I had a reservation for Per Se while I was in New York this week. I needed a dining companion, and Donbert graciously agreed to come with me
I think Donbert's got better photos than I do, but I'll post mine and he can post the better ones later!
We arrived about 10 minutes before our reservation and we seated in the lounge and offered champagne, which we accepted. After our first glass of champagne we were led to our table, where we had another glass of champagne!
We discussed the menu with our captain who was aware of my mushroom allergy and we agreed that although I was going to try the oysters and caviar, any other fish dishes would be substituted from the vegetarian's menu for me.
I asked him to pick a nice half bottle of white and one of red and to keep it at about $150.00. Donbert's got the wine info, so he'll have to post that!
We began with an amuse. A salmon cone for Donbert and a tomato one for me.
Service was extremely polished, very friendly and at no time were we rushed. In fact dinner took about 4 and a half hours. We spent a lot of time conversing with our captain about various dishes and how they were cooked. In fact, I think the kitchen might have started calling us the "dust" people, because every time a plate came out, we wanted to know what the "dust" was on the plate.
We began our chef's tasting menu with Oysters and Pearls. Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca wiht Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar.
I've never had oysters or caviar before, and this was truly the place to try them. While they wouldn't necessarily be first on my go to list at a restaurant, I wouldn't turn my nose up at this dish!
Next up was a choice of Endive Salad or Foie Gras. Like there was a choice to be made here?!
Donbert had the foie terraine, while they seared mine, as the terraine was layered with quite a bit of black truffle and we didn't want to take too many chances.
This was my favourite dish of the evening. I love foie and I love it seared and this was as excellent as you would expect from a Keller establishment:
The next course was a fish course, so for me, they substituted a Ravioli aux Fines Herbes. Inside was a soft boiled egg, leeks and a sauce soubise. I liked this one a lot
Next we had the BLT Butter Poached Lobster. This is the one dish that we felt let us down. The menu said butter poached, but we both found it hard to cut and very chewy. Donbert felt it had been sous vide'd so we asked the captain and he agreed they had done it that way. We suggested they stick to old fashioned butter poaching!
Mext was a choice of either Venison or breast of duck. I took the duck, while Donbert had the venison.
The duck was wrapped in swiss chard leaves. I liked this one, but it didn't blow me away. It sort of tasted like duck sausage.
Moving right along, was the famed Elysian Fields Farm's lamb. There is no doubt that Keller gets excellent lamb from his purveyor and it always shows in the lamb dishes. This was excellent. They insisted this wasn't sous vide'd but if that's the case, the fat caul around the lamb could have been crispier. Or even marginally crispy would have been nice. But the lamb itself was outstanding.
A couple of the breads we had with dinner. Donbert graciously shared some of his brioche with me during his fish course, but I think he's got the picture of it. I could eat Keller's brioche forever.
Finally winding down, (or so I thought), the cheese course came.
Then a lovely Mandarin sorbet:
And then a brownie, and then chocolates... I was getting full at this point. I loved this brownie. I'm a sucker for brownies, and this one didn't disappoint at all. Rich dense chocolately good.
Obviously they thought we hadn't had enough, so that brought out this very whimsical "coffee and donuts:
And finally, truffles. Oy.
When we were ready, they offered us a kitchen and wine cellar tour and presented a copy of the menu on the way out.
There's no doubt this is more than just "dining out". It's truly an experience and one I wouldn't have missed for the world. Other than the lobster, I thought it was fabulous. No doubt, Donbert will have some comments, and probably better descriptions of the food and better pics!