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Per Se


oakapple
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I'll definitely report back, though more than likely without the pics and extensive review.  I'm going on Sunday, so I'll catch up with y'all next week!!

Are you going for dinner or lunch? If for lunch, feel free to take pictures, they will not disturb anyone since there is ample light.

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Once again totally delicious! All the courses were fantastic tonight. Gin & tonic was delicious and we had 3 juice drinks made for us. Extra dessert courses and a quick tour of the kitchen. If we had known we would have gone for lunch as Chef Keller was in house earlier and is going to be there for the next week.

Barnstormer BBQ

Rt. 9W

Fort Montgomery NY

845 446 0912

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Wow. Words seem difficult to describe the experience of the night. Sublime. Perfection. We had a private dining room, so taking pictures wasn't a problem. I didn't take them, but am hoping to get them in a couple of days. The staff was absolutely impeccable, and greeted us warmly, while we were as nervous as a kid on their first day of school. We made good use of the private dining room, however, and ended up (6 hours later) comfortable, immensely sated, and laughing raucously. Great tour of the kitchen and wine rooms, to boot!!! More later, hopefully with some pics. Cheers!!! What a life-affirming privilege.

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Was there on August 30, man am I slacking in writing this up. I've been a long-time Keller devotee (cooked a lot of TFL cookbook at home) so I had pretty high expectations for this meal. Fortunately it didn't dissapoint.

Talked with the captain before the meal about wines. Basically asked him to pick a few glasses--a Champagne, something sweet for the foie, a white for the fish, and a red for the meat courses. It worked out to $100/each for the wine, but they were excellent.

We started of course, with the gougeres and the salmon cornets. I don't think I've been making my cornets thin enough, thus causing my issues.

We had an amouse bouche of sunchoke soup, which had the perfect texture of velvet. It was served cold with picked radishes. In a nice touch the spoon was also cold.

The first course on the menu was Oysters and Pearls. I had made this once at home--mine was actually pretty close, I was happy to say. As my wife said, this is like the best thing I've ever tasted.

We both had the torchon of foie gras, with peach gelee, peaches, pickled red onion, and Carolina puffed rice. My only (and it's minor) complain about this dish was the way it was served. It was in a bowl which made access to the torchon a bit difficult. However, everything tasted wonderful--the puffed rice was a nice textural touch, and we were served brioche "melba toast" with the foie. The piece of foie was huge!! And the torchon was PERFECT--perfect texture, perfect color, perfectly round. Color me impressed.

Next was an olive oil poached Dorade with a piquillo pepper gastrique. The pungency of the peppers was a great compliment to the fish.

The butter poached lobster was served with a curry emulsion (from the fava bean agnolotti recipe in the book) and pickled dates. Lobster was tender (not fork tender, but very soft) and went well with the curry, however I saw another recent menu with a vanilla sauce, that sounded a bit better.

Next was a perfectly seared squab breast, with figs and squab leg confit. Well executed, but I wasn't blown away. I had never had squab before, and was expecting a bit more flavor from the meat--the confit was awesome, the breast a bit bland. Perfectly executed, and the sauce was nice.

Veal tenderloin with greenmarket carrots was our last meat course. Came with a veal sauce and served with a great pinot.

The cheese course was Benno's take on the caprese salad, with a cheese called Burrata from DiBuono Brothers in Philadelphia. This cheese is sort of like Italian Buchuron, with ricotta inside of mozzerella. It was served with a basil puree, Manni olive oil, and a combination of roasted and fresh tomatoes. My only complaint, was that the flavor of the Manni was a bit lost in the dish.

For the sorbet course, I was impressed--my wife is type 1 diabetic (they kitchen received warning) but they were able to whip up a no sugar added canalope granita (I'm assuming on a Paco Jet) it was very good.

My sorbet was probably the most interesting dish on a technical level all evening. It was a ginger plum sorbet, with plum consomme and ginger caviar. Worked really well.

Desserts were very good, but less memorable--coffee and donuts was good, as was the coffee service (heated cream), but when you have 3*s what else would you expect.

Not the most creative meal I've ever had but definitely one of the best.

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Is that for one of Keller's pishy portions? I hold to the camp that says only eat white truffles in the zone of production where you can choose your truffle from many. The further away you go, the less you know in terms of age, freshness and provenance.

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  • 1 month later...

Per Se currently has an offal tasting menu in addition to the chef's and vegetarian menus. I went on Wednesday and it was a pleasant surprise. I think Monday was the first day they did it and I believe they were planning on running it for 3 weeks or so. They had some really excellent stuff, much more refined than the offal presentations I usually see, so it made for a fun new experience. Just from memory, here are some of the courses (forgive the lack of detail, and possible mistakes):

Bone Marrow Custard with Caviar

Sliced veal heart

Tripe with lobster mitts

Dover sole with cockscombs

Veal Kindey

Foie Gras ice cream, with 100 year balsamic and some other stuff I can't remember

Mincemeat Pie bound with marrow

I may have forgotten something else, not sure

all were very unique preps and all excellent, but it was a fantastic surprise to me, I would have thought I would have read a blurb about it somewhere, but I had not.

ps they still have the risotto with truffles supplement on the chef's menu, and it is quite a decent portion, with a very generous shaving of excellent and fresh truffles. It's very safe to trust keller's restaurants to get the best and freshest truffles, I'm sure they do a better job than I would be able to do if I had the opportunity to select my own at the source.

Ed aka Wordsmithing Pantagruel

Food, Cocktails, Travels, and miscellany on my blog:

http://www.wordsmithingpantagruel.com/

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Per Se currently has an offal tasting menu in addition to the chef's and vegetarian menus.

Wow, I'm really jealous. Once I noticed the menu, I called up to be wait-listed, but nothing so far. Nothing online either.

Here is the full menu:

PER SE

OFFAL TASTING MENU

___________________________________________________________

BONE MARROW CUSTARD

Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar

"CONFIT DE CŒUR DE VEAU"

Parsnips, Candied Pecans, Bosc Pears

and Garden Mâche with Veal Jus

"ROUELLE DE SOLE DE LA MANCHE"

Young Brussels Sprouts, Garnet Yams

and Pickled Cipollini Onion Shoots with "Sauce Hydromel"

"TRIPES À LA MODE DE CAEN"

Nova Scotia Lobster Mitts, Compressed Sour Apples

and Rainbow Swiss Chard with Herbed Breadcrumbs

"BACON AND EGGS"

"Tête de Cochon"

New Crop Potatoes, Celery Branch, Cornichons and Frisée Lettuce

with Squire Hill Farm’s Ameraucana Hen Egg Emulsion

HERB ROASTED "ROGNON DE VEAU"

Benton’s Smokehouse Bacon, Black Trumpet Mushrooms,

Glazed Sweet Carrot "Buttons" and Braised Salsify Root

with Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

CABOT CREAMERY’S "CLOTHBOUND CHEDDAR"

Buckwheat Crêpe, Broccolini Florettes

and "Vinaigrette d’Oreille de Cochon et Truffe Noire"

HUDSON VALLEY MOULARD DUCK FOIE GRAS "SHERBET"

Cape Cod Cranberries, Chestnuts and Field Mizuna

with Aged 100 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar

"MINCEMEAT PIE"

Bay Leaf Ice Cream

"MIGNARDISES"

PRIX FIXE 275.00

SERVICE INCLUDED

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  • 3 weeks later...

review can also be found on my blog foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com

It all started back in early September of this year. I found myself with plenty of leftover dough from my summer job, and plenty of sensible things to potentially do with it, the least of which being to spend it on a restaurant. Yet fate displayed its dominance, and I decided that once again, I would throw away $298 on a single meal. This would be my third time going, and I am often asked why I am continuously drawn back to Per Se. The rest of this paper will aim to answer that question.

It was September 29th; exactly two months from the Saturday of Thanksgiving break and one of the few times I would be able to make the trek up to New York to dine at Per Se. I would have to call to make the reservation at Per Se at exactly 10 A.M today if I had any hope of getting that Saturday reservation. The only problem? I had school.

I sat patiently in my 9:30 – 10:25 science class as the clock neared 10. Very strategically, at exactly 9:57, I innocently asked to use the bathroom. I walked, no sprinted to the bathroom down the hall. I scrolled down my contact list until I reached Per Se, then dialed, and waited… After three minutes of waiting, a janitor came in. I cowered against the wall, praying he wouldn’t take my phone. “Is it an important call?” “Oh my god yes” I genuinely responded. He told me I had five minutes, then strolled back out of the bathroom. I waited anxiously, attempting telepathic communication with my phone. When that failed, I simply yelled at it. At that moment, almost as if on cue, the janitor returned and told me to go back to class. It was too late. Now all the reservations were surely gone. I waited an hour for lunch then called again. Everything was booked. It looked there would be no Per Se for me this time around. Maybe God was telling me to invest my money for college.

I arrived home later that day and explained the situation to my mom. I begged and pleaded with her to let me try tomorrow to make a reservation for the Sunday of Thanksgiving break, despite it being inconvenient with the next day being a school day and such. She finally obliged. I felt slightly guilty. If God had been telling me to invest money for college, I was laughing in his face. If he ate there I’m sure he’d understand.

Lucky for me, September 30th I had off school for a Jewish holiday (I believe). At exactly 10:00 A.M. eastern time, my sister, mother and I all called Per Se. I was bringing in the reinforcements this time around; there was no way I’d fail. My sister got through first after 15 minutes of waiting, and I snagged one of the day’s last available reservations- 11:30 for lunch. I wonder what the hostess thought of me as she spoke to me on the phone. I was like a kid on Christmas.

After much waiting, I found myself heavy in anticipation on a bus with my dad and sister to New York. I fell asleep, dreaming of foie gras and pork belly as the bus sped across the freeway. We arrived around 9, and my dad and sister soon departed, leaving me alone in New York. I felt like Holden Caulfield. I was a kid alone in New York with a lot of dough. Moreover, like Holden, I would be burning through this dough pretty quick. Per Se was no phony however. Oh no, this was the real deal.

Per Se is a world away from the plush boutiques of the lower levels of the AOL Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. Glass doors slide open to reveal a zen-like space, dominated by muted browns and grays. If New York is the city that never sleeps, you can at least get some rest in Per Se. Upon entering I was greeted by a flurry of hello’s and happy birthday’s (I was going for my birthday) and was led to my table. A letter was waiting for me on my table. I opened it to a card that read “you’re not getting older per se…” Thomas Keller had signed it at the bottom. I was already having a good time.

Soon after, I met my waiter James. I was told the chef would be cooking for me, and was asked if there was anything I had to have. I told him foie gras and pork belly, and thus began the extravaganza. Note (while I would like to describe every dish, I would run out of adjectives synonymous with “amazing,” and my review would become redundant. I will therefore summarize the experience)

Champaign was poured upon my arrival, and I was given the Thomas Keller signatures; two gruyere cheese gougers and the salmon cornets. I immediately told James that I believed the meal had already reached its peak. He chuckled. My first course (Sunchoke and toasted almond soup with langoustines and almond oil) absolutely blew me away. The soup was perfectly smooth, salty, and full-bodied, the langoustines were uncharacteristically tender and not the least bit rubbery. I once again wondered if the meal had reached its peak, yet quickly dismissed this notion as a cauliflower mousse with mandarin glaze and a large helping of sturgeon caviar came out. I controlled myself and ate the mousse slowly, savoring every last bit with my mother of pearl spoon (necessary for not reacting with the caviar). The momentum slowed however as I was served Shima Aji (fish in the yellowtail family) with sake granite. The fish was plain unctuous on its own and the sake granite tickled my underage taste buds, however together, the delicate fish was overwhelmed by the strong alcoholic flavor. After eating the next dish however, all missteps were forgotten. The dish was brought to me in a smoke-filled orb, the top half of which was removed to reveal a perfect rectangular piece of pork belly with radishes and a sultana raisin coulis. The smoke added a whole new dimension so the dish, giving the belly smoky undertones along with the unctuousness of thick, fatty pork belly. Call it bacon deluxe.

Tableside presentation added an interactive element to the dining experience. A whole de-boned quail stuffed with foie gras was brought to the table, before being taken back to the kitchen and sliced. Likewise, a large portion of Perigord black truffle (the finest) was shaven over buttery ricotta agnolotti at the table. Both dishes were stunning.

The bread, often overlooked in restaurants, was nothing to miss. A miniature soft pretzel roll put Philadelphia makers to shame and a crusty ciabatta roll transported me to Tuscany.

Per Se cooks variety meats just as well as luxury cuts. I was consecutively served veal sweetbreads then beef callote (cap of the rib-eye). The crispy sweetbread, served with turnips, swiss chard, and a brown butter-veal jus may have been the meal’s best dish. The meltingly tender beef callote, complimented by black trumpet mushrooms, baby Brussels sprouts, and a red wine vinegar sauce, wasn’t far behind.

Eating alone is often difficult, awkward, and more or less boring. My experience at Per Se was quite the opposite. I talked at length with my waiters about anything from how giving hungry prisoners candy and then not letting them drink was once a torture method (and how that would work on me), to how they became waiters. I even found that I shared a love of Fage Greek Yogurt with the wait staff (they eat it on their breaks). While I’m not sure if it pleased them every time I called them over to talk, they showed no evidence to the contrary. Overall, the service was phenomenal.

After the beef callote I asked to take a small break. I had just finished my 13th course, and was beginning to feel full. I ran to the bathroom, performed some breathing exercises, then returned to the table. I can’t imagine not finishing anything at Per Se.

The cheese course followed. Typical of Per Se and The French Laundry is a composed cheese plate with a single cheese. I was served 10 cheeses with four condiments! Highlights were shropshire blue, sierra de estrella, and Cabot creamery’s cheddar. The truffle honey was exceptional as well.

My sweet tooth was satisfied with a long list of desserts. A passion fruit sorbet with pomegranate syrup cleansed my palate, and the complex flavor of brown butter was showcased in a brown butter cake with a candied piece of granny smith apple. I expected the meal to end rather conventionally after that. I think I forgot I was at Per Se. My waiter brought out a whole chocolate cake that they had baked for me for my birthday! A lit candle stuck out the middle. I asked him if he was going to sing for me. He politely refused and told me that they would package up my cake to enjoy with my family, and bring me out a different dessert.

They brought me the signature “Coffee and Doughnuts.” This would be my third time having this dish, yet I was not the least bit unhappy. The yeasted cinnamon sugar doughnuts are accompanied by a cup that appears to be a cappuccino, however under the foamed milk is coffee ice cream. You eat a warm sugared doughnut with some cold coffee ice cream, and a job as a cop suddenly seems appealing.

My meal concluded with some truffles, a small dish of crème brulee, and some toffee. All of which I finished. I didn’t really need to finish them however. I was depressed because the meal had concluded. I was eating out my feelings My experience in New York had come full circle- I once again felt like Holden Caulfield. Per Se kills me.

I got my check, then paid the $298 without hesitation. I got up to leave but then returned to my table. I had almost forgotten my now-packaged cake. I began to walk out the door, but my waiter stopped me. “Thomas wanted you to have this,” and he gave me Thomas Keller’s new cookbook. That’s a $75 cookbook! I was in shock; I didn’t know what to say. I thanked my waiters relentlessly, then stumbled, awestruck, out of the restaurant. I had entered the restaurant at 11:30, I walked out at 4:15.

I walked away from the restaurant back to daily life. My steps were slow, I wanted to lengthen the experience. Again I pondered the question, “Why am I continuously drawn back to Per Se?” “This is why,” I thought, referring to my experience, and that’s the only explanation necessary.

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review can also be found on my blog foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com

It all started back in early September of this year. I found myself with plenty of leftover dough from my summer job, and plenty of sensible things to potentially do with it, the least of which being to spend it on a restaurant. Yet fate displayed its dominance, and I decided that once again, I would throw away $298 on a single meal. This would be my third time going, and I am often asked why I am continuously drawn back to Per Se. The rest of this paper will aim to answer that question.

Welcome to egullet and thanks for a great first post. I can't believe you're only 16. (I'm jealous - I didn't realize my love for food until considerably later.)

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review can also be found on my blog foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com

It all started back in early September of this year. I found myself with plenty of leftover dough from my summer job, and plenty of sensible things to potentially do with it, the least of which being to spend it on a restaurant. Yet fate displayed its dominance, and I decided that once again, I would throw away $298 on a single meal. This would be my third time going, and I am often asked why I am continuously drawn back to Per Se. The rest of this paper will aim to answer that question.

Welcome to egullet and thanks for a great first post. I can't believe you're only 16. (I'm jealous - I didn't realize my love for food until considerably later.)

Happy Birthday!! You have done a wonderful job in describing what makes Per Se such a special place!!!

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review can also be found on my blog foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com

It all started back in early September of this year. I found myself with plenty of leftover dough from my summer job, and plenty of sensible things to potentially do with it, the least of which being to spend it on a restaurant. Yet fate displayed its dominance, and I decided that once again, I would throw away $298 on a single meal. This would be my third time going, and I am often asked why I am continuously drawn back to Per Se. The rest of this paper will aim to answer that question.

Welcome to egullet and thanks for a great first post. I can't believe you're only 16. (I'm jealous - I didn't realize my love for food until considerably later.)

Hell, when I was 16, I would have gone just for the champagne. Another reason I focused on Japanese and Korean food, at that time in the city, they never carded....

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review can also be found on my blog foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com

It all started back in early September of this year. I found myself with plenty of leftover dough from my summer job, and plenty of sensible things to potentially do with it, the least of which being to spend it on a restaurant. Yet fate displayed its dominance, and I decided that once again, I would throw away $298 on a single meal. This would be my third time going, and I am often asked why I am continuously drawn back to Per Se. The rest of this paper will aim to answer that question.

Welcome to egullet and thanks for a great first post. I can't believe you're only 16. (I'm jealous - I didn't realize my love for food until considerably later.)

Hell, when I was 16, I would have gone just for the champagne. Another reason I focused on Japanese and Korean food, at that time in the city, they never carded....

At 16, I had similar emotions about a restaurant with a similarly short 5 letter, 2 word name: Wo Hop. :blink:

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Hell, when I was 16, I would have gone just for the champagne. Another reason I focused on Japanese and Korean food, at that time in the city, they never carded....

At 16, I had similar emotions about a restaurant with a similarly short 5 letter, 2 word name: Wo Hop. :blink:

Sorry OT but -

I know a lot of people who have gone there totally smashed in the middle of the night, I'm pretty sure I did too, but you used to hit the Tsingtao there too?

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review can also be found on my blog foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com

It all started back in early September of this year. I found myself with plenty of leftover dough from my summer job, and plenty of sensible things to potentially do with it, the least of which being to spend it on a restaurant. Yet fate displayed its dominance, and I decided that once again, I would throw away $298 on a single meal. This would be my third time going, and I am often asked why I am continuously drawn back to Per Se. The rest of this paper will aim to answer that question.

It was September 29th; exactly two months from the Saturday of Thanksgiving break and one of the few times I would be able to make the trek up to New York to dine at Per Se. I would have to call to make the reservation at Per Se at exactly 10 A.M today if I had any hope of getting that Saturday reservation. The only problem? I had school.

I sat patiently in my 9:30 – 10:25 science class as the clock neared 10. Very strategically, at exactly 9:57, I innocently asked to use the bathroom. I walked, no sprinted to the bathroom down the hall. I scrolled down my contact list until I reached Per Se, then dialed, and waited… After three minutes of waiting, a janitor came in. I cowered against the wall, praying he wouldn’t take my phone. “Is it an important call?” “Oh my god yes” I genuinely responded. He told me I had five minutes, then strolled back out of the bathroom. I waited anxiously, attempting telepathic communication with my phone. When that failed, I simply yelled at it. At that moment, almost as if on cue, the janitor returned and told me to go back to class. It was too late. Now all the reservations were surely gone. I waited an hour for lunch then called again. Everything was booked. It looked there would be no Per Se for me this time around. Maybe God was telling me to invest my money for college.

I arrived home later that day and explained the situation to my mom. I begged and pleaded with her to let me try tomorrow to make a reservation for the Sunday of Thanksgiving break, despite it being inconvenient with the next day being a school day and such. She finally obliged. I felt slightly guilty. If God had been telling me to invest money for college, I was laughing in his face. If he ate there I’m sure he’d understand.

Lucky for me, September 30th I had off school for a Jewish holiday (I believe). At exactly 10:00 A.M. eastern time, my sister, mother and I all called Per Se. I was bringing in the reinforcements this time around; there was no way I’d fail. My sister got through first after 15 minutes of waiting, and I snagged one of the day’s last available reservations- 11:30 for lunch. I wonder what the hostess thought of me as she spoke to me on the phone. I was like a kid on Christmas.

After much waiting, I found myself heavy in anticipation on a bus with my dad and sister to New York. I fell asleep, dreaming of foie gras and pork belly as the bus sped across the freeway. We arrived around 9, and my dad and sister soon departed, leaving me alone in New York. I felt like Holden Caulfield. I was a kid alone in New York with a lot of dough. Moreover, like Holden, I would be burning through this dough pretty quick. Per Se was no phony however. Oh no, this was the real deal.

Per Se is a world away from the plush boutiques of the lower levels of the AOL Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. Glass doors slide open to reveal a zen-like space, dominated by muted browns and grays. If New York is the city that never sleeps, you can at least get some rest in Per Se. Upon entering I was greeted by a flurry of hello’s and happy birthday’s (I was going for my birthday) and was led to my table. A letter was waiting for me on my table. I opened it to a card that read “you’re not getting older per se…” Thomas Keller had signed it at the bottom. I was already having a good time.

Soon after, I met my waiter James. I was told the chef would be cooking for me, and was asked if there was anything I had to have. I told him foie gras and pork belly, and thus began the extravaganza. Note (while I would like to describe every dish, I would run out of adjectives synonymous with “amazing,” and my review would become redundant. I will therefore summarize the experience)

Champaign was poured upon my arrival, and I was given the Thomas Keller signatures; two gruyere cheese gougers and the salmon cornets. I immediately told James that I believed the meal had already reached its peak. He chuckled. My first course (Sunchoke and toasted almond soup with langoustines and almond oil) absolutely blew me away. The soup was perfectly smooth, salty, and full-bodied, the langoustines were uncharacteristically tender and not the least bit rubbery. I once again wondered if the meal had reached its peak, yet quickly dismissed this notion as a cauliflower mousse with mandarin glaze and a large helping of sturgeon caviar came out. I controlled myself and ate the mousse slowly, savoring every last bit with my mother of pearl spoon (necessary for not reacting with the caviar). The momentum slowed however as I was served Shima Aji (fish in the yellowtail family) with sake granite. The fish was plain unctuous on its own and the sake granite tickled my underage taste buds, however together, the delicate fish was overwhelmed by the strong alcoholic flavor. After eating the next dish however, all missteps were forgotten. The dish was brought to me in a smoke-filled orb, the top half of which was removed to reveal a perfect rectangular piece of pork belly with radishes and a sultana raisin coulis. The smoke added a whole new dimension so the dish, giving the belly smoky undertones along with the unctuousness of thick, fatty pork belly. Call it bacon deluxe.

Tableside presentation added an interactive element to the dining experience. A whole de-boned quail stuffed with foie gras was brought to the table, before being taken back to the kitchen and sliced. Likewise, a large portion of Perigord black truffle (the finest) was shaven over buttery ricotta agnolotti at the table. Both dishes were stunning.

The bread, often overlooked in restaurants, was nothing to miss. A miniature soft pretzel roll put Philadelphia makers to shame and a crusty ciabatta roll transported me to Tuscany.

Per Se cooks variety meats just as well as luxury cuts. I was consecutively served veal sweetbreads then beef callote (cap of the rib-eye). The crispy sweetbread, served with turnips, swiss chard, and a brown butter-veal jus may have been the meal’s best dish. The meltingly tender beef callote, complimented by black trumpet mushrooms, baby Brussels sprouts, and a red wine vinegar sauce, wasn’t far behind.

Eating alone is often difficult, awkward, and more or less boring. My experience at Per Se was quite the opposite. I talked at length with my waiters about anything from how giving hungry prisoners candy and then not letting them drink was once a torture method (and how that would work on me), to how they became waiters. I even found that  I shared a love of Fage Greek Yogurt with the wait staff (they eat it on their breaks). While I’m not sure if it pleased them every time I called them over to talk, they showed no evidence to the contrary. Overall, the service was phenomenal.

After the beef callote I asked to take a small break. I had just finished my 13th course, and was beginning to feel full. I ran to the bathroom, performed some breathing exercises, then returned to the table. I can’t imagine not finishing anything at Per Se.

The cheese course followed. Typical of Per Se and The French Laundry is a composed cheese plate with a single cheese. I was served 10 cheeses with four condiments! Highlights were shropshire blue, sierra de estrella, and Cabot creamery’s cheddar. The truffle honey was exceptional as well.

My sweet tooth was satisfied with a long list of desserts. A passion fruit sorbet with pomegranate syrup cleansed my palate, and the complex flavor of brown butter was showcased in a brown butter cake with a candied piece of granny smith apple. I expected the meal to end rather conventionally after that. I think I forgot I was at Per Se. My waiter brought out a whole chocolate cake that they had baked for me for my birthday! A lit candle stuck out the middle. I asked him if he was going to sing for me. He politely refused and told me that they would package up my cake to enjoy with my family, and bring me out a different dessert.

They brought me the signature “Coffee and Doughnuts.” This would be my third time having this dish, yet I was not the least bit unhappy. The yeasted cinnamon sugar doughnuts are accompanied by a cup that appears to be a cappuccino, however under the foamed milk is coffee ice cream. You eat a warm sugared doughnut with some cold coffee ice cream, and a job as a cop suddenly seems appealing.

My meal concluded with some truffles, a small dish of crème brulee, and some toffee. All of which I finished. I didn’t really need to finish them however. I was depressed because the meal had concluded. I was eating out my feelings My experience in New York had come full circle- I once again felt like Holden Caulfield. Per Se kills me.

I got my check, then paid the $298 without hesitation. I got up to leave but then returned to my table. I had almost forgotten my now-packaged cake. I began to walk out the door, but my waiter stopped me. “Thomas wanted you to have this,” and he gave me Thomas Keller’s new cookbook. That’s a $75 cookbook! I was in shock; I didn’t know what to say. I thanked my waiters relentlessly, then stumbled, awestruck, out of the restaurant. I had entered the restaurant at 11:30, I walked out at 4:15.

I walked away from the restaurant back to daily life. My steps were slow, I wanted to lengthen the experience. Again I pondered the question, “Why am I continuously drawn back to Per Se?” “This is why,” I thought, referring to my experience, and that’s the only explanation necessary.

Welcome to the boards...you're a kindred spirit. When I was in high school, I made a deal with my parents that if I scored higher than a certain level on my SAT's, they would have to take me to the restaurant of my choice. Much to their dismay, I chose Lutece, which at that time was roughly the equivalent of what Per Se is now. And I certainly made sure to get my money's worth. Great post.

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To Nicknormile...what a lovely, well written post...reminds me of a spectacular college essay...(keep that in mind when you are ready)...what a mature, interesting young man you must be. I can share your joy as we have also eaten at PerSe 4 times..and have found them all wonderful....There is one problem..where does one go from here?? :biggrin::biggrin:

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Corton, EMP, wd~50, BH@SB.  I've enjoyed, in the pure happiness sense, my meals at these spots more than ones at Per Se.  'Twas a shame you missed Gilt.

And Alinea if you can fly.

Those are great suggestions, but I would add one note of caution. Most of those places probably cannot duplicate the 18-course extravaganza that Per Se produced. They offer their own kind of pleasure, but you shouldn't go in expecting another meal like the one you described at Per Se.
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Obviously getting soigne'd at per se is hard to beat, but just because a restaurant cannot or chooses not to be per se doesn't mean that it's less enjoyable (per se).

It reflects the fact that one is probably not going to get the soigné treatment at all of these places, and the fact that most of them aren't equipped to do what Per Se can, when it wants to. The reality is that, for most people, the kind of meal he described is a very rare experience. Most of us can't afford it very often, nor would we want to even if we could.

I don't try to predict what other people will enjoy, but it is important to note the very real difference.

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