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Per Se


rich
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Admin: you may note that a certain discussion has been excised from this thread. This thread is for discussing Per Se and the food at Per Se, and I would kindly ask that it remain on that topic. It is not for metadiscussion as to who is qualified to have which opinions, etc.

If you would like to have that discussion, I invite you to direct your attention to the "New Topic" button at the top of the page. Anyone who would like their excised material forwarded to them for inclusion in such a thread may contact me via PM.

Now, returning to your regularly scheduled discussion about Per Se... :smile:

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Back to the food.......... I had read in a chowhound review posted today about subsititutions - the writer indicated the staff was very accomodating to changes on the tasting menu. He also mentioned that they went so far as to allow 2 diners to ensure that they each received a different dish for each course. My companion and I love to share and trade plates. Has anyone else had this experience at Per Se or French Laundry? Is it possible to get 2 different tasting menus for the table to avoid repitition?

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they do seem to take a masochistic thrill in this. i've been at a table for 5 where almost every course each diner got a different dish, usually grouped around some sort of theme. i particularly remember one that was "battle lobster", where each dish showed off a different aspect of lobster flavor or texture. really a tour de force.

Edited by russ parsons (log)
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FL has always been extremely accomodating to diners and allow them to mix and match courses as they wish. As Russ says, they actually seem get happily excited when you make changes. The last time I was there, there was a braised short rib on the tasting menu that wasn't on the 5-course menu. I really wanted it, and when I asked, they said it was no problem at all. They even offered to give me more short rib than what was being served for the tasting.

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We had the opposite experience at French Laundry: there was one course on the tasting that my wife didn't want -- one of the meat courses -- and she wanted to substitute something else for it. There was a tuna dish on the five-course that looked like it would make a good substitution but the waiter was very resistant to making the change. We asked him to ask the kitchen, and he came back and suggested a pasta instead. So I said, if it's a question of the dish being more expensive, we'll gladly pay an upgrade fee, and if it's a question of low inventory we'll gladly shut up, but if the dish is available what possible reason could you have for not accommodating us? He returned to the kitchen and came back with the report that it's a large portion and "Thomas doesn't like to waste food." Had I known how tiny the portions are at French Laundry, I'd have laughed in his face right then, but instead we said fine, just bring the tasting without any alterations. Later, when that course rolled around, the tuna dish came out. The portion turned out to be maybe 50% larger than the tasting-menu portions: six bites instead of four. Whatever. To the extent this is a thread about Per Se, I'm not sure if French Laundry experience is relevant, and when I dined at Per Se they seemed entirely accommodating, so it was probably a communication glitch of some sort, or a new waiter.

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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New Yorkers or not, can you really get too worked up over the generalization that such a restaurant might frown upon reconfiguring the chefs tasting menu? If you want it your way why not go with the ala carte menu like so many other people do in most restaurants?

As it pertains to New York in particular, a majority of the restaurants that I am familiar with request that the majority of/or the entire table order the tasting menu. I think that what TFL and now Per Se does in regard to parallel menus and special substitutions is pretty admirable. The Cooks Tour Epsidose a few years ago is a true testament to that. For example, Eric Ripert was blown away by their four way menu and commented on how daring it was for a chef to attempt such a thing.

It does sound like the tuna substitution that Fat Guy previously mentioned at FL was a definitely some sort of a glitch, these guys are known for being more then flexible when it comes to accommodating and I think that it is pretty incredible.

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HELP! PER SE Res to TRADE: 9:00pm tomorrow for 4!!!

I had a reservation at Per Se for a Saturday night before the fire. It was rescheduled for tomorrow night, Saturday May 15, at 9:00pm for four people. Unfortunately, due to a last-minute unavoidable crisis I cannot use the reservation! Instead of just giving it up and waiting at least two more months, I am hoping that somebody who has an upcoming reservation would rather use this one. Anyone who is interested, please call me at 202 302-3161 as soon as possible. Thanks!

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It does sound like the tuna substitution that Fat Guy previously mentioned at FL was a definitely some sort of a glitch, these guys are known for being more then flexible when it comes to accommodating and I think that it is pretty incredible.

When my husband didn't eat a dish at the FL (he wasn't feeling well) our waiter asked him, point blank, "There are dozens of chefs in the kitchen who will make anything you would like, are you sure there is nothing you would prefer?"

We were stunned. I would expect Per Se to be just as accomodating.

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I called May 12 about 3:00 p.m. (five hours after the phone lines opened that day, and got through within one minute) for a July 12 reservation for four (wife's birthday). Was offered a 10:00 p.m. but that would be too late simply because it would mean a five-hour wait in the city or traveling back and forth to Staten Island twice. I asked about something in the 7-8 p.m. frame and was told they would put me on a waiting list.

After I gave them my name, the reservationist said "...oh you were here on Feb. 17th for your 25th Anniversary. We will make every effort to accommodate you. We'll let you know about an earlier time as soon as possible."

I thought that was nice. I do have a backup at Bouley for 7:30. I may be wrong, but I think I will get something earlier - just a feeling.

Rich Schulhoff

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

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HELP! PER SE Res to TRADE: 9:00pm tomorrow for 4!!!

I had a reservation at Per Se for a Saturday night before the fire. It was rescheduled for tomorrow night, Saturday May 15, at 9:00pm for four people. Unfortunately, due to a last-minute unavoidable crisis I cannot use the reservation! Instead of just giving it up and waiting at least two more months, I am hoping that somebody who has an upcoming reservation would rather use this one. Anyone who is interested, please call me at 202 302-3161 as soon as possible. Thanks!

Welcome, jmax.

I hope that your crisis isn't serious and that you can work a reservation switch. I also hope that when you do get to Per Se, you'll share your experience here.

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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At the risk of asking a relatively straightforward question in the midst of all of the more metaphysical hand-wringing on this thread... does anyone here remember offhand whether Per Se's confirmation policy is 2 or 3 days prior to the reservation? Like an idiot, I have lost the piece of paper on which I jotted it down, and their website is singularly unhelpful on the topic.

I know that this was already answered, but its two days. here is the confirmation number 1-877-825-9335

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HELP! PER SE Res to TRADE: 9:00pm tomorrow for 4!!!

I had a reservation at Per Se for a Saturday night before the fire. It was rescheduled for tomorrow night, Saturday May 15, at 9:00pm for four people. Unfortunately, due to a last-minute unavoidable crisis I cannot use the reservation! Instead of just giving it up and waiting at least two more months, I am hoping that somebody who has an upcoming reservation would rather use this one. Anyone who is interested, please call me at 202 302-3161 as soon as possible. Thanks!

Welcome, jmax.

I hope that your crisis isn't serious and that you can work a reservation switch. I also hope that when you do get to Per Se, you'll share your experience here.

The switching could be a bit tricky. Make sure you tell the other party to use your name and then you will need to use their name when you get to the restaurant.

And if the other couple is arriving separately, make sure they use the other person's name as well.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

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

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I actually figured if I found someone who was interested in switching I would just call the restaurant and let them know. When I spoke to them yesterday, they were very nice - and even said they weren't worried about a last-minute cancellation because they have such an extensive waiting list.

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jmax, I think that's the right thing to do. I'd rather not see eGullet develop into a reservations-swap service, especially if it encourages people to lie about their identities in order to get into restaurants.

A lengthy treatment of Per Se in today's New York Magazine:

http://nymetro.com/nymetro/food/industry/features/n_10410/

Most of this information has been printed several times already, but there are a few interesting tidbits, particularly the VIP comments towards the end.

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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It's interesting how open he is about the VIP thing which always seems to be a secret and which often upsets people who aren't VIPs. I had someone tell me that dinner at a certain other fine restaurant in NYC, was the best she's eaten in NY and that she thought it a very fair value for the money. In fact it was as good a value for that price as she's ever had in NY, but that she won't return because there was another table that got special treatment.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I had someone tell me that dinner at a certain other fine restaurant in NYC, was the best she's eaten in NY and that she thought it a very fair value for the money. In fact it was as good a value for that price as she's ever had in NY, but that she won't return because there was another table that got special treatment.

Let me get this straight, she won't go back because she had the best dinner she's eaten and won't go back because she didn't get special treatment? Strange. Customers never fail to surprise me.

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I'm with you. I often eat in restaurants where regulars, visiting chefs, etc. get better treatment than I do. I'm pleased for every favor shown to me and if none is coming I'm pleased to get a good meal for the price and don't concern myself about favors done for others.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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At a place like French Laundry or Per Se, where the baseline standard is so high, you shouldn't even want a VIP meal until you've made your way through the normal menus. The items offered on the menus represent the foundation of the chef's cuisine.

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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I think there are different kinds of VIP treatment and different restaurants do different things for different kinds of VIPs. Daniel used to send out a basket of madeleines to VIP tables, but when Time Out featured them in a side bar on the restaurant pages, they wisely decided to send them to all tables. I'm not sure what, if anything, was added for VIPs. Mrs. B likes to spot the number of amuses that go to a table. The assumption being that the VIP table will get more, but across a large dining room, it's hard to spot who's getting a little herring roe and who's getting a healthy dollop of caviar on their canape.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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This thread is better than Jane Austen.

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I thought maybe this had been answered earlier in the thread, but I can't see it.

Does anyone know if Per Se allows various people at the table to take tasting menus while others enjoy the 5-course prix fixe?

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