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oakapple

Per Se

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The above dish sounds like it involved some strong competing flavors, namely bottarga, fennel, tarragon and saffron.  I'm curious how you felt those flavors both balanced and contrasted one another?  And--what did you think of the sweet flavor of the currants in the dish? 

There were several dishes in our progression that had uncharacteristically "loud" flavors for what I think of as Thomas Keller's cuisine. That's because we asked for them. In the pre-meal discussion of preferences, we indicated that we were interested in offal, strong flavors, etc. The kitchen responded with a spicy gazpacho, a fair amount of offal of both the land and the sea, and some pretty assertive flavor combinations that, based on my limited experience, are not typical for that kitchen.

That being said, the dish was very successful. The flavors didn't exactly compete. It's just that when you're trafficking in bottarga it's prone to overwhelm lesser flavors. So you need other assertive flavors to work with it. Fennel, peppers, tarragon, saffron and currants all fit the bill.

This dish was also a good illustration of how the scale of tasting-menu dishes, especially the early courses, allows for a different aesthetic. I would not have wanted a whole huge bowl of this dish. But as an amuse-style portion, it worked brilliantly. A few bites of strong, lively, unusual, interesting flavors, then on to the next thing.


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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Oh my God, I am now extremely jealous...that, even by TFL/Per Se standards, looks like an absolutely incredible meal. The mind boggles at what the tab would have been, but as I am sure you appreciate, you are a very lucky sod Stephen!

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I haven't been to Per Se in over three years (saving up for the down payment for my apartment and now the mortgage payment), but I splurged yesterday to take my mother and my sister to Per Se to celebrate my birthday and my mother's 85th birthday. What a sensational experience! My mother adored it, and hopes to make this an annual visit for her birthday. My mother is quite the seasoned gourmand having dined with me at Taillevent when she was younger and travelled with me to Paris. Her former favorite (and still one of her favorites) is EMP. Bouley and the former version of Aureole have also been among her favorites. I made the reservation two months ago (didn't want to risk not getting the reservation for her special day). I made a special note to the reservationist of the special birthdays, and on top of each page of the menu was a "Happy Birthday" note to both my mother and me (with our names!--very sweet and tickled my mom). I was thrilled that all of my favorites were on the menu (torchon of foie gras, lobster, duck, calotte de boeuf--I regularly check the Per Se website to see the daily menus). Of course the "oysters and pearls" were on the menu that everyone adored. New dessert: lemon meringue was perfect after all of the courses. We did receive an extra gift from the kitchen: truffled custard with chive potato chip served in an eggshell--really delicious. We didn't get the famous "coffee and donuts"-- we're not regulars (yet). All of the courses were wonderful. The foie gras torchon with huckleberries was lovely. Did add the sel gris, but didn't really need it. Loved how our waiter ran to the kitchen to check to make sure our Parkerhouse rolls were just coming out of the oven--they were melt in your mouth perfect. The halibut succotash was wonderful with the corn, peas, bacon and okra. The lobster caesar salad was great: softest and sweetest lobster; loved the roasted romaine lettuce. The pekin duck breast with cherries was also wonderful. The calotte de boeuf was melt in your mouth tender--my mother who now finds most beef (other than kobe or wagyu) too difficult to chew, adored being able to eat beef again. The cheese course was interesting (I like very few cheeses and mostly soft cow's milk; this was a hard cow's milk cheese); the cole slaw and mustard pain perdu were very tasty. We all chose the lemon meringue for dessert that was perfect and refreshing after a full meal. (Sorry I missed the peaches and cream dessert). My mom and my sister received the strawberry and yogurt pot de creme, while I received the creme brulee. Although the creme brulee was perfect, it did pale in comparison to the pot de creme (almost tempted to ask for it, and I'm sure my waiter would have indulged me). Chocolates, butterscotch caramels, truffles, nougats followed. My mother was so thrilled when we were offered a tour of the kitchen. Everyone was so incredibly kind and gracious to her; she felt like a queen!. Chef Benno was not in the kitchen last night, but I can't imagine anything being any better than it was. Service was flawless. The sommelier helped us pick the perfect German Riesling (and the least expensive of the three that I was considering). A new touch for us: we each received a copy of our menu in a folder (lovely souvenir) and a slice of cake (I gave my mother my cake since I'm back to Weight Watchers for the next 2 months). To sum up: a brilliant and memorable dinner for my mother's special day.


Edited by ellenost (log)

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I haven't been to Per Se in over three years (saving up for the down payment for my apartment and now the mortgage payment), but I splurged yesterday to take my mother and my sister to Per Se to celebrate my birthday and my mother's 85th birthday.  What a sensational experience!  My mother adored it, and hopes to make this an annual visit for her birthday.  My mother is quite the seasoned gourmand having dined with me at Taillevent when she was younger and travelled with me to Paris.  Her former favorite (and still one of her favorites) is EMP.  Bouley and the former version of Aureole have also been among her favorites.  I made the reservation two months ago (didn't want to risk not getting the reservation for her special day).  I made a special note to the reservationist of the special birthdays, and on top of each page of the menu was a "Happy Birthday" note to both my mother and me (with our names!--very sweet and tickled my mom).  I was thrilled that all of my favorites were on the menu (torchon of foie gras, lobster, duck, calotte de boeuf--I regularly check the Per Se website to see the daily menus).  Of course the "oysters and pearls" were on the menu that everyone adored.  New dessert: lemon meringue was perfect after all of the courses.  We did receive an extra gift from the kitchen: truffled custard with chive potato chip served in an eggshell--really delicious.  We didn't get the famous "coffee and donuts"-- we're not regulars (yet).  All of the courses were wonderful.  The foie gras torchon with huckleberries was lovely.  Did add the sel gris, but didn't really need it.  Loved how our waiter ran to the kitchen to check to make sure our Parkerhouse rolls were just coming out of the oven--they were  melt in your mouth perfect.  The halibut succotash was wonderful with the corn, peas, bacon and okra.  The lobster caesar salad was great:  softest and sweetest lobster; loved the roasted romaine lettuce.  The pekin duck breast with cherries was also wonderful.  The calotte de boeuf was melt in your mouth tender--my mother who now finds most beef (other than kobe or wagyu) too difficult to chew, adored being able to eat beef again.  The cheese course was interesting (I like very few cheeses and mostly soft cow's milk; this was a hard cow's milk cheese); the cole slaw and mustard pain perdu were very tasty.  We all chose the lemon meringue for dessert that was perfect and refreshing after a full meal.  (Sorry I missed the peaches and cream dessert).  My mom and my sister received the strawberry and yogurt pot de creme, while I received the creme brulee.  Although the creme brulee was perfect, it did pale in comparison to the pot de creme (almost tempted to ask for it, and I'm sure my waiter would have indulged me).  Chocolates, butterscotch caramels, truffles, nougats followed.  My mother was so thrilled when we were offered a tour of the kitchen.  Everyone was so incredibly kind and gracious to her; she felt like a queen!.  Chef Benno was not in the kitchen last night, but I can't imagine anything being any better than it was.  Service was flawless.  The sommelier helped us pick the perfect German Riesling (and the least expensive of the three that I was considering).  A new touch for us:  we each received a copy of our menu in a folder (lovely souvenir) and a slice of cake (I gave my mother my cake since I'm back to Weight Watchers for the next 2 months).  To sum up: a brilliant and memorable dinner for my mother's special day.

What a wonderful post...we now go to Per Se once a year for our Wedding Aniversary...and LOVE the experience every year...and we always request that our favorites are on the menu...What a wonderful way to celebrate your Mom's birthday, as well as your own. :biggrin::biggrin:

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How great, it's neat that you got a slice of cake as the take home.

:biggrin:

While it's wonderful when I go by myself, I am envious that you got to go with people, part of the experience is in sharing. I need more adventursome friends!

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Anyone going to this event? Thinking of going, but the wife isn't a beer fan. I checked this morning, and they still had seats, so hoping to still get in. PM me if you're thinking of going and want to meet up.

Per Se

September 18

10 Columbus Circle, 4th fl.

(60th St. at Broadway)

212-823-9335

Per Se is pleased to announce a unique evening featuring Brewmaster Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery on Friday, showcasing innovative concepts and approaches to beer and food pairing. Highlighting selections from Brooklyn Brewery's collection paired with a seven-course tasting menu created by Per Se Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Benno, Oliver will lead an informal discussion throughout the evening to discuss his techniques, influences as well as the fundamentals behind each pairing. Oliver will also debut new selections during the event, offering guests an opportunity to experience upcoming Brewery releases.

The evening will open with a standing reception beginning at 7pm, followed by a seated dinner.

$350 for Seven-course dinner paired with Brooklyn Brewery Beer

Tax and gratuity not included

Seating is limited to 60 guests with all reservation requests handled through Per Se's Private Dining Office, reachable by phone at 212-823-9349.

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Anyone going to this event? Thinking of going, but the wife isn't a beer fan. I checked this morning, and they still had seats, so hoping to still get in. PM me if you're thinking of going and want to meet up.

Damn it. Why did I have to be out of town for this.

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Before the summer, they had a series of great wine dinners for $275 each.

Given that wine is more expensive than beer, it seems hard to justify the extra $75.

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Yeah, that is a weird one.

The wine ones were $325, but included tip from the looks of it. These appear not to.


Edited by sickchangeup (log)

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They told me tonight that Chef Benno is leaving in January to open a restaurant in the LIncoln Center area. Chef Benno will be missed, but I am confident that Per Se will continue as a superb dining destination under Benno's able assistants.

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Does anyone think there's there a particularly good season to visit Per Se? Or is it all just personal taste? I assume it's an excellent meal year-round, but I'm wondering if any repeat diners think that the restaurant is notably stronger or weaker during a specific time of year. Thanks.

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Does anyone think there's there a particularly good season to visit Per Se? Or is it all just personal taste? I assume it's an excellent meal year-round, but I'm wondering if any repeat diners think that the restaurant is notably stronger or weaker during a specific time of year. Thanks.

I have never heard anyone suggest that the time of year mattered. If you're the kind of person who is going to love this type of restaurant, you will probably love it whenever go.

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I agree with Oakapple. Per Se consistently provides a superb dining experience year round. Perhaps, if you love truffles or game, the fall is the time to visit Per Se.

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I also agree, since the menu is primarily built on what is in season and/or at the market, it only matters if there are specific foods you are seeking.

I usually go in the Spring and Winter and they are both equally divine.

Although...Winters in the past have been a time when there have been additional menus, a few years ago there was a completely different Holiday Tasting and last year was an Offal.

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I'll be in NYC in a few weeks, and while there I'll be eating at Per Se with friends. This is my first visit to Per Se and I'm very much looking forward to it.

But... I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. Having never before had a food allergy or sensitivity of any kind, I'm still learning how to deal with this. I understand that they are very accommodating of gluten-free patrons, but what's the protocol? I gather that I shouldn't wait until I get there to tell them, but is it sufficient to let them know when calling a few days before to confirm the reservation? Should I (or the reservation holder) call earlier?


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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The way I see it, it can never hurt to give a restaurant notice of such issues as early as possible. That way, they can plan accordingly and on their own schedule. I'd have the reservation holder make a point of calling.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Thanks. I got a hold of some old Per Se menus to help me think about it. I probably won't be a frequent guest, so I really want to make sure I maximize my experience. I guess maybe Benno's departure might have some impact on my decision as well, but I can't imagine PS falling off the map.

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Call them now to discuss. The PerSe staff has probably had to respond to this issue before. Particularly with the all Veggie menu, you should have no problem having a wonderful time.

But perhaps I'm biased, ha ha.

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I used to go out with someone with celiac disease. The better the restaurant, the more willing they are to accomodate things like that.

By all means have the reservation-holder call as soon as possible. It's only polite to give them as much notice as possible.

It would be wrong, IMO, not to advise them of your condition. Why waste all that food? They will be happy to accomodate you. It's what they do.

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In the past few years, I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed by well regarded/high end restaurants. So many times I've been presented with gorgeous, creative food, but nothing that I crave later, or that I even would like seconds of. So I didn't really have really high expectations for Per Se for our visit over Labor Day weekend.

But it was spectacular. I would have liked seconds or thirds of everything. I can't wait to go again on our next trip.

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We have a reservation for Per Se on Halloween night. We're traveling with another couple from Paris just for the restaurant!

My boyfriend has all these food allergies, including peanuts, sesame and shellfish, I was just wondering if anyone has made such requests to the restaurant before and how did they accommodate?

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We have a reservation for Per Se on Halloween night. We're traveling with another couple from Paris just for the restaurant!

My boyfriend has all these food allergies, including peanuts, sesame and shellfish, I was just wondering if anyone has made such requests to the restaurant before and how did they accommodate?

Any restaurant on Per Se's level will accommodate those allergies. Given that there are so many of them, it would be a good idea to call in advance.

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Dear Miss D, I would call or write to Per Se and repeat where you are coming from and your problem...I bet they will be happy to accommodate your party. We have eaten there a number of wonderful times and have made certain requests. Enjoy, enjoy...and make certain to have a tour of the kitchen... :smile::biggrin:

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Miss D, I ate at PS for the first time a couple of nights ago. I'll post more details this weekend, but I wanted to say this: I have celiac disease and thus need gluten-free food. The person who made the reservation mentioned it when she called to confirm the reservation a few days before. After we had been seated and had discussed wine and such, someone asked us about allergies and preferences. I mentioned my gluten issue and she smiled and said, "Yes, your bread's in the oven." It was all beautifully handled and seamless, and the alternatives they brought me were excellent -- so much so that we joked that we should all make up different allergies next time so as to see what amazing treats the kitchen could improvise. (Not that we would actually do this, of course, but it was a fun idea.)

So here are my two pieces of advice: First, do tell them beforehand. And second, if while you are there anyone asks you something like, "Would you prefer X or Y or would you just like the kitchen to come up with something for you?"... choose the latter option. The dessert choices when we were there were PB&J and something else, I told them I'd go with whatever the kitchen thought best, and they presented me with an amazing gluten-free version of TFL's Coffee & Doughnuts. Very nicely done.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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