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Per Se

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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.

I believe that is exactly the case. I had a conversation once with one of the waiters: he mentioned that it is rare to take care of people who eat at Per Se because they love and appreciate food rather than just to say "i ate at Per Se". I am not at all surprised that they went the extra mile for the table who appeared that they were enjoying the experience of dining at Per Se.

When I eat there, I am not shown a menu but instead I am asked what I would like to eat that day, specifically would I like foie, truffles (in season), wagyu etc.

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I was the fourth member of the Sunday lunch group and have been on a plane back to Dallas so it is my first chance to add my two cents worth. I will add my comments without repeating about the individual details of the food which has been well documented by my fellow diners.

I had always wanted to experience Per Se but with my unpredictable schedule and the difficulty of obtaining a reservation, it had never happened. You have read the events that got the four of us together and I am glad everyone was willing to go for it. I really did not have too many fears about not getting along with my fellow egullet because I knew we all would be focused on the food and three of us were excited because it was our first time there.

I have been to over a dozen three star places in four different countries and want to say I have never had a better experience in dining. There have been just a few that were right up there with it but none that could go past it. It was made clear at the beginning of the meal that we were introduced to each other by egullet and we were there for the food. I also thought the view was fantastic but purposely sat with my back to that view so I could concentrate on the plate. Since sickchangeup had been there five times he got us friendly with the captain. I think all the extra courses flowed by their knowledge that we were serious about the food. Each one was a technical perfection and the testes just exploded in your mouth. We also let the captain choose the wines and we benefited greatly from his choices. I wish they had given us a summary of what we drank as well. We had head about the Brooklyn beer which and had two wine size bottles of it between the four of but then they brought the rare Italian beer with the Chinese Heritage without asking afterward for us to compare. We were told the Chinese were the first recorded as making beer 5500 BC and this was the old, traditional recipe. There were little stories like that one about many of the food courses and beverages that we sampled. It was mentioned about the six kinds of salt on the table. Three of them were the rarest in the world So I had to experience some of that during the meal. The pacing of everything was perfect as well. The detailed tour of the operations and kitchen was very much appreciated. I have been in other three star kitchens and this one is the largest and most organized of any I have seen.

As an fyi for my fellow diners, the other couple taking the kitchen tour right after we did was someone who worked for Ducasse at ADNY.

This meal was special because per se made it that way for us but all four of us added to that experience as well. It would be rare to dine at a place like this where all the dining companions were so appreciative of the food and experience and I ant to thank them for contributing to my experience as well. I can understand more now what UE experienced with his friends dining in Europe.

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I believe that is exactly the case. I had  a conversation once with one of the waiters: he mentioned that it is rare to take care of people who eat at Per Se because they love and appreciate food rather than just to say "i ate at Per Se".  I am not at all surprised that they went the extra mile for the table who appeared that they were enjoying the experience of dining at  Per Se.

Very true. When I was first there (July '04, by myself as nearly always), the service was at first cordial and respectful if a little distant. After they saw I was there to be there for the food, their attitude changed and little extras appeared. It's been the same ever since. :)

When I eat there, I am not shown a menu but instead I am asked what I would like to eat that day, specifically would I like foie, truffles (in season), wagyu etc.

Ooo...well, I have to say when I was there in December when they had the optional offal menu, I asked if I could get some of each (meaning the regular and the offal).

It ended up being 19 courses, whee!

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I had not realized before that sickchangeup had been there 5 times before. I have to think this was a big reason for all of the extra courses. Per Se is a great restaurant, but I don't think the menu normally balloons from 9 courses to 15 for any party that shows higher-than-normal interest in the food.

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unfortunately i had a very average and disapointing experience at per se at the end of february and i am still wondering how or if i should write to them. Being a chef i dont want to sound all pre madonna but per se was the only reason i flew to new york and the whole experience was a real let down at a massive price. :sad:

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unfortunately we had quite a few issues. My wifes butter poached lobster was very undercooked resulting in a very tough piece of meat, my main course was nt just cold it was fridge cold, we had beetroot on 3 courses of a nine course menu, the desserts were really bad quality to the point they were amateurish in both flavour and presentation. We were served our bill with dessert even before coffee had been served and no offer of digestifs etc. We were in and out within 90 minutes. There are more things such as wine from another table being almost served to us. I made no fuss on the evening as i dont complain in restaurants as i like i said i dont want them thinking i am above my station. It was only after we left very early in the evening that i really felt we had been ripped off.

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As Sneakeater posted the lobster issue has been mentioned previously but dropping the check with dessert seems 100% out of character with Per Se. I've never had that happen there and don't think I've heard it mentioned before.

Also being in and out in 90 minutes is dissapointing.

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unfortunately we had quite a few issues. My wifes butter poached lobster was very undercooked resulting in a very tough piece of meat, my main course was nt just cold it was fridge cold, we had beetroot on 3 courses of a nine course menu, the desserts were really bad quality to the point they were amateurish in both flavour and presentation. We were served our bill with dessert even before coffee had been served and no offer of digestifs etc. We were in and out within 90 minutes. There are more things such as wine from another table being almost served to us. I made no fuss on the evening as i dont complain in restaurants as i like i said i dont want them thinking i am above my station. It was only after we left very early in the evening that i really felt we had been ripped off.

Ninety minutes? Total? Including ordering (wine, etc.), nine courses, and pre- and post-meal snacks?


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I would certainly write them. They should be able to corroborate your experience at least as far as the timing is concerned. It would be one thing if you told them that you were heading to the theater or had to be out by a certain time. I agree that is out of character.


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I would certainly write them. They should be able to corroborate your experience at least as far as the timing is concerned. It would be one thing if you told them that you were heading to the theater or had to be out by a certain time. I agree that is out of character.

I just returned from perhaps the best meal I have had in the United States: A 20 course tour de force at Per Se. Superb!!!

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Every restaurant has its off-days, but ginger chef's experience is certainly at the bottom end of any report I have ever read about Per Se. In three visits, it has never been less than excellent.

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I just returned from perhaps the best meal I have had in the United States: A 20 course tour de force at Per Se. Superb!!!

Is the "rule" something along the lines of "the more often you go, the more courses you get"? That sounds dangerous.

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It looks like they just opened up the "lounge" to some sort of more casual dining this week. Normally when you walk in, it's pretty empty in the lounge corridor until you enter the dining room, but seemingly no longer. Now there are people lining up on the couches along the wall, sipping drinks or eating dishes. Apparently you can order the same or similar dishes as are on the menu that night, but without needing to go the full monty - just order one and a drink if you like and eat it in the lounge. I didn't get to see the menu, so no clue on price point. Also not sure if jackets for men still applies, but guessing so.

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unfortunately we had quite a few issues. My wifes butter poached lobster was very undercooked resulting in a very tough piece of meat, my main course was nt just cold it was fridge cold, we had beetroot on 3 courses of a nine course menu, the desserts were really bad quality to the point they were amateurish in both flavour and presentation. We were served our bill with dessert even before coffee had been served and no offer of digestifs etc. We were in and out within 90 minutes. There are more things such as wine from another table being almost served to us. I made no fuss on the evening as i dont complain in restaurants as i like i said i dont want them thinking i am above my station. It was only after we left very early in the evening that i really felt we had been ripped off.

Ninety minutes? Total? Including ordering (wine, etc.), nine courses, and pre- and post-meal snacks?

I'm just curious... what was your main course? That sounds awful for a main course to be fridge cold. You should have said something, and definitely mentioned you were in the food industry. If anything its also pretty bad on your part. You're a chef, what would you have done? I mean... cold main course? I assume it was a veal, lamb, or beef probably sou-vide as well. I've only eaten there twice and both times they were great experiences. One of my lobster dishes was slightly overcooked so I can understand that. I hope you write them because 90mins at per se is crazy. I was there for lunch and it took 3 hours, easily.

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My recent experience at Per Se was nothing short of flawless. I asked how they cooked lobster in this dish:

gallery_57905_5970_15310.jpg

Basically, they pour hot water over lobster claHowever, lobster tails are generally cooked sous-vide, as Chef Keller recommends in his "Under Pressure" book.

Check the rest of the Per Se pictures on flickr.com


"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

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My flickr collection

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the main course was lamb but it was the main before that was cold which was a boudin blanc with little turned vegetables, the boudin had a bread crust on it. I didnt complain at the time as i really didnt want my wife to think i was having an uncomfortable time and also i know people indirectly in the kitchen and i didnt want to cause them any problems after i had left. i am in a rock and a hard place as what can they do now as i'm in the u.k and i cant just nip over . unfortunately it was just a bad experience one that has put me off Chef Kellers food and an experience i was so looking forward to after speaking to chefs and other diners the weeks leading up including Chef Keller when i was in lyon. On a different side i was warned the night before that i may not enjoy by a former head waiter who now works on the lower east side as he hinted that personnel changes had an effect on his meal the week before . I think i will send a letter i just dont know how to word it as i am not angry just feel let down .

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Those are some really great photos Mike. I'd always wondered what they meant by "lobster mitts", and damn those look good.

How was your "bacon and eggs"? I feel like they do a lot of different takes on that dish under the same label (I think the offal tasting had a dish labeled that way too), but I've never had it.

The tagliatelle with black truffle was probably the best thing I had ever tested, until I tried the slow scrambled hen egg with black truffle, give me shivers it was so good. I love that they use Elie Blue humidors to preserve and/or present their truffles, nice touch of class.

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It looks like they just opened up the "lounge" to some sort of more casual dining this week.  Normally when you walk in, it's pretty empty in the lounge corridor until you enter the dining room, but seemingly no longer.  Now there are people lining up on the couches along the wall, sipping drinks or eating dishes.  Apparently you can order the same or similar dishes as are on the menu that night, but without needing to go the full monty - just order one and a drink if you like and eat it in the lounge.  I didn't get to see the menu, so no clue on price point.  Also not sure if jackets for men still applies, but guessing so.

This is interesting. Perhaps a way to get more people in the door and seemingly in line with their rumored attempts to play with pricing given the economy and all. This seems very similar to the bar dining area at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas. One can order signature dishes in small portions along with glasses of wine and champagne without having to go all in for the tasting menu.

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Ginger Chef, just wanted to offer you my condolences, and to note that I am not surprised at all by your story. Went to Per Se for the first time last September and was crazily disappointed, especially by the amateurish service and presentation. The food was mostly OK, some courses overly salty, most what I think of as boring rich people food -- deluxe ingredients (foie gras, caviar, kobe beef) used in un-creative ways. While we weren't rushed to the degree you were, we felt that the meal seemed utterly routine and reminded us of some of the less good dining experiences I've had Vegas in that there was no sense of being anything other than a perfunctory space for tourists with more money than love of food, totally lacking in any warmth or personality. Would never be inclined to go back at those prices -- I'll take Ko or Corton or Masa or Le Bernardin any day for far more enjoyment while emptying my wallet!

The wines by contrast were delicious and decent value.

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I just returned from perhaps the best meal I have had in the United States: A 20 course tour de force at Per Se. Superb!!!

Is the "rule" something along the lines of "the more often you go, the more courses you get"? That sounds dangerous.

WONDERFULLY dangerous. :biggrin:

I've had the same experience. I think it also has to do with them knowing your tastes once you've been there--they will add courses for your pleasure.

I'm still reeling from December when I got so many courses from both the regular and offal menus.

Ginger Chef, please do write to them, I am surprised that such things would occur.


Edited by Bobster (log)

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