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oakapple

Per Se

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Maybe it's selfish of me, but I've loved it. The best restaurant around, and I can go on a whim, especially cause I prefer to dine there at 5:30 or 6:00. Nothing better :-)

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Just used open table to get a reservation for one this Sunday at 11:30. Looks like Ochowie will be there then as well.

Am taking my son to Jean Georges tomorrow night but he has to work Sunday.

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Just used open table to get a reservation for one this Sunday at 11:30. Looks like Ochowie will be there then as well.

Am taking my son to Jean Georges tomorrow night but he has to work Sunday.

Curses! I wanted to get lunch there, but can't find any more free 1-tops on OpenTable. Probably better for my wallet anyway.

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You guys should all sitemail each other and get a table together!

I wouldn't object to a mini EG meet up. Any idea how many people the 1 tops seat?

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You guys should all sitemail each other and get a table together!

I wouldn't object to a mini EG meet up. Any idea how many people the 1 tops seat?

Aren't most of their tables 4-tops anyway? OT has a free table for 2/3/4 at 11:30 on the 8th... unfortunately I'm not having much luck convincing anybody to go with me ):

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If you guys are interested in joining up, just exchange details then call the reservation line and either they can handle or ask to speak to the matire'd on the floor. Chances are you'll go to the GM or assistant GM, who can easily (and gladly) handle this request.

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Well, I would prefer to do a slightly later reservation but if 11:30 is what is available for more than one. If anyone does want to do this, PM me your contact details and we can work it out.

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So who's bringing the camera? :D

Won't be me. The only thing I have is my cell phone camera (which I am still mad at for ruining my picture with Padma Lakshmi). :angry:


Edited by Ochowie (log)

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I eagerly await hearing all about it!

Ooof. A perfect study in perfect excess. I need to... go pass out or something to finish digesting. But capsule summary – absolutely the very best meal I've ever had.

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I still can't do a proper write-up, so here's a (very poor) picture of the menu we had.

gallery_62893_6521_5774.jpg

gallery_62893_6521_106527.jpg

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Although I'm sure its happened many a time in the grand history of eG, this meetup came together lightning fast, and carried with it some high stakes. 4 complete strangers, hundreds of dollars invested in each others company, less than 1 day planning, and the top restaurant in town. Worst case scenario, you spend some $300+ dining in the company of people you come to loathe as desert can't arrive fast enough. Best case scenario? Everyone has a good time, your captain hooks you all up and you wind up on the verge of crying uncle some 14 courses and 4 hours later, having eaten some of the best food on the planet.

And that was Sunday. Between gougeres, cornets, pumpkin veloute, oysters & pearls, tartare of australian hiramasa, brioche crusted smelt, truffle custard, torchon, 6 forms of salt, halibut, scallop, poularde, calottes, pecorino, sorbet, coffee & donuts, dessert and mignardises we got along as well as you would expect foodies to in the ultimate foodie setting. Through discussions of the economy, egullet, clothes, food & drink, consensus was formed that service at a restaurant could really only get this good and not better. That we couldn't possibly eat more. That the truffle custard was the consensus winner of the signature dishes we sampled on this day. That beer was invented in China, who's original recipe we got to try (by way of an Italian brewer). That we still have no clue what happens to the rest of that poularde after it get's taken away and only the breast returns. And that in the end, after it's all over, we get a tour of the space, get handed a copy of our menu, some florentines to take home, and that they can't wait to serve us again next time. A few handshakes are exchanged in the garden, and we're on our way. Friends? Not quite, the food was the focus, not enough free time to make friends. But after a meal like that, certainly no longer strangers either.

Here is the only picture I remembered to take, our Poularde presented whole:

gallery_61507_6225_327821.jpg

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Did everyone ordering that menu get an entire poularde brought to the table? It reminds me of the time five of us went to dinner at the Martinez in Cannes. When the waiter brought us just the saddle of rabbit, I asked him where the rest of the rabbit went. He told us it got served at the cheaper restaurant down below. So what are the chances of the poularde ending up in a sandwich or salad at the Bouchon Bakery or saved for the next staff meal? God forbid anyone paying the freight at Per Se should get to eat anything whole that's much larger than your thumb.

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So to follow up on Sickchangeup's post, this was my first time at Per Se and I was really blown away by everything the restaurant had to offer. Not only the food, which was great, especially the scallop and horseradish creme fraiche dish, but also the service and the ambiance of the restaurant.

Not having been to the restaurant I had no idea what to expect of the room and was really impressed when I saw the view of central park that I would be looking at for the next few hours. The food was top to bottom excellent especially as sick mentioned the egg truffle custard, the aforementioned scallop dish, and the cheese course. Also, as far as dessert goes, I really enjoyed the coffee and donuts dish. I am usually not a huge fan of dessert but this was a neat dish that could only be improved (as was the consensus at the table) by some kind of play on a cigarette to accompany the dish. As far as the service is concerned, this is bar none my best experience. Since this was my first trip to a "true" Michelin 3 star restaurant I had high expectations and they were met and exceeded. I thought the service was great not and what I really enjoyed was how personal it was while being formal at the same time.

Finally, I just want to say thank you to the 3 other eGulleters who made this a fun and enjoyable Sunday afternoon. This came together on short notice and like Sickchangeup I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I ended up enjoying this experience very much as it was great to share this experience with people that enjoy food so much. All in all I don't think this experience could have gone much better (without a female dining companion involved) and I look forward to more meals at Per Se (wallet permitting) and hopefully more eGullet meetups in the future.

PS. On the subject of the poulard I think the consensus was that it would probably be used at a future staff meal, although no one asked so it remains a mystery.

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Was that a special menu drawn up for the occasion? It seems to be 14-15 courses, as opposed to the usual 9 that I am familiar with.

It seems to be a special menu; I just checked the Per Se website and they list the menu for yesterday that is the traditional 9 course. How much was this special menu? Do you need to request it in advance? Looks wonderful (although the regular 9 course menu did have some things that weren't on your menu that also sounded wonderful (rack of lamb and the duck breast). I'm glad you all had a good time!

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Was that a special menu drawn up for the occasion? It seems to be 14-15 courses, as opposed to the usual 9 that I am familiar with.

It seems to be a special menu; I just checked the Per Se website and they list the menu for yesterday that is the traditional 9 course. How much was this special menu? Do you need to request it in advance? Looks wonderful (although the regular 9 course menu did have some things that weren't on your menu that also sounded wonderful (rack of lamb and the duck breast). I'm glad you all had a good time!

They usually do more than the 9 course menu for repeat or VIP guests. My first meal there had 18, my last two were 16.

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Was that a special menu drawn up for the occasion? It seems to be 14-15 courses, as opposed to the usual 9 that I am familiar with.

It seems to be a special menu; I just checked the Per Se website and they list the menu for yesterday that is the traditional 9 course. How much was this special menu? Do you need to request it in advance? Looks wonderful (although the regular 9 course menu did have some things that weren't on your menu that also sounded wonderful (rack of lamb and the duck breast). I'm glad you all had a good time!

The menu that they showed us at the beginning had the standard 9-course listing. They gave us "actual" menus at the end that showed the listing of what we actually got. There's a mistake there, though! The "tempura" was actually smelt rather than shrimp; I was killing myself trying to remember what exactly it was, since that listing looked wrong – I guess sickchangeup's memory is substantially better than my own here. I don't remember exactly what was on the menu shown to us, but I think the poularde was substituted for the listed duck breast course.

I want to third the others in saying that the meal was absolutely spectacular. The highlights for me were, as listed, the custard, the scallop, and the smelt, but everything was excellent, down to the 6 (!) kinds of salt that were available. Textures and flavors worked together marvelously – nothing felt contrived (although we had a few giggles at the plate to course ratio – about 4 or 5 each for our first 3 or so courses), but everything was a pleasure to my (admittedly inexperienced) palate. The service definitely contributed to the experience in being both technically perfect and very friendly and personal – it was very amusing to hear about our captain's adventures in cooking from the French Laundry cookbook and the amusement the kitchen took at his less than complete success in doing so. I can confidently say that all of my expectations were solidly exceeded.

Many thanks to the other eGulleters for letting me tag along (since I was too slow to get a reservation on my own!), not to mention providing such good company. This was also my first experience at a Michelin 3-star restaurant, and pretty much all I can think about now is how long it will be until I can afford to go again.


Edited by taion (log)

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Everybody mentions/refers to the "Keller classics." But which of his dishes have earned that title? If I'm not mistaken, almost all (if not all) of them are in (and their fame primarily immortalized by) The French Laundry Cookbook.

Here are the ones that I think makes that list:

Peas and Carrots

Salmon Cornets

Torchon of Foie Gras

White Truffle Oil-Infused Custard

Tongue and Cheek

Oysters and Pearls

Coffee and Donuts

Of course, there seem to be a lot of recurring celebrity ingredients (like Four Story Hills Farm's Poularde and Snake River Farm's beef). But I don't consider any of the dishes made from them "classics," as they are always changing in form and content.

I also wouldn't count the "Salt Tasting" as a Keller classic.

I'm sure I'm leaving dishes out. I'll let others fill them in.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

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We didn't arrange for anything in advance, the food charge was standard, 275 + 30 for the foie courses + tax (we wound up drinking up a storm though!). I think once the restaurant caught on to the quirky (and somewhat humorous I'm sure) circumstances of this meal, 4 random eguletters who had never spoken, they chose to send out a few extra small format dishes for us to enjoy. I've also been there a fair bit lately and have gotten to know a few of the captains, including the one who took care of us Sunday - I'm sure that helped some.

As Seth wrote, it's not unusual for the restaurant to add a few courses once they get to know your tastes better, although in my experience as a non-VIP, it was usually a few here and there (i.e. not as many as Seth described). From what I've gathered reading bits from all over (and this is pure speculation), both Per Se and French Laundry make a conscious effort to deliver a relatively standard meal to truly new guests, and not make the assumption that everyone is a foodie and would even want to try more things. Once they get to know you some (and part of this responsibility is yours), and come to understand that this would be a welcome thing (if it is), they go from there in future visits.

Of course UE's 2008 meal stands as the ultimate documented soire'd meal that I've seen.

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Peas and Carrots

Salmon Cornets

Torchon of Foie Gras

White Truffle Oil-Infused Custard

Tongue and Cheek

Oysters and Pearls

Coffee and Donuts

I would categorize the regularly recurring (regardless of season) items separately from the others. Stuff like:

- Salmon Cornets

- Oysters & Pearls

- White Truffle Oil Custard with Black Truffle Ragout

- Coffee & Donuts

- Torchon (in it's various mutations: black truffle, duck, goose)

- "Smoke" (in it's near infinite variations)

Then separately, yeah there are other signature dishes that are almost all from the French Laundry cookbook, but which don't pop up on menu's that often. I don't know enough to list these off, but from observation:

- Bacon & Eggs

- Hand Cut Tagliatelle with Black Truffle

- Carnaroli Risotto with White Truffle

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Per Se might not be the only restaurant that can deliver such an experience. But it is the only one I know of that would do it for complete strangers, simply because they perceived that they had a group of diners who would appreciate the effort.

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I don't know if Per Se cares about such things, but it could be "would appreciate the effort and would publicize it on the internet."

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