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shengcai

NYC Eating Tour (with photos)

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You only ask if that's rude cuz they're not from New York.

If they were FROM New York, you'd feel free to ask them not only how much their dinner cost, but how much they paid for their apartment.

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maybe raji was asking if his question was rude because he wanted to be polite? ever think of that? some people feel uncomfortable discussing money...

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I feel tired just looking at your report on Per Se! How long did the meal take?

It was roughly 4 hours. I forgot to mention that we were given a tour of the kitchen after our meal. It was a nice way to top off the night.

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I thought Per Se was $250 per person?

That's correct. Base price is $250, which includes service charge. We both got the foie, which was a $30 supplement. With tax, it came out to a little over $300 per person. I opted not to do the wine pairings because I'm a lightweight, but I had read somewhere that they had done non-alcoholic beverage pairings in the past. I completely forgot to ask at the time. Does anyone know any more about this?

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Sneakeater, your point regarding disclosure is well taken and taken in good humor.

Thanks, Jessica, for your kind words. It's tough in NYC to choose among all the great dining options, but I envy you New Yorkers for having those options available everyday. :smile: Good luck with that endeavor!

Jean-Georges and Momofuku Ssam are up next...

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shencai, your experience exactly mirrors ours at a recent dinner at per se. You got a couple of different things than we did, it looks like they may have stopped using sous vide for the butter poached lobster, and I don't recall getting finishing salts for the foie, but I too, felt it was worth every penny and I agree that they've combined service and hospitality to a fine point.

I would go back in a heartbeat. Year's salary or no. :biggrin:


Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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RE: sous vide -- That was one thing that I was wondering about. Through other blogs, I've seen the Lobster "cuit sous vide" on past menus. What exactly do the quotations mean? I had assumed that they weren't really cooked sous vide but have the semblance of being prepared as such? Perhaps you got the scoop while you were there. If so, could you fill us in?

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They're very famous for using what appear to be "scare quotes" in situations where they make no sense. So nobody really knows why things in that menu are put in quotation marks. It's very confusing.

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I don't know why it's in quotes on the menu,except maybe to make the technique used stand out, but we asked our captain about it when we had the dish. he said it had been done sous vide, but they didn't always do it that way. We strongly suggested they go back to the original method. :biggrin:

I'm be willing to bet your lamb was done sous vide as well, and it truly is remarkable lamb. When I was at the gourmet institute last october, I attended a seminar by Thomas and his lamb purveyor. As a surprise, each of the seminar attendees got two lamb chops. One by Keller's purveyor and one by a Colorado lamb supplier. The sous chef, (that Thomas brought from Per Se to cook the lamb) came in and discussed the preparation which was done sous vide, and which he stated was the same way it was prepared at Per Se.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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They're very famous for using what appear to be "scare quotes" in situations where they make no sense.  So nobody really knows why things in that menu are put in quotation marks.  It's very confusing.

Everything2 has a few entertaining and insightful posts on the topic including this remark

There's another way of looking at those restaurant-menu quotes, that makes them make a little more sense. They turn scare quotes from a mean-spirited, larcenous packaging into... well, just packaging. As meaningless and disposable as real packaging. If you look at Japanese culture, and the way so many Japanese snacks-and-such are packaged a little excessively for the extra feeling of swankness it imparts, the quote thing becomes more understandable.

Makes sense to me.

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We started our lunch at Jean-Georges with a couple refreshing beverages. I got a black cherry-yuzu soda, and my girlfriend got the ginger-lemon.

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Amuse-bouche

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Jerusalem artichoke soup with black truffle emulsion

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Salmon with fennel and tarragon cream, cured in Sambuca

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Dehydrated pineapple with chili and lime with mint sugar

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Bluefin tuna ribbons, avocado, spicy radish, ginger marinade -- I really loved this one. The marinade had just enough acid to brighten, and the crunch from the spiced radishes was very nice. One of the best dishes tasted on this trip.

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Sliced hamachi, Meyer lemon and rose -- this dish seemed out of balance to me. I think the rose salt overpowered the delicateness of the fish.

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Foie gras brulee, dried sour cherries, candied pistachios and white port gelee -- A hint of bitterness from the brulee allowed me to experience foie in another light.

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Parsnip soup, smoked paprika, peekytoe crab and Meyer lemon

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Sea scallops, caramelized cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion -- It takes a real stroke of genius for someone to be able to combine such simple ingredients and produce such wonderfully complex flavors.

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Pan-roasted sweetbreads, licorice, grilled pear and lemon -- The sweetbreads were so perfectly cooked, brown and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

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For dessert: Meyer lemon, chocolate chiboust, Earl Grey, praline (right); lemongrass sorbet, dehydrated grapefruit, crispy tangerine, lime curd (left) In retrospect, I shouldn't have gone with citrus for dessert. With so many citrus accents in the savory courses, I was all Meyer lemon'd and limed out. Bad decision-making on my part.

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Crispy spiced chocolate, beet parfait, yogurt powder (right); sauteed apples, olive oil sponge, maple brown butter ice cream -- The intense beet essence in the parfait was well complemented by the yogurt powder.

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Perhaps I was still riding on my high from Per Se, (naively) expecting the same experience during a Tuesday lunch hour, or maybe I ordered too many citrus-accented courses (it's more likely a little bit of both), but I wasn't completely blown away at Jean-Georges as I was hoping to be. That being said, the bluefin tuna with avocado and the scallops with caper-raisin emulsion were undeniable home runs in my book and definite reasons to come back and give it another go.


Edited by shengcai (log)

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We arrived at Momofuku Ssam Bar a little after 10 and it was packed. After about a 10-minute wait, we grabbed a few seats at the bar.

We started off by munching on the seasonal pickles. The Asian pear, kim chee, and daikon were especially good.

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Steamed pork belly buns with hoisin sauce, cucumber, and scallions

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Bahn mi three terrine sandwich

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Beef tongue and oxtail stew -- My favorite dish there. The tongue was meltingly tender, and flavors (spice from the jalapenos, sweetness from the carrots) were spot on. We really needed some rice for the stew though. The grilled bread wasn't enough.

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We were nearing the end of the meal, and I still was craving more, so I ordered these Caraquet oysters on the half-shell with kim chee consomme. I should've quit when I was ahead. The bitterness in this consomme clashed with the natural freshness of the oysters. I was truly disappointed. I'm glad to see that now they've replaced the consomme with a lime-gelee, which I imagine would be much better.

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The bahn mi and stew were a couple of favorite things tasted on this trip. I regret not trying a ssam, the grilled rice cakes, and uni. After a couple days of jacket-required eating, it was also nice to unwind in this laid-back atmosphere while sampling some top-notch Asian-inflected cuisine.

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We were nearing the end of the meal, and I still was craving more, so I ordered these Caraquet oysters on the half-shell with kim chee consomme. I should've quit when I was ahead. The bitterness in this consomme clashed with the natural freshness of the oysters. I was truly disappointed. I'm glad to see that now they've replaced the consomme with a lime-gelee, which I imagine would be much better.

Agreed, the oyster/kimchee consomme was the biggest disappointment on the menu for me. I'm glad to hear it's no longer on the menu.


Edited by larrylee (log)

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You really did some great eating during your trip to New York. This is a wonderful report. You've given me lots of ideas for our next trip there - many of the places seem like good choices for taking the whole family, too.

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Nice reports!

I am drooling looking at the shots of Momofuku. I had the buns and bahn mi about two weeks ago and the memory still haunts me.....


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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We were nearing the end of the meal, and I still was craving more, so I ordered these Caraquet oysters on the half-shell with kim chee consomme. I should've quit when I was ahead. The bitterness in this consomme clashed with the natural freshness of the oysters. I was truly disappointed. I'm glad to see that now they've replaced the consomme with a lime-gelee, which I imagine would be much better.

Agreed, the oyster/kimchee consomme was the biggest disappointment on the menu for me. I'm glad to hear it's no longer on the menu.

Shengcai - your photos and descriptions are lovely! Thanks for sharing...

Re: oysters with kimchi consomme - I love them and had them last night (April 1st). For me, the spicy kimchi is perfect with the briny oysters. To each, his own :)

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Tuesday afternoon was spent hunting down some good, cheap eating around Washington Square Park. The weather was beautiful; dogs, with owners in tow, and street musicians were out in full force, all creating the perfect ambiance for a nice al fresco lunch.

Our first stop was one on our "must-go" list -- Thiru "Dosa Man" Kumar's cart at W. 4th and Sullivan.

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Here he is manning the griddle, making the last of his uthappam before closing for the day:

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Uthappam (lentil and rice flour pancake) -- I think it was topped with some form of toasted and spiced coconut. There's some chutney, spicy chili paste, and a sambar on the side.

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We had hoped to snag a dosa before selling out for the day, but alas, we arrived too late. Mr. Kumar (or Mr. Man? :raz:) gave us his card and told us next time we could call him and place an order ahead of time. He was incredibly gracious and amiable, and the food he made for us, though it wasn't the special dosa that we were hoping to get, was delicious. We chatted with him about the crazy squirrels in the park, congratulated him on the Vendys, and proceeded onto the next course(s)...

Mamoun's Falafel

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Falafel sandwich

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Hummus Masabacha from Hummus Place -- whole chick peas, olive oil & spices

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None of these were particularly earthshattering, but I didn't expect them to be. They were, however, great for noshing while people watching and catching up with old friends.

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Dinner that night was at Sushi Yasuda.

Kimo (steamed liver of sea bass )

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We each got the sushi matsu combination (12 pieces of sushi and a half roll)

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I don't remember all of the sushi pieces that I got, but the most memorable ones were the eel (the one depicted above and another kind, shirayaki, a white freshwater eel that was grilled and finished with sea salt that I devoured before taking a pic), Alaskan white king salmon, and of course the uni.

The sushi here was outstanding, but I need to return to experience Yasuda in all its grandeur. Instead of being seated at a table and ordering off the menu, I want to be front and center at Yasuda-san's station, asking him to feed me, no questions asked, until I tap out and cry uncle. My next NYC visit can't come soon enough!!

For dessert, we stopped by Cones for some ice cream (watermelon and lemon).

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Dinner that night was at Sushi Yasuda.

[...]

I don't remember all of the sushi pieces that I got, but the most memorable ones were the eel (the one depicted above and another kind, shirayaki, a white freshwater eel that was grilled and finished with sea salt that I devoured before taking a pic), Alaskan white king salmon, and of course the uni.

I've gotta agree that the eel at Yasuda is outstanding. I've not had better anywhere else. The crunch of the sea salt is the perfect enhancement for what is already a phenomal product to begin with.

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Thanks for your excellent attention to the important details. I am frequently disturbed by those, "the pasta was okay, but the service was slow" type of posts. I think one of the reasons I have good luck with dining experiences is because my expectations are based mostly (not all) on the kitchen. Your experiences (so far) add up to an amazing tour of the city's tastes.

Now I am already lamenting that we can only be there for one day this weekend.

One question about Per Se?

How do they set the pace of service? I hate food coming before we can complete (or nearly complete) a wonderful course--granted it is my own pet peeve. Did they take their cues from your pace, or did you have to keep up, until the lobster?

Just wondering.

And thanks again.

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One question about Per Se?

How do they set the pace of service? I hate food coming before we can complete (or nearly complete) a wonderful course--granted it is my own pet peeve. Did they take their cues from your pace, or did you have to keep up, until the lobster?

It's paced according to your own speed.

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Shengcai - your photos and descriptions are lovely! Thanks for sharing...

Re: oysters with kimchi consomme - I love them and had them last night (April 1st).  For me, the spicy kimchi is perfect with the briny oysters.  To each, his own :)

Spicy? It was spicy?

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One question about Per Se?

How do they set the pace of service? I hate food coming before we can complete (or nearly complete) a wonderful course--granted it is my own pet peeve. Did they take their cues from your pace, or did you have to keep up, until the lobster?

It's paced according to your own speed.

Yup, they take cues. The front and back of the house are coordinated very well. They watch what comes back on the cleared plates and they also took note when I turned down an offer to have my baguette replaced, mentioning that I needed to pace myself. Right after the lobster plates were cleared, they gave us a good chunk of time to recoup. After that, I never felt like I was struggling to keep up, nor did I ever feel like I was waiting for the next course to arrive. If you're really a stickler for pacing you can be explicit about when you want the next course. If not, the staff is pretty good at anticipating your needs.

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