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oakapple

Per Se

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Admin: Archived discussion on Per Se from previous years may be found here.

By industry standards $250 seems about right for the meal and experience you get at Per Se. The restaurant was an inexplicable bargain when it opened, and has now adjusted up closer to what it's worth, i.e., same as Ducasse. So now, if you want a bargain, walk across the street to Jean Georges where the dinner tasting menu is $125 -- half the price for seven eighths of the experience -- and lunch can be had for like forty bucks.

There is one other piece of related news. Effective January 10th, the seven-course menu will no longer be available. Your only choices will be the 9-course chef's tasting or the 9-course tasting of vegetables.

The third menu at Per Se has gone through several iterations. When the restaurant opened, it was a five-course menu at $125, with several options for each course. The vegetarian menu was $135, and the chef's tasting was $150. At some point, both nine-course menus went up to $175, and the five-course menu became a seven-course menu—also, I think, at $175.

The increase to $210 didn't have much practical effect, because it included service, and $210 is just $175 plus 20%. But taken together, these increases are pretty steep. When Per Se opened, you could order the five-course menu for $125. Assuming a 20% tip, the entry-level price was $150 before beverages. It's now $250, which is a 66% increase in about three years.

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I think Per Se is a a superb restaurant, but the new level of pricing is more than I currently care to pay for that experience. It is not that it is not necessarily worth it, but at that price point I would prefer to spend my limited dollars at other restaurants priced similarly or less. I have no doubt, however, that they will continue to function very well despite that. :wink:

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I went the second night it was open (2/17/94) and I had a half bottle of champagne and full bottle of red with dinner, had the nine-course menu with supplements, left a 25% tip and the bill was about $650. I got away cheap and that was before I signed my multi-year contract to play for the Yankees.

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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 :biggrin:

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. :biggrin:

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.

gallery_6080_4187_5785.jpg

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. :biggrin:

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!

gallery_6080_4187_38287.jpg

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:

gallery_6080_4187_3000.jpg

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

gallery_6080_4187_24875.jpg

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!

gallery_6080_4187_6629.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_30565.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_36859.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_26924.jpg

Finally winding down, (or so I thought), the cheese course came.

gallery_6080_4187_1255.jpg

Then a lovely Mandarin sorbet:

gallery_6080_4187_31352.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_1750.jpg

gallery_6080_4187_66615.jpg

Obviously they thought we hadn't had enough, so that brought out this very whimsical "coffee and donuts:

gallery_6080_4187_51029.jpg

And finally, truffles. Oy.

gallery_6080_4187_58084.jpg

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!

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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 :biggrin:

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. :biggrin:

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.

gallery_6080_4187_5785.jpg

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. :biggrin:

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!

gallery_6080_4187_38287.jpg

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:

gallery_6080_4187_3000.jpg

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

gallery_6080_4187_24875.jpg

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!

gallery_6080_4187_6629.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_30565.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_36859.jpg

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. 

gallery_6080_4187_26924.jpg

Finally winding down, (or so I thought),  the cheese course came. 

gallery_6080_4187_1255.jpg

Then a lovely Mandarin sorbet:

gallery_6080_4187_31352.jpg

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.

gallery_6080_4187_1750.jpg

gallery_6080_4187_66615.jpg

Obviously they thought we hadn't had enough, so that brought out this very whimsical "coffee and donuts:

gallery_6080_4187_51029.jpg

And finally, truffles.  Oy.

gallery_6080_4187_58084.jpg

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!

It looks like they've gone the way of Bouley, small, savory courses and fill you with the desserts and the end. I'd still be hungry after that meal although it looks very enticing.

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It looks like they've gone the way of Bouley, small, savory courses and fill you with the desserts and the end. I'd still be hungry after that meal although it looks very enticing.

From the photos, Per Se seems to be serving the same type of 9-course tasting menu that they and The French Laundry always did. At restaurants in this class, it seems the sweets at the end are always more than any normal human can eat.

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I remember the first full-bore degustation menu I ever had. It was at (pre-3-star) Guy Savoy in Paris. When we got to the fourth or fifth dessert course, I was ready to dive under the table to hide from the waiters.

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I remember the first full-bore degustation menu I ever had.  It was at (pre-3-star) Guy Savoy in Paris.  When we got to the fourth or fifth dessert course, I was ready to dive under the table to hide from the waiters.

Sneakeater,

I also had the degustation at Guy Savoy when they were 2 stars. We counted 7 separate sweet courses. I was dying. The number of courses has halved and the price has doubled since they got their third star though. So don't worry about your next trip.

It seems like Per Se is going the other way though.

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The first time we went to the French Laundry, we left feeling like we were going to explode. Then, the first time we went to Per Se, we went prepared (we thought). But then we ordered the 1x1 tasting, and the food kept coming forever, and I think we did explode.

There's a little less food now, which is good, but anyone who thinks they'd eat there and walk away hungry is either crazy or needs to have their stomach stapled.

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i have to really twist my wife's arm to go. just too much food for her (she thinks, until she's there). and we took my 24-year-old daughter to per se for my 50th dinner and thomas really laid it all out. the next mornign she said she'd had dreams all night of standing at a restaurant pass with plates of food coming at her, one after another.

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We had a great time this past Monday night for my 30th Birthday. We arrived about a hour early of our 9:15 reservation and were seated in the lounge. Our party was escorted to the table about fifteen minutes later. We all had different cocktails to begin: one apple martini their way with julienne apples, apple juice, brandy, vodka etc, one per se cocktail of vodka, grand marnier, brandy, and grape juice, and two kir royale with fresh currant flavoring. All three were excellent, but my cocktail can put anyone on their butts. This was the beginning of the meal.

We received gourges (profiteroles) with gruyere mornay sauce in the center. Then we got the traditional salmon coronets with the sesame seed tuilles. Very yummy indeed. :biggrin: We all ordered the nine course tasting with choices in three categories, which I will discuss later.

The first course was the oyster and pearls with sabayon and caviar, which was outstanding. :biggrin: Before receiving our second course on the menu, we were presented Nantucket Bay Scallops with yuzu. Then, they served us a sardine with romesco sauce and basil oil. We ordered two bottles of wine: an Austrian white like a riesling and an Oregon Pinot Noir.

The second course was a choice between foie gras ($30 supp) or creamy white asparagus soup. Two of us had foie and two of us soup. The foie gras is always great, with the toasted brioche and its replacement after one. But this time the asparagus soup made me almost fall off my chair with the texture, flavor, and black truffles. :shock: They said rissotto rice was the key according to the staff. Good idea!

The third course was a choice between sturgeon or roasted turbot for two. We all had the turbot with crispy roe and gribache sauce (like a tartar sauce). Fish and chips anyone. Very tasty indeed.

The fourth course was butter poached lobster with bacon, potato, broccoli, and black truffle emulsion. It was very tender and delicious with all the above accompanients.

The fifth course was quail wrapped in netting, kind of like a little drumstick. It was served with rhubarb, parsnips, mache and foie gras sauce. It was good.

The sixth course was a choice between rack of lamb or waguyu beef (another $100 supplement) :huh: . I had the Kobe beef while the others had rack of lamb. The beef melted in my mouth and was cooked and seasoned perfectly. It better be for that price! But it's my birthday and I'll eat what I want too :laugh:

The seventh course was acorilhas cheese with eggplant and croutons. It was good cheese served at room temperature with accompanying breads.

The eight course was pineapple sorbet with compressed pineapple, passion fruit nuage, and shaved coconut. My favorite dessert combination: pina colada :cool:

Finally, we got a chocolate concoction with milk chocolate cream, hazlenut strusel, condensed milk sorbet and sweet salty hazlenuts. Delicious! Just when you think the meal is over, think again. Next came mini creme brulees and yogurt pot du creme custard with cherries. Umm ummm! Then comes a metal platter with chocolates: root beer, pistachio, vanilla, ginger caramel to name some. Espresso, coffees, and cappucinnos end the meal. We were given bags of three meringues to go.

By the way, Happy 30th Birthday Adam was printed on the menus. Nice touch again. My mom forgot her glasses and was telling us in conversation to read some of the menu to her. Within two minutes, three pair of glasses appear in a folded napkin on a tray with different sizes and prescriptions presented to the right. The only negatives if I had to say anything, was the misplacement of two utensils for foie gras and soup between my mom and our friend. It was immediatley fixed before the arrival of the course. Also were not given any more bread after the first time, not that I needed any more. Finally, another cappucinno sir? Sure, I said. Never got it. That's ok. I was done at that point. Other than those little glitches, the evening was a huge hit. Make reservations and save up the money.

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Anyone been lately for lunch? I can't be bothered to go through the calling for 2 month in advance dinner reservations, but I would like to try the place if the lunch experience is comparable.

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I believe it's exactly the same menu.

It's also apparently just about as difficult to secure a reservation.

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I believe it's exactly the same menu.

It's also apparently just about as difficult to secure a reservation.

Very true.

Though, from what I've hear, they have more cancellations at lunch, so it's a better waiting list to join...a few of my friends have eaten there that way on short notice.

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Tired of dealing with the two-months-ahead reservation policy, the early 5:30 and the late 10:30 reservations? Just do what I did last week.

Walk in at 7pm and try your luck at landing a table.

Worked for me.

My sister had never done a tasting menu, so to celebrate her graduation from med school and mine from Columbia, she chose Per Se. The day before, no less. :raz: I got frustrated with the process of trying to jump through enough hoops for the cancellation list to yield us a spot, so I decided we'd walk in and see what we might work out. Nothing to lose, really. And it fell right into place. Lovely corner banquette on the upper level. A glass of champagne to toast the occasion. And with that, the feast began.

She absolutely loved it, so I was really happy with that. She was really blown away by the Columbia River sturgeon dish in particular, remarking that if fish were always cooked like that, she'd eat more of it. She was not really a fan of the oysters and pearls. Guess that salted butter flavor doesn't do it for everyone. :biggrin:

It was my third visit to Per Se, and I enjoyed it once again, though I didn't have that one particular dish that really stuck out in my mind as being incredible (on my two previous visits, these dishes had been a foie gras torchon with rhubarb gelee, and a butternut squash agnolotti, respectively.) Will I be back? Yep. In a couple of weeks, in fact, my friend will have a private party there. So I'm definitely looking forward to that. With my move out to California in the fall, though, looks like I need to pay a visit to a certain place in Yountville sometime relatively soon.

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You are sooo damn lucky. I'm almost resentful. What'd you say to get in and what was your backup plan if they said no?

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You are sooo damn lucky.  I'm almost resentful.  What'd you say to get in and what was your backup plan if they said no?

Bouchon Bakery? Landmarc? :laugh:

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You are sooo damn lucky.  I'm almost resentful.  What'd you say to get in and what was your backup plan if they said no?

I don't remember the specifics, but I think the exchange went something like this:

Me: Hi, my name is tupac. I called earlier today to place my name on the waiting list, but I didn't have cell phone reception as I was traveling for much of the day, so I was unable to receive a call back if there was one. I was just wondering if an opportunity may have come up or not...

Hostess: Well, it looks like all our tables are confirmed for this evening. I'm sorry. But you never know, sometimes the later 10 and 1030 reservations become freed up. Is there any time past which it would not be okay to call you? 11? 1130?

Me: (hesitatingly) Well, I suppose not.

Hostess: Okay, we've got your contact info, right? Give it to me one more time, just to be sure.

Me: Sure, name is....

Random guy walking up behind the hostess: Actually, are you hungry now? I think we've got something for you. Right this way...

This guy swooped in out of nowhere, put his hand on the hostess' shoulder, basically telling her "I'll take it from here." And that was that. I can't really attribute it to anything but some crazy luck. Sometimes, things just fall into place, and this was definitely one of those times.

I had to go in with the mindset that there was no back-up, so as to avoid sounding like a bumbling idiot when pleading my case.

But of course, there was a back-up plan. Coin toss between Eleven Madison Park and Cru, which were the other menus my sister seemed to favor. We had reservations at both, which I promptly canceled once the Per Se gods smiled upon us.

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Anyone know how much the wne flights to match each couse are? Is there more than one option if you choose to do it this way or would i be better ordering 1/2 bottles etc...?

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Anyone know how much the wne flights to match each couse are? Is there more than one option if you choose to do it this way or would i be better ordering 1/2 bottles etc...?

My most recent experience with it was 15 months ago. The server fumbled the ball, but luckily the sommelier recovered.

My friend and I asked for a wine pairing at $150 per person. The server replied, with a somewhat haughty tone, "We normally sell the wine pairing at the price of the menu." At the time, I believe that would have been $225 pp (it's now $250). He added, "Perhaps a couple of half-bottles....?"

We didn't accept that, and asked to speak to the sommelier. He said, "I can do it for $150, as long as you'll allow me to go anywhere I want." It was a peculiar condition, as it's normal for wine pairings to go "wherever the sommelier wants." So we agreed to that, and he did a terrific job. I think our only request was that we wanted a sauterne with the foie gras, which he duly provided. We had no complaints with the pairings whatsoever, except for the peculiar negotiation it took to get us there.

Obviously you're not going to get the same wines at $150 that you'd get at $250, but I don't think Per Se stocks junk wines. Anything they have in stock is going to be pretty good. I don't think two half-bottles would have been better. I'm going to Per Se again next month, so I'll have a new data point to work with.


Edited by oakapple (log)

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Thanks oakapple, am booked in next week and $150 was pretty much what i had in mind..Will let you know how I get on!

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Got a res for 5:30 on October 6th. Real excited. Just out of curiosity, what is the cancellation policy for one person? I understood $150 per person cancellation fee. Is there a time (48 hours) associated with this? For instance if I found out this week my wife couldn't go, would we have to pay or still be in the clear as long as we let them know? Thanks.

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Got a res for 5:30 on October 6th.  Real excited.  Just out of curiosity, what is the cancellation policy for one person?  I understood $150 per person cancellation fee.  Is there a time (48 hours) associated with this?  For instance if I found out this week my wife couldn't go, would we have to pay or still be in the clear as long as we let them know?  Thanks.

When I recently made a reservation for Sept. 18 they told me to cancel at least 7 days prior to avoid the fee.

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