it enforced?
One way is by having available 10 jackets in our coatcheck for those who might arrive without one.
Does the dress code only apply to men or does it also apply to women?
Not exactly in the same way but dress code does apply to women as well.
What is the purpose of the dress code? Do you think it contributes to the overall experience of a meal?
We feel having the dress code contributes to the whole atmosphere of the dining room. If there was no dress code and we permitted people to dine with us in shorts or sleeveless shirts, we would lose the ability to set a limit to what is acceptable or not.
Is it possible to be a four-star restaurant without a dress code?
We don’t think so.
Is the trend shifting to more casual dress?
Absolutely–we believe it has started with the work place, ie. many businesses have casual Friday… and it trickles down.
Will there always be a dress code at Le Bernardin?
Yes, to some extent.
Thanks to Ben and Mandy for taking the time to respond.