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Per Se


oakapple
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Well,

Just found out that my wife made us some reservations during our next trip to NYC. We are usually down every few months, but I've been meaning to get to Per Se since it opened. Can not wait.

There was only a 4 top available, so we had to find another couple. I don't know if it's the economy or just timing, it wasn't that easy to find two friends who were interested. Two finally came through (whew!).

Eaten at FL, and Bouchon Vegas. Am really excited for per se.

Anyway, no real input, just wanted to share.

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It's interesting that per se is allowing an ala carte option now. I have a res for april 3rd that I am very much looking forward to (despite only cooking two UP recipes so far....... I'm a slacker) but I really can't wait to repeat the best dining experience of my life.

My only concern is that if they offer ala carte on the night I am there that the switch up doesn't affect the quality of the tasting menu, I really don't see that happening but who knows when new things get introduced.

Sous Vide Or Not Sous Vide - My sous vide blog where I attempt to cook every recipe in Under Pressure.
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It's interesting that per se is allowing an ala carte option now.

My only concern is that if they offer ala carte on the night I am there that the switch up doesn't affect the quality of the tasting menu, I really don't see that happening but who knows when new things get introduced.

You shouldn't worry about that I don't think, Per Se as you experienced it in previous visits is NOT offering an ala carte menu option. Despite what Eater and the rest of them are SHOCKED, AMAZED etc... to "report", Per Se is the same restaurant as it's always been. 9 course tasting menus, with a 5 course tasting option for lunch.

The only thing that's changed is that the lounge area OUTSIDE the dining room (which I'm guessing was formerly limited to those with reservations?) now allows people without reservations to stop by, order food and drinks and mingle on the couches. I'm guessing this is close to a non-event as far as the kitchen is concerned, preparing a single extra course here and there off the menu for a restaurant that's staffed to prepare double digit courses for 60+ diners a turn should be trivial. I'm guessing it's the servers and bartenders that are seeing the effect of the changes, especially the latter.

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The only thing that's changed is that the lounge area OUTSIDE the dining room (which I'm guessing was formerly limited to those with reservations?) now allows people without reservations to stop by, order food and drinks and mingle on the couches.  I'm guessing this is close to a non-event as far as the kitchen is concerned, preparing a single extra course here and there off the menu for a restaurant that's staffed to prepare double digit courses for 60+ diners a turn should be trivial.  I'm guessing it's the servers and bartenders that are seeing the effect of the changes, especially the latter.

As long as you were properly dressed, it was always possible to stop by Per Se and have a drink in the lounge, regardless of your reservation status.

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The only thing that's changed is that the lounge area OUTSIDE the dining room (which I'm guessing was formerly limited to those with reservations?) now allows people without reservations to stop by, order food and drinks and mingle on the couches.  I'm guessing this is close to a non-event as far as the kitchen is concerned, preparing a single extra course here and there off the menu for a restaurant that's staffed to prepare double digit courses for 60+ diners a turn should be trivial.  I'm guessing it's the servers and bartenders that are seeing the effect of the changes, especially the latter.

As long as you were properly dressed, it was always possible to stop by Per Se and have a drink in the lounge, regardless of your reservation status.

Unless I'm mistaken, lounge visitors (i.e. Those without a reservation dropping in for a drink) were not able to order food in the past, whereas, henceforth, they shall be able to do so. For the Keller cult, this IS/SHOULD BE big news.

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Unless I'm mistaken, lounge visitors (i.e. Those without a reservation dropping in for a drink) were not able to order food in the past, whereas, henceforth, they shall be able to do so.  For the Keller cult, this IS/SHOULD BE big news.

You are not mistaken. No food was offered in the lounge. THough, I have been offered some canapes when I have gone in for an aperitif and truffles when I have had a desert wine. I am looking forward to seeing what the a la carte options are. Might be a nice change of pace from Jean Georges for me.

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They are apparently starting for the public tonight.

I walked into Per Se this evening and looked at the lounge menu: They are about 8-10 options, with one cheese selection, a selection of sorbets, and one desert. I would bet that a meal would probably start with the gougeres and the salmon cornet as well. The prices varied between $25-50. The foie was about $48. Unfortunately, I didn't ask portion size but plan on eating in the lounge sometime in the next week.

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I walked into Per Se this evening and looked at the lounge menu: They are about 8-10 options, with one cheese selection, a selection of sorbets, and one desert. I would bet that a meal would probably start with the gougeres and the salmon cornet as well. The prices varied between $25-50. The foie was about $48. Unfortunately, I didn't ask portion size but plan on eating in the lounge sometime in the next week.

According to Frank Bruni, the portions “like most of the tasting menu’s, will be slightly larger than appetizers but much smaller than conventional entrees.” If that holds up, it suggests that you probably need to spend around $100 to get something resembling a full meal. That's not bad compared to the dining room, but it means that Per Se remains a pretty expensive place, even in the "salon."

Bruni got a couple of other tidbits in an interview with Keller. The salon won't take reservations initially, but that “could change quickly, though, he said. The restaurant is waiting to see how much traffic it gets for the salon menu, at what pace, etc..”

He also mentions that Per Se has been hit a lot harder than the French Laundry. That's because private dining was always a big part of Per Se's business model, but not so much at the French Laundry. Although tables at Per Se are no longer hard to come by, my sense is that the main dining room is still full most of the time.

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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

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Then a lovely Mandarin sorbet:

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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.

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

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And finally, truffles.  Oy.

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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.

This is totally French Laundry - lots of the same dishes, like the amuse, oysters and pearls and coffee and doughnuts.

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The Salon Menu is now included in their daily online posted menu:

http://www.tkrg.org/upload/ps_menu.pdf

For example, March 27th Salon Menu:

SALON MENU

March 27, 2009

___________________________________________________________

RUSSET POTATO GNOCCHI

Fava Beans and Pea Tendrils

with "Cacio e Pepe"

26.

TERRINE OF HUDSON VALLEY MOULARD DUCK FOIE GRAS

Duck Consommé "en Gelée," Slow Baked Beets, Red Ribbon Sorrel,

Meiwa Kumquat Coulis and Sicilian Pistachios with Toasted Brioche

40.

____________________

ANSON MILLS’ WHITE POLENTA "AGNOLOTTI"

Violet Artichokes, Garlic Chips and Wilted Dandelion Greens

with Green Garlic "Pudding"

28.

PAN ROASTED MAINE SEA SCALLOP

Tamari Glazed Abalone Mushroom, English Peas

and Confit of Turnips with Pea Tendrils

40.

____________________

LIBERTY FARM’S PEKIN DUCK BREAST

Vidalia Onion "Vermicelli" and Stinging Nettles

with "Sauce Périgourdine"

38.

SNAKE RIVER FARM’S "CALOTTE DE BŒUF GRILLÉE"

Ragoût of Forest Mushrooms, Confit of La Ratte Fingerling Potatoes,

Glazed Black Knight Carrots and Watercress Leaves with "Sauce Bordelaise"

46.

____________________

"THE CHEESE COURSE"

Selles-sur-Cher, Fromage de Meaux, La Serena and Tuxford & Tebbutt’s Stilton

Caponata, Spiced Marcona Almonds, Granny Smith Apple Marmalade

and Black Winter Truffle Honey

24.

"SÉLECTION DE SORBETS MAISON"

Coconut, Chocolate, Banana and Buttermilk-Thyme

12.

"BOMBE AU PAMPLEMOUSSE"

Chocolate "Roulade," Manjari Chocolate Mousse

and Grapefruit Curd with Pink Grapefruit Ice Cream

14.

"MIGNARDISES"

SERVICE INCLUDED

The Duck Breast, Calottes & Sorbet Selection are not on the regular menu, but the rest are.

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In January, a few of us were at a dinner, and proposed a weekend trip to New York to go dine at Per Se. Since we already had three couples, it was fairly easy to get two more and take advantage of the private dining option at Per Se. Now, it's not that hard to get a reservation, but previously it used to be a bit of a nightmare. Private dining allows you to skip the two month reservation rule, as long as you have 10 people.

The private dining coordinator was a pleasure to deal with and took note of any special requirements our group had. Now onto the food--we started with the typical amuse bouches of salmon cornets and grougeres. One member of our party, who wasn't eating fish, was offered a beet and horseradish creme fraiche.

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Next, was the classic oysters and pearls. This dish works on so many levels. The healthy dose of caviar works as well. The alternative dish, which I don't have on a menu was some sort of lettuce soup--perhaps Percy can fill in details on that one.

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We had a special treat from the chef--Thanks Benno!! This was the white truffle custard with black truffle ragout, with a chive potato chip. Umami heaven..

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At this point we switched to 1988 Chateau Rabaud Promis Sauternes (those of us with the foie anyway)--the corkage at Per Se is a steep $90, but if you have nice wines, it's a bargain compared to some parts of their list.

This was followed by either the terrine of foie with duck consomme en gelee, beets (Which were amazing) Kumquat coulis, or the salad of compressed red endive leaves. I had the foie, which was excellent as usual. Brioche was replaced, right when you were expecting it. The salad was a great presentation and tasted good according to those who had it.

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The next wine we had was the Porter Creek "George's Hill" chardonnay.

Our next dish, was the tartare of Australian Hiramusa (aka Kingfish) it was served with Koshihikari sushi rice and apple-miso puree. I later learned how complex this dish was--the tartare has about 12 ingredients. Perfect balance.

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The lobster was next, and we were in for an early spring treat, as it was served with English Peas, and a morel sauce. These were the lobster mitts..

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We switched to an outstanding wine, that a member of our party so graciously brought--thanks Brian!! A 1970 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou.

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The next course was a jambonette of quail, the leg stuffed inside of the breast, and wrapped in caul fat. Perfectly prepared. Served with a round of potato rolled in bacon.

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This was followed by a tenderloin of veal with a sweetbread raviolo, the waiter revealed the tenderloin was cooked sous vide at 61 degrees C.

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The cheese course was a brune--served with lovely sweet peppers, and a picholine olive tapenade.

Our sorbet was a coconut sorbet--I had a similar one at Le Bernadin last month--they were very similar, and I now have a new favorite sorbet.

My wife is a type 1 diabetic, so they took care of her with a couple of additional cheese course--1 was a stilton, and the other one I forgot to note.

We were presented with an extra dessert--the girls got creme brulee, the boys got a yoghurt pot de creme with gingered honey. There was a bit too much honey for my liking, but this was still pretty awesome. My wife was offered an orange granita with no sugar added.

The selection of mignardises was bigger than last time. We were offered such chocolates as bacon, creme fraiche, and brown butter, in addition to the usual suspects.

To top everything off, when we were presented with cookies as parting gifts, except for my wife, who was presented with something that looked like a large french fry box, with the Per Se logo. Inside, was 4oz of popcorn, with some white truffle oil, and black truffle salt, along with instructions for its preparation.

That night we had a wonderful snack, after our wonderful meal.

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My wife and I will be celebrating our anniversary in a couple of weeks with lunch at Per Se.

Newbie question: will we want to even contemplate eating dinner that evening? We plan to go for the full 9-course experience and consider ourselves to be people of normal appetite (whatever that means).

BROG, a beer blog
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My wife and I will be celebrating our anniversary in a couple of weeks with lunch at Per Se. 

Newbie question:  will we want to even contemplate eating dinner that evening?  We plan to go for the full 9-course experience and consider ourselves to be people of normal appetite (whatever that means).

It's conceivable, depends on whether the thought of skipping a meal is foreign to you or not. Also matters some if you like to eat late and the time of your lunch reservation. If you take the last seating, you'll be sitting down at 1:30 and leaving just before 4:20 (staff meal time) stuffed. If eating at midnight is your thing, then by all means you'll be able to eat afterwards. I think I did this last time, we wound up at Balthazar for a (really f'ing good) burger just around midnight. If you go earlier, then you might be leaving at 3, at which point eating by say... 9 isn't a crazy idea.

They do give you florentines (haute take on a granola bar I suppose) when you leave, so you have something sweet to munch on later that evening if you don't mind the idea of skipping dinner.

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