Per Se – French – Columbus Circle
March 18th, 2011 by plumpdumpling

Proving I like seafood enough to make a trip to Per Se worthwhile has been my goal for a couple of years now. I’ve made an effort to eat every oyster, every bit of fish roe, and every octopus mosaic my boyfriend, Kamran, has offered me in the hope that I could weasel the tasting menu out of him. So when he finally relented, it felt like a real victory for me. Even if he really just wanted to reward himself for finishing the New York bar exam.

Getting a reservation at Per Se is quite a complicated maneuver, at least in our experience. We watched OpenTable for weeks and never saw a Friday or Saturday night free, and calling the restaurant was always fruitless, too, but they’re very quick to offer to put you on the waiting list for a stretch of three nights. Starting a week ahead of time, you can also check OpenTable for weeknight availability. I put us on the waitlist for a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and did get a call about a Sunday spot early in the week, but we saw a Thursday night on OpenTable and took that instead so we wouldn’t be drunk on food and wine for Monday.

And all of the work was definitely worth it. Here’s the chef’s tasting menu in all of its having-to-wait-for-it-makes-it-even-better glory:

Per Se NY
Gruyere cheese gougeres

I’m a lover of choux (especially its pronunciation), and this half-a-bite of pastry stuffed with cheese was an excellent indication of what was to come. It tasted exactly like a Nips cracker! But didn’t leave the nasty soggy bits clinging to my teeth.

Per Se NY
salmon cornettes, chives

Biting into this was like eating a fishy potato chip. With chive!

At this point, our server brought me a tiny cushioned stool for my purse (apparently this is a thing now) and a Per Se notepad. I was taking notes in the little 3″x5″ notebook I always use, but apparently he thought it was too small and offered me the notepad. I declined, but he left it at the table just in case, and I ended up liking it and the protective cardstock cover that wraps around it so intricately that I’ve since used it at other restaurants, no doubt causing jealousy and scorn.

Per Se NY
“Oysters and Pearls”: “sabayon” of pearl tapioca, island creek oysters, sterling white sturgeon caviar

If you’ve never had oysters because you’re afraid of the texture or don’t know how to eat them, these are the first you should ever try. Unlike raw oysters, which you sort of massage between your tongue and teeth to extract the flavor before swallowing them, these cooked oysters fell apart in our mouths. That pure, clean ocean flavor I associate with oysters was still there, but otherwise, it was like eating a bowl of dumpling soup made extra-thick by the tapioca. Caviar is one of the more recent fruits of the sea I’ve begun to sample, so I usually find myself remembering what it is and getting weirded out halfway through any dish and leaving some of it behind; this just blended with the thick broth and the bite of the scallions so well, though, that I finished every last bite.

Jose’ Dhont, Blanc de Blanca, Oger MV

Per Se NY
egg custard, black truffle ragout, potato chive chip

The custard filling this eggshell (one of the best presentations possible, right?) was unflavored save a slight egginess, but I think it was the dense texture that was the point of it. The flavor came from the rich black truffle ragout, a buttery layer of liquid on top of the custard. The chip was oddly chewy but made for a nice truffle vessel.

Per Se NY
salt tasting

We were given salted and unsalted sweet butter, warm brioche rolls, and this array of salts ranging from Hawaiian volcanic to Himilayan to deep ocean. We basically had no idea what to do with them, so we spread a little butter on our rolls and sprinkled a little salt on top. Because of the tininess of the rolls, we were each only able to sample two or three of them. We were a little bewildered. As expected, we couldn’t taste the differences between them, but the texture differences were . . . interesting.

Per Se NY
cauliflower panna cotta, Iberico ham croquette, Big Island hearts of peach palm, compressed Granny Smith apple, hazelnuts, cilantro

Kamran called this “the baby food course” due to the texture of the dish’s focal point. The panna cotta was perfectly creamy, sweet, and salty with cool, refreshing tones provided by the apple and cilantro. The croquette, surprisingly, seemed like an afterthought; it was just a breaded chunk of ham. On the opposite end of the surprise meter were the simple hazelnuts sprinkled on top of the panna cotta, which were highly present both in their flavor and crunch.

Per Se NY
terrine of Hudson Valley moulard duck foie gras, white celery glaze, “Parisienne de Betteraves” (Parisian beets), baby leeks, sorrel, Blis Elixir (sherry vinegar), toasted brioche

This was the creamiest little sliver of foie gras with absolutely none of the bite organ meats sometimes have. We loved the ring of pepper on one side of the plate and the very pungent celery flavor from the glaze. We secretly wanted to spread it all over the soft rolls from the salt tasting course, but the crusty brioche was nice if extremely messy.

Per Se NY
herb roasted sturgeon “ail confit en persillade” (garlic confit and parsley): violet artichoke, parsley shoots, English pea coulis, Meyer lemon emulsion

This dish was such a pleasure because it was such a surprise. The drab colors on the plate made us think it was going to be a boring, throwaway course, but in fact, both the fish and the garlic packed a punch in entirely different ways. The confit garlic was soft enough to be made into a paste with the slightest fork-touch and sweet enough to not even be recognizable as garlic. The sturgeon was soaked through with this wonderful salty, smoky flavor that really complimented our dark, almost leathery wine. But as always, we couldn’t used a lot more lemon in that lemon emulsion.

Selbach-Oster, Riesling, Kabinett, “Zeltinger Sonnenuhr”, Mosel 2009
Willi Schaefer, Riesling, Auslese, “Graacher Domprobst #6”, Mosel 2005

Per Se NY
butter poached Nova Scotia lobster, brioche melba, caramelized salsify, romaine hearts, watercress, Squire Hill Farms’ hen egg purée

The meny changes daily at Per Se, so I was not only super-pleased but also a little relieved that it was a lobster night and not an octopus night. It makes sense that the colors in my photo look like neon puffy paint from the 90s, because this dish was a stand out. I wrote the word “buttery” down on my notepad three times, if that’s any indication of what the overarching flavor of it was. Even the romaine lettuce, probably the most boring ingredient ever next to boiled chicken, shocked me with how buttery it was. The crunchy melba with the springy lobster and the creamy puree was dreamy. The pairing of this with our wine made the wine taste like butterscotch.

Per Se NY
Liberty Farm’s Pekin Duck (Long Island duck, not Peking duck!) “Rôti á La Broche” (spit-roasted): Meiwa kumquats, Persian cucumbers, French breakfast radishes, red ribbon sorrel, basil-sesame purée

Maybe it was the sesame, or maybe my mind was tricking me with the distinction between Pekin and Peking, but this dish did taste Asian-influenced to me. I loved the spicy radish with the cool cucumber and the crispy skin of the tender duck.

Patrick Javilier, “Les Tillets”, Meursault 2008

Per Se NY
tenderloin of Marcho Farms’ veal, “coeur de veau” (veal heart), pickled cabbage créme fraîche, new crop potatoes, braised shallot, mâche

Beef heart! It was new to me, but the way it was sliced so thin made it taste as familiar as deli lunchmeat. The tenderloin itself was entirely undersalted, but we realized why when we tasted the salty accompaniments like the sour cabbage and soft potatoes.

Switchback Ridge, Merlot, Napa Valley 2007

Per Se NY
“Caerphilly”, heirloom carrots, young fennel, arugula leaves, fennel pollen grissini (breadstick)

This hard white cheese from Wales had just the right amount of funk to contrast the sweet yellow carrots (with their tops still on!) and to compliment the bite of the arugula. We loved the bacon, the spicy mustard, and the wheat beer pairing.

Allagash Brewing Co., “White”, Maine

Per Se NY
Young Coconut and Lemongrass “Float”: young coconut and lemongrass mousse, passion fruit meringue, coconut sorbet

This was a neat way of introducing the DESSERT ONSLAUGHT that was to following. The layering of different flavors in a cup is nothing new–I can’t count the number of times we’ve had a palate-cleanser of one or two bites thrown into a shot glass–but this one added a texture dimension that kicked it up a notch with everything from freeze-dried to foam. I can still taste the passion fruit meringue with its super-concentrated flavor.

Per Se NY
“Opera”: candied Marcona almonds, Manjari chocolate mousse, almond ice cream, “Whiskey Tonic”

The best thing about this dessert was that alienesque chocolate ball on the left. Its gelatin-like chocolate skin enveloped the chocolate mousse, so it was a weird, though enjoyable, soft-on-soft texture combination. Being a lemon freak, I loved the citrus gel and the way it so smoothly transitioned us into the next course of pure tang overload.

Per Se NY
“Florida Cocktail”: ruby grapefruit “biscuit,” Buddha’s hand soda, candied Cara Cara oranges, Okinawa brown sugar ice cream

This was another dish that displayed all that the Per Se pastry chefs can do with texture. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t pay better attention to the server’s description at the time, because this is certainly the first time I’ve ever been served Buddha’s hand, and not only can I not remember it, but I can’t even see anything in my photo that resembles soda. Maybe someone else who’s had the dish can remind me where I tasted it.

Felsina, Vin Santo, Chianti Classico 2001
Domaine Huet, “Clos du Bourg”, Moelleux, Vouvray 1985

“MIGNARDISES”: the barrage of post-dessert desserts that you have absolutely no chance of even making a dent in

Per Se NYPer Se NY
homemade chocolates

The best. We only took two each despite the lesson we learned at The Modern, but that’s okay where there are THIRTEEN KINDS OF SWEETS coming your way.

Per Se NY
bottom layer: coconut, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate truffles; middle layer: French macarons; top layer: caramels

I mean . . . come on. These are all of my favourite things in one neat little tri-level hinged box. To call these desserts “the best way to end a meal. ever.” is to do them a total disservice. The truffles were solid on the outside, creamy on the inside, and the kind of complimentary flavors that make you want to start over at the beginning once you’ve had all three. One of the macaron flavors was cinnamon, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t let Kamran have a single bite of any of those. The caramels weren’t the super-chewy, get-stuck-in-your-teeth kind but the super-homemade, melt-in-your-mouth kind.

Per Se NY
hard candies

These little slivers of candy were about the thickness of a chive and packed that much flavor, too. Even the anise one was delicious. We didn’t want to waste the already-nonexistent space in our bellies, so Kamran just shoveled handfuls of these into his jacket pocket so we could enjoy them for days afterward. Don’t tell anyone.

Per Se NY
chocolate-covered hazelnuts

These sweet nuts were dusted in about a pound of cocoa each, making for a thick layer of chocolate to bite through. It was perfect for those people I have nothing in common with who like not-sweet desserts.

Per Se NY
popcorn-flavored ice cream

This one-bite dish really did taste just like buttered popcorn! The outer shell was solid and had the crunch of the popcorn bits on its side, but the inside was pure creaminess.

Per Se NYPer Se NY
“coffee and donuts”: coffee ice cream and beignets

I like coffee, but I love coffee ice cream, so it was a real delight to dip my spoon into my little cup and find out it wasn’t filled with liquid. The beignets were perfectly light and fluffy and tasted much better with the coffee than they do with your usual chocolate sauce.

And that was that! We didn’t get to eat nearly as much of the dessert deluge as we wanted to, and I’m sure we could’ve knocked some more of it out had we been able to stick around longer, but A tasting menu with wine pairings is always much easier in thought than in execution. Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t do it over and over again a thousand times.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Everything about Per Se is impeccable, from the service staff who know just how much attention to pay you to the houndstooth place settings to the ribbon-tied chocolate cookie sandwiches they send home with you. The view overlooking Central Park is one of the more romantic in all of NYC (so be sure you request a seat near the window when you make your reservation), and the decor is deep-hued enough to feel rich but modern enough to feel unpretentious. The food is the kind you remember long after you’ve forgotten what you had for lunch just yesterday, whether it be the actual taste of it or just the way your spoon felt in it. It’s truly a special kind of restaurant where you feel like the chef really considered everything from flavor to texture to what little extra might really knock your socks off when he imagined each dish. You sense that this is a restaurant always striving to do better than itself.

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019 (map)

44 Responses  
  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    March 18th, 20111:19 pmat

    Man, I’ll tell you…I wasn’t a huge fan of this menu…probably the least appetizing as far as objective reading and viewing goes….but I’m sure it tasted amazing. The lobster would be up my alley as would the tenderloin…but this would have been a good thing seeing those desserts :P Goodness me….I would go there solely for that. I think that would be hilarious…and probably offended them quite a bit, if I showed up and didn’t eat anything other than the dessert courses. I always wondered…what do the waiters do and say when you don’t eat a particular course? Do they ask you a bunch of questions why you didn’t like it…or do they offer something else?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 18th, 20115:13 pmat

      Part of it is probably my awful pictures. It was so dark in there and so many of them are blown out by the candle on the table that it makes them look less appetizing. I keep having these really good feelings about the chocolate-covered hazelnuts, but I swear it’s only because it’s one of the better pictures.

      But yeah, the desserts! If they had that as a separate tasting, I’d want to go there after every single meal. Just to have that little tower of truffles, macarons, and caramels!

      So, this is probably bad, but Kamran and I almost always finish everything. The only time I can remember not eating at least a significant portion of a dish was at Degustation, where they gave me an entire tomato course. (Momofuku Ko made me like mushrooms, but no one can make me like tomatoes!) Otherwise, the courses are usually so small that even if it’s not my favourite, I try enough that the servers don’t think anything of it.

      • Jonah writes:
        July 25th, 201210:22 pmat

        is the truffle custard a must? we called the restaurant and they said they might add it to our menu, based on the Chef’s discretion.

        More importantly, I’m going there on Saturday at 9pm. What is the lighting like? It’s 3 people, and I have a DSLR camera. Do you have any photography tips?

        Great reviews. All of them.

        • donuts4dinner writes:
          July 27th, 20129:30 amat

          Thanks, and yes, even after having the custard twice before, I was sad when we didn’t get it on our third visit and other tables did. Even on presentation alone, I think you have to have it.

          The lighting is TERRIBLE. It’s lovely for dining in but awful for taking pictures in. Just look at my other Per Se reviews with the pictures taken during lunch instead, and you’ll see the huge difference. Not knowing how skilled you are with camera, this advice may be obvious, so please pardon me, but: open up your aperture as much as possible (meaning make the number smaller), turn your ISO up to about 800 so the pictures will be bright-ish but not grainy, and shoot on RAW if you have an editing program that can read it so you have as much information as possible to work with.

          Let me know how it goes!

          • Jonah writes:
            July 27th, 201210:59 amat

            I already have all that figured out. But thank you anyways.

          • Jonah writes:
            July 27th, 201211:04 amat

            I should probably mention that I have a D5100 camera with 18-55m lens. Even though it’s night, your pictures are not that bad. When I went to a restaurant in Chicago named North Pond, the lighting was so awful all my pictures were pitch blue (if that’s a thing. Great dinner but not good pictures.

            • donuts4dinner writes:
              July 27th, 20123:02 pmat

              Oh, nice! I have the D5100 as well and have been using the 35mm f/1.8 with it for maximum aperture.

              These pictures were taken ages ago with my point-and-shoot, so they hurt my eyes now. It sounds like you need to use a white card or a tissue or the napkin and set your white balance before the meal. (And then reset it over and over as the light changes. Annoying.) Most of my pictures from Atera turned out CRAZY blue because I only set my white balance once, but I used Photoshop to correct them. Sitting away from the windows at Per Se is probably a good idea, actually, so the light is more consistent.

              Anything in particular you’re looking for advice on?

              • Jonah writes:
                July 29th, 201210:28 amat

                the pictures were surprisingly excellent. Best meal of my life. I brought my copy of the French Laundry Cookbook and talked with my server about the several 8-course meals I’ve made, so the kitchen added the truffle custard and “Macaroni and Cheese” to the menu. The Macaroni and Cheese – butter-poached lobster, parmigiano tuile, lobster broth orzo, and more – was the best dish I’ve ever had. It was amazing. Unfortunately, the meal was so long that Chef Kaimeh left before we finished at 1:30, so we’re going back today sometime to talk to him. I was sitting in the one seat at my table that had great lighting. If you email me separately, I can send you a link to my facebook page where you can find pictures of all my meals. I’ll post the Momofuku Ssam, Morimoto, and Per Se pictures on Monday or Tuesday when I get home. I’m still in shock that I was there less than 12 hours ago.

                • donuts4dinner writes:
                  July 30th, 201210:51 amat

                  Seems like they really lived up to the expectations. The mac & cheese sounds amazing! We’ve only been going there for lunch recently so we have the evening to recover from the wine pairings, so maybe they’ve changed the lighting. Or maybe you just got lucky. Either way, glad to hear it!

  • foodiemom10583 writes:
    March 18th, 20111:41 pmat

    I’ve been waiting for this review for a while. How absolutely lovely! I’m so proud of you to have made it to your gastronomic goal.

    What is the deal with the candy? Do they (hopefully) give you a little scoop and a bag (Economy Candy-style) for you to take what you want, or is each container designated for your table only?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 18th, 20112:20 pmat

      But what do I aspire to eat now?! I guess I still need to go to Masa, but spending a thousand bucks on just fish is pretty scary to someone who really only started eating seafood a couple of years ago.

      Ohhhhh, if only there was a Per Se version of Economy Candy. I saw another blogger muse about whether or not they pass the wrapped candies on to the next table, but it seems pretty unlikely to me, based on the price and the chef’s standards. I know I should be too embarrassed to tell you this, but I gobbled up so many of those truffles and macarons when Kamran said he was too full. I’m pretty sure I ate all of the beignets but the one he tried, too. I COULDN’T HELP MYSELF!

      I sure do love a restaurant that knows I want to be overwhelmed.

      • foodiemom10583 writes:
        March 18th, 20112:29 pmat

        “But what do I aspire to eat now?”

        A tomato-and-mushroom tasting menu?

        Sorry if I made you gag.

        Don’t be embarrassed about eating those gorgeous sugary gems. You did your due diligence.

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          March 18th, 20115:54 pmat

          HA! My response was half laugh/half choke on my own vomit. Maybe that’s a good idea, though! Kamran should starve me for three days and then tell me my only option is confit tomato with mushroom ragout or something.

          So what about you? Assuming the 10583 is your zip code, do you ever make it down here to eat?

          • foodiemom10583 writes:
            March 18th, 20116:13 pmat

            Oh yes. I grew up in Brooklyn and I used to live on Waverly and Mercer about a hundred years ago, so I get itchy for the city. We got food from the Halal cart on Wednesday. We’ve been enjoying Empanada Mama lately, too. Brother Jiimmy’s (2nd Ave) was a little disappointing. I took my son to WD-50 when he was 10 in an effort to foodie-fy him. Seems to have worked. We went to Max Brenner’s on your recommendation for his 13th birthday and it was a huge hit. Have to thank you for that one.

            Back in the day, I loved Acme, Belgo (when it was there), Apple, and some tiny little Swiss restaurant on 5th between 1st and A (or A and B) that was like a maze to walk through. There were lots of tiny rooms filled with chandeliers and grandmotherly knick knacks. Great spaetzle. Oh, and we go to Economy Candy a couple of times a year to help ensure that my son will continue to love me.

            I’m excited to learn of your next comestible countdown.

      • Jonah writes:
        July 27th, 201211:10 amat

        I’m only 15, and I’ve eaten at Alinea, Charlie Trotter’s kitchen table, Pierre Gagnaire, Oustau de Baumaniere, Next twice,Le Chateauxbriand, Tru, several Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago you probably don’t know, El Celler de Can Roca, soon Mugaritz or Arzak (I’ll have to decide), and more. Where do I go now? Per Se tomorrow (until today, I think that Charlie Trotter’s is the best meal of my life, especially because he sat down with us for several hours, shared a few courses, told some stories, and took us on a private tour of his personal office, library, and more). I should create a blog. But seriously, where do you think I should go next?

        • donuts4dinner writes:
          July 27th, 20123:16 pmat

          You’re only 15! That’s awesome.

          Everyone’s calling Eleven Madison Park the best restaurant in NYC right now. Atera is getting all kind of accolades. Daniel was the first super-fancy meal I had, and I still have fond memories of it. And Momofuku Ko is my favourite restaurant in the city.

          So yes, start the blog, go to EMP first because it’ll get you attention and then KO second because you’ll still be thinking about the food years later.

          • Jonah writes:
            July 27th, 20128:41 pmat

            Im also going to Morimoto, momofuku ssam for the Bo ssam, and babbo this weekend

  • Sammy Skye writes:
    March 18th, 20112:42 pmat

    welp, the salad i was forcing myself to eat 5 minutes ago is now inedible. im experiencing extreme food envy!! how do you go back to eating with the commonfolk after a meal like that???? and congrats to kamran on passing the bar!!!!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 18th, 20115:36 pmat

      Kamran keeps telling me things like, “You need to eat salads during the week so we can have nice Per Se dinners on the weekend without weighing 400 pounds.” But you understand me!

      I should mention that Kamran only took the bar. He won’t find out his results until May. But he’s real, real smart-like. Hope your job hunt is going well!

  • Jessica R. writes:
    March 18th, 20112:51 pmat

    Wow, this was a visual orgasm. Thank you for sharing it in all its glory. That sounds amazing and like so much fun.

    Yet another reason I’m jealous of your living in New York!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 18th, 20115:39 pmat

      I drank enough wine that night to make up for all nine months of your not drinking it, so yes, it was fun! You should see my notes on the meal: they start out all neat and sensical, but by the end, it’s totally illegible scrawl all over the page.

  • Dishy writes:
    March 18th, 20115:05 pmat

    WOW. Okay, apart from all the obvious – the food looks and sounds AMAZING – e. etc. I have several questions, which i hope you won’t find tacky.

    1) How long was this dinner?? From the sound of things, 3 4 hours?

    2) How much did it cost? I know this is very classless, but I would like to know.

    3) The food courses all look small for the most part, are the wines and beer equally small? How many sips are we talking?

    Thank you for indulging me!!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      March 18th, 20115:49 pmat

      Not tacky at all. I actually think things like portion size and pricing are pretty important to a review, but I’ve been told it looks bad. So thanks for giving me an excuse. MWAHAHAHAHA.

      1) About 4 hours, yes. We’re exceptionally slow eaters, but we never spend too much time lounging in the restaurant afterward like other people do, because we’re usually too full to successfully function in public.

      2) The tasting menu is $275, I believe, but that includes service. I think it was a little over a grand with wine, which is pretty comparable to the other crazy upscale places we’ve been to recently like Daniel and Momofuku Ko. (I think I’ve shot my restaurant budget for the year with Kamran, so look for future reviews that involve me getting either an entree or dessert.)

      3) The food courses are all just a few bites, but the wine and beer are regular-sized pours. Which is why we leave these places a mess. I don’t know if you’re not expected to drink the whole thing or what, but they don’t take the glass away with the plate if you still have wine left, so I never know what to do!

      • Dishy writes:
        March 18th, 20119:45 pmat

        WOWZA!!! to all 3 !!

        Back in my early twenties I went out to dinner all the time, to upscale restaurants (and everything in between) and used to love those long tastings. But that was forever ago. As you can imagine, those days are far behind me – between cost, my diet, etc. So it’s awesome to live vicariously through you! So glad you didn’t think me coarse asking such “no no” type questions. hahah

        I can’t imagine getting to eat – and DRINK – all that in one sitting.. BAYOINGYOINGGGGG… I’d have to wear stretch pants and get wheeled out in a wagon. Which they’d probably very graciously attend to!

  • thickcrust writes:
    March 18th, 20117:59 pmat

    I shouldn’t be posting this comment here because it really doesn’t have much to do with Per Se, but here are some other rankings you should consider:

    * How often would Katie be willing to spend her own money to eat here? (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly…)

    * What state/city would a person have to be from to even consider eating here? (based on cost, attitude, exoticness, etc.)

    * How guilt-inducing was the meal? (based on cost, environmental friendliness, perceived healthiness…)

  • Tracey writes:
    March 20th, 201111:26 pmat

    For me, it wasn’t the pictures (I thought those were great as always), but the descriptions of the savory dishes just didn’t sound as appetizing as the ones at some of the other places you’ve been to. Then again, you know how picky I am and how boring my palate is, and maybe if I’d worked my way up to this magnificence as you have, I’d feel differently.

    The DESSERTS, though! Did you know such a great spread of sweets was coming your way when you went, or were you surprised? I’ll bet that felt like such a great reward for eating all that seafood and beef heart.

  • plumpdumpling writes:
    March 22nd, 20114:45 pmat

    I’m commenting on my own post to remind myself of the couple sitting at the table nearest us. They were younger than us, mid-20s at the most. The guy was wearing a plaid button-down with no jacket despite the restaurant’s dress code, and the girl was wearing some generic sleeveless frock. I looked at them like, “What the hell do you two think you’re doing here, trying to out-young us?” I like being the youngest people in all of the super-fine-dining places we go, and I was trying to guess what that kid possibly did for a living to take his girlfriend out.

    And then their parents walked in. I win!

    And I won doubly when the guy asked for his Oysters and Pearls dish without the oysters. Amateur!

  • Cristy writes:
    March 23rd, 20118:59 amat

    Absolutely wonderful! Love the description of the duck and the lobster, and those desserts look delectable. Wow. Glad you were finally able to enjoy it!

  •» Blog Archive » Macaron Day NYC 2011! writes:
    March 23rd, 201111:48 amat

    […] Time Warner Center to sample the fares at Bouchon Bakery. As it’s owned by Thomas Keller of Per Se and The French Laundry fame, we had both been wanting to check it out, anyway. And from all I can […]

  • LawandFood writes:
    March 28th, 20112:20 pmat

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed your meal here, although I’d be pretty shocked to hear otherwise. One thing to note, is that while the menu does change daily, the butter poached lobster remains a constant to a degree.

    Congrats on Karmen finishing the bar exam, I know I was happy when I was finished studying. Guess you’ll have to make another great reservation when he passes…perhaps The French Laundry?

  •» Blog Archive » Asiate Tasting Menu- American (New)/Japanese – Columbus Circle writes:
    July 11th, 201110:31 amat

    […] to the gougéres we’ve had at Per Se and Tocqueville, these were sadly lacking. While I appreciated the spiciness that followed much […]

  •» Blog Archive » Eleven Madison Park’s Tasting Menu – American (New) – Flatiron writes:
    July 26th, 201111:35 amat

    […] a major disappointment. The meal was $195 each, which is very similar to what you’ll pay at Per Se, Daniel, or Momofuku Ko. At all of those restaurants, though, you feel special. Per Se overloaded […]

  •» Blog Archive » Corton – French/American (New) – Tribeca writes:
    September 22nd, 201112:03 pmat

    […] Boyfriend and I had a nice Caerphilly at Per Se, so I was maybe a little disappointed to be served the same cheese here, but this turned out to be […]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews –» Blog Archive » Three Michelin Stars for EMP and Brooklyn Fare writes:
    October 4th, 20114:47 pmat

    […] Per Se: so long-awaited it couldn’t have been anything but incredible (and we’re going back […]

  • It’s My Birthday, and I’m a Princess — Unapologetically Mundane writes:
    October 7th, 201112:01 pmat

    […] will be forced to dance, but this year, Kamran and I are just planning a nice, quiet lunch at Per Se. And by “nice, quiet lunch”, I mean the extended tasting menu. It will hopefully […]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews –» Blog Archive » The Extended Tasting Menu at Per Se writes:
    October 13th, 201112:02 pmat

    […] meal started with two familiar sights from our first visit to Per Se earlier this […]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews » New York’s Best Restaurants writes:
    April 6th, 20125:55 pmat

    […] Won’t Take Me to One of NYC’s Best Restaurants (and Why It’s Not My Fault) (26)Per Se – French – Columbus Circle (26)The Tasting Menu at Corton – French/American (New) – Tribeca (25)21 Club Kicked Us Out […]

  • Todd writes:
    June 9th, 20127:02 pmat

    We have reservations at per se later this month (so I am searching for advise). Did you select the wines or were these pairings provided? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      June 20th, 20122:12 pmat

      Oh, so sorry it took me so long to reply to this! Every time at Per Se, we’ve asked that they choose the wine. We suggest the number of pairings we’d like and our budget, and they pour to suit our needs.

      • Todd writes:
        June 20th, 20122:14 pmat

        Just in time (with 2 days to spare) :-) Much appreciated! Have a great week!

        • donuts4dinner writes:
          June 20th, 20122:32 pmat

          Phew! Maybe you’re more of a wine expert than we are, but Per Se has introduced us to pairings we’ve then requested in other restaurants. I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Todd writes:
    June 20th, 20122:45 pmat

    send me a reminder next week and will do. :-)
    I’m a bit torn and will probably go with a possible list of 3-4 1/2 bottles and depending on the menu start with a champagne, move to a reisling (not too sweet), then chassagne montrachet and then to either a deeper white (e.g. puligny montrachet) or red burgundy (vosnee romanee or similar) depending on the meats and their sauces (was told once white meats are a blank slate, look to the sauce-dark meats-different – so far has worked nicely) OR a cabernet. Essentially, once I look at the menu, I have a few “thoughts” I’ll put by the Sommlier and go with his recommendations and am open to their accompaniments as well. Should be fun. :-)

  • Todd writes:
    June 25th, 201211:55 amat

    How was Per Se? Absolutely delightful!! Had to laugh numerous times as we kept wanting to remember to take pictures and did for a few but then others were of empty plates. :-)
    So many to thank (most of whom we never get to see) and publicly we would like to call out Michael Franco (our main server), Allison Price and Justin Lord (Sommelier – who allowed me to discuss my “thoughts” but eventually left it in his hands and he was gracious in allowing me to both trust his judgment AND express initial reservation in the choice of one wine prior to the lamb-long
    story-nice to be proven so wrong). On it’s own was “ok” with lamb was wonderful!
    Am VERY glad I went with the wine accompaniments instead of choosing on my own.

    The only disappointments for me is not having the opportunity (was not on
    the tasting menu) to try the butter poached lobster (which I have done at home and part of the reason I wanted to try it) and chive chips with truffle custard, however, this serves as motivation for a future visit. :-)
    Also had a black truffle pasta that was not on the menu truffle which could very well be the best dish I have ever had in my life!
    The list of dishes and wines is below. for now, anyone reading this….go, just go and enjoy!! You may not like everything put in front of you (my partner – she did not like the caviar and was nervous by the langoustines because of past experiences unrelated to per se). Even with that we share these thoughts of our experience. Gracious without pretention, eloquent without
    stuffiness, flavor almost beyond description and and an experience unmatched.
    “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters
    and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar

    Slow Baked Young Beets, Shaved Fennel, Red Ribbon Sorrel
    and Black Winter Truffle Coulis

    Pearson Farm’s Peaches, Green Almonds, Celery Branch “Ribbons,”
    Almond Oil and Toasted Brioche

    Bing Cherries, Red Wine Braised Torpedo Shallot,
    Mizuna and “Sauce Soubise”

    Serrano Ham, Brentwood Corn “Panna Cotta,”
    Sungold Tomatoes and Petite Mint


    “Croquette de Cuisse,” Anson Mills’ Polenta,
    Flowering Squash and “Salsa Verde”

    Haricots Verts, La Ratte Potato Confit, Cherry Belle Radishes,
    Bibb Lettuce, Niçoise Olive Oil and “Gribiche Purée”

    Green Strawberry “Tartare,” Poached California Rhubarb,
    Watercress and Aged Balsamic Vinegar

    Crystallized Champagne Grapes
    and Green Tea Ice Cream

    “Glace Vanille-Chocolat”

    Jose Dohndt, Blanc de Blancs, Oger MV

    Keller, Riesling Trocken Rheinhessen 2011 (dry and VERY Good!))

    Karthauserhof, Riesling, Spatlese, Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg,” Mosel 2002

    Patz and Hall Chardonnay, “Hyde Vineyard,” Carneros 2008

    Domaine Fourrier, Vieilles Vignes 2009

    Chateau D’ Armailhac, Pauillac 2005

    Ramey, Cabernet Savignon, Napa Valley 2008

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews » Per Se: Five Stars for the Fourth Time writes:
    February 20th, 20134:01 pmat

    […] love of Per Se is much documented and includes an overusage of superlatives like most and best. Accordingly, my […]

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