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rich

Per Se

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Well, think of it this way:

Would the space be more interesting to you if they chose to fill it with fetish-related DVD and videocassette stores and leather/piercing boutiques, both of which can be found in the East Village?

If anything, those would be even more out of place in the structure given the nature of their merchandise. :biggrin:

Soba

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The pastry kitchen, for its part, is certainly accomplished, but the decision to put a funky tasting lemongrass sorbet in the intermezzo spot was not a particularly wise one (it didn't cleanse my palate at all). Redemption came in the form of the primary dessert -- the "tentation" of chocolate -- and also an amazing petits fours selection including macarons of the highest order I've ever tasted.

Chef Keller and his extremely capable chef-on-the-scene, Jonathan Benno, deserve a hearty congratulations for coming so far so quickly and for bringing Per Se to New York.

a little off topic but, again, a food writer making no note of the fact that they actually have a pastry chef. well, guess what? they do! his name is sebastien rouxel. i may as well start my rampage on eGullet as anywhere else :smile: . let's give credit or constructive criticism where due please.

edited to clarify rambling stream of consciousness writing...


Edited by alanamoana (log)

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Well, think of it this way:

Would the space be more interesting to you if they chose to fill it with fetish-related DVD and videocassette stores and leather/piercing boutiques, both of which can be found in the East Village?

Speaking only for myself: much.

That said, the whole "is it suburban / is it neo-urban" argument strikes me as intrinsically silly: it's not as if this is some pristine exemplar of a noted architectural school here. Shiny vertical urban shopping centers and sprawling suburban ones have been taking design cues from each other for decades now: these are functional spaces, and if a design idea works, it's going to get replicated with wild abandon.

On the gripping hand, New York needed another J. Crew like we needed an outbreak of scabies.

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I'd love to give more attention to Rouxel. I've made a point of listing his name twice on eGullet, but I don't know much beyond the little bio on the French Laundry Web site. Rouxel is the pastry chef at French Laundry; there seems to be no Benno equivalent listed for the pastry department at Per Se. I assume Rouxel is here in New York now but there's more I'd have to learn before I could write anything intelligible about him. Benno is a different case, because he's been in New York and I've written about him in the past -- I think I was actually the first journalist to ever write about him, as well as the second -- so I have better information on that front.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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On the gripping hand, New York needed another J. Crew like we needed an outbreak of scabies.

It's no Gallerie Lafayette, but from what I hear, the center comes close. :biggrin:

Nice descriptive simile. heheh.

Soba

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from what i understand, sebastien is here to stay. his wife just had a baby and her family is here in new york. i believe he used to live here as well, but i don't know about his work experience besides the french laundry.

it isn't a disparagement fg, i think i (and i don't think i'm the only one) would just like pastry chefs to have a little more attention given them when the discussion is supposedly primarily about the food. good or bad, it is helpful to know what people think of you...what you did well and what you can improve upon. if one does partake of desserts, it is usually the last impression of a restaurant (that, and the coat check :smile: ).

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Hey, I'm all for giving credit where credit is due. If you're familiar with my body of writing on eGullet you know I've always been a vigorous advocate for pastry chefs. But I don't believe in giving attention to a pastry chef just for the sake of furthering the cause of pastry chefs -- I don't have that agenda. A pastry chef needs to make an impression. At this point, the only impressions the Per Se pastry kitchen has made on me are: 1) great macarons, 2) an apparently faithful reproduction of one dessert from the French Laundry menu, and 3) an ill-conceived sorbet course. I also tasted a few other items on two occasions and got the impression of a technically accomplished pastry kitchen, which I think I made clear in my earlier post. But I felt no particularly personal stamp of a pastry chef, there was no pastry chef named on the menu I received, there is no attention paid to him in the media kit, he doesn't sign the menus that get sent back to the kitchen, he wasn't on the pastry station during the media party when dozens of journalists were led through the kitchen on tours, they don't introduce you to him or mention him at all when you get a kitchen tour as a customer . . . in short, I have nothing to say about the guy beyond the general impressions I have of the Per Se pastry kitchen. The only way I even learned that he's going to be living in New York was by going on eGullet tonight and reading your post. That's the beauty of eGullet, but still the restaurant really should be broadcasting that information.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Off the subject of Per Se for a moment...

I know Stephen Durfee left the Laundry a few years ago, but whatever became of him? Is he still working in the field or has he fled the restaurant biz. I much prefer his work and creativity to Rouxel's--and this is based on first hand taste testing.

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Off the subject of Per Se for a moment...

I know Stephen Durfee left the Laundry a few years ago, but whatever became of him?  Is he still working in the field or has he fled the restaurant biz.  I much prefer his work and creativity to Rouxel's--and this is based on first hand taste testing.

Last I had heard he was teaching at The Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus.

HTH

Jason

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Off the subject of Per Se for a moment...

I know Stephen Durfee left the Laundry a few years ago, but whatever became of him?  Is he still working in the field or has he fled the restaurant biz.  I much prefer his work and creativity to Rouxel's--and this is based on first hand taste testing.

Last I had heard he was teaching at The Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus.

HTH

Jason

Confirmed -- here is the CIA roster:

Faculty page of CIA Grestone

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Off the subject of Per Se for a moment...

I know Stephen Durfee left the Laundry a few years ago, but whatever became of him? Is he still working in the field or has he fled the restaurant biz. I much prefer his work and creativity to Rouxel's--and this is based on first hand taste testing.

I've had the exact oposite reaction, I'm thrilled with the pastry changes at the French Laundry under Rouxel.

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I am adding one piece of information about reservations at Per Se. The waiter told me that the French Laundry runs an eight percent no-show rate. He anticipates the same number in New York.

When the restaurant has a "no-show" they will first contact anyone staying in the Mandarin Hotel who is on the wait list. If that fails they will start calling people who are within a half-hour from the restaurant. So if you're on the wait list, you may get a call at the very last minute - keep your tux handy and dry cleaned.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I am adding one piece of information about reservations at Per Se. The waiter told me that the French Laundry runs an eight percent no-show rate. He anticipates the same number in New York.

When the restaurant has a "no-show" they will first contact anyone staying in the Mandarin Hotel who is on the wait list. If that fails they will start calling people who are within a half-hour from the restaurant. So if you're on the wait list, you may get a call at the very last minute - keep your tux handy and dry cleaned.

Very interesting information, Rich! I've always wondered whether restaurants actively pursued customers when there was a no show.


JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Hey, I'm all for giving credit where credit is due. If you're familiar with my body of writing on eGullet you know I've always been a vigorous advocate for pastry chefs. But I don't believe in giving attention to a pastry chef just for the sake of furthering the cause of pastry chefs -- I don't have that agenda. A pastry chef needs to make an impression. At this point, the only impressions the Per Se pastry kitchen has made on me are: 1) great macarons, 2) an apparently faithful reproduction of one dessert from the French Laundry menu, and 3) an ill-conceived sorbet course. I also tasted a few other items on two occasions and got the impression of a technically accomplished pastry kitchen, which I think I made clear in my earlier post. But I felt no particularly personal stamp of a pastry chef, there was no pastry chef named on the menu I received, there is no attention paid to him in the media kit, he doesn't sign the menus that get sent back to the kitchen, he wasn't on the pastry station during the media party when dozens of journalists were led through the kitchen on tours, they don't introduce you to him or mention him at all when you get a kitchen tour as a customer . . . in short, I have nothing to say about the guy beyond the general impressions I have of the Per Se pastry kitchen. The only way I even learned that he's going to be living in New York was by going on eGullet tonight and reading your post. That's the beauty of eGullet, but still the restaurant really should be broadcasting that information.

i appreciate the points you have made. again though, the chef's name is always mentioned...regardless the impression made. it is somehow required of the reviewer.

i guess the pastry chef's name isn't always on the menu (and some of the other stuff, like signing menus, etc.) due to the size of the savory chef's ego :blink: and/or the pastry chef's misunderstanding of how things work in order to further their career.

that said, i don't think mentioning the pastry chef's name is just "furthering the cause of pastry chefs". i believe it is just as important in a review to find out or even point out that desserts aren't made in house. i guess for me it is just in the interest of full disclosure.

and on with the discussion of per se... :smile:

p.s. unfortunately, i didn't win the $222mil mega millions, so i won't be eating at per se any time in the near future :biggrin:

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the chef's name is always mentioned...regardless the impression made. it is somehow required of the reviewer.

As the chief executive, the chef gets the blame for everything, including the desserts if they suck. Show me a restaurant where the chef doesn't have to approve every dessert; show me a restaurant where the pastry chef gets to have approval authority over a single savory course. They're not co-chefs. For better or worse, that's reality.

I'd be happy to continue this discussion on a different thread; this one is going to get very long just with Per Se discussion so the NY forum hosting team is asking that posts remain focused on discussion of dining at Per Se.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Does anyone know if they are offering a wine pairing with their tasting menus?

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I was there last night. :shock:

Well, not at Per Se, but at the Time Warner Center. The place smelled charred (if you've ever been in a fire you'll know what I'm talking about.) We actually went up to the fourth floor. Things were hopping at Stone Rose. But Per Se was cordoned off. We walked up to the guys and asked if we could walk in and take a look but they told us the restaurant was closed. Didn't explain about the fire, though. I learned about it this morning.

I also got a chance to check out the menus at Bar Masa and Cafe Gray. Although they say Cafe Gray is to open in March, it doesn't look ready at all (one of my friends opened the door and peaked in).


Edited by bloviatrix (log)

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Off the subject of Per Se for a moment...

I know Stephen Durfee left the Laundry a few years ago, but whatever became of him? Is he still working in the field or has he fled the restaurant biz. I much prefer his work and creativity to Rouxel's--and this is based on first hand taste testing.

Stephen Durfee teaches at CIA Greystone Campus in Napa Valley, CA.

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By the way, the NY Times put the article about the fire on the front page.

Not in the Florida edition. Robyn

Hey, I'm a New Yorker. As far as I'm concerned, that's the only edition that matters.

:raz::laugh:


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Hey, rich, can we have the description of the food now?


If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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March 11 reservation, RIP.

Yeah, Rich, we need to hear those details from you. Anybody who actually managed to dine at Per Se before the fire, your stock is skyrocketing -- please tell all . . .


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG, thanks for sharing that background about Benno. Other than the time he spent at FL I didn't know anything about him. Any other bits you can share?


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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FG,

You should start a thread about going "off-menu" in a high end place. This is where they take the goodies out of the fridge that they were saving for their friends. Costs a lot, though.


Mark

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