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Per Se Disappointment

  • j

I will probably get beat up for posting this. But I went to Per Se yesterday and I was a little disappointed with the meal.

It might have been because of the high expectations I built, but I found the food while very good, nothing extraordinary. And definitely not worth the $500 price tag.

Am I alone in this?

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  1. No. I haven't been, but if you do a search, you'll find others who had a similar experience.

    1. You aren't alone. My experience on each occasion was that the early courses were exciting, the meat entrees disappointing, the composed cheese plate absurdly bad, and some of the desserts poor. Also, the last fish course I had there - essentially a cube of tuna paired with a boiled onion - was totally misconceived.

      1. I have been twice now and i have to say those were the top two meals of my life. The only dissapointment i have had was the cheese course the first time was lacking. Worth every penny

        1. Can you give us a little more information? What did you have and what specifically did you like/not like about the food?

          This will help all of us.

          In the past, there have been some very spirited discussions (pro and con) about Per Se.

          1. Let's see if I can remember all the courses, I apologize for the simplistic way that I describe the dishes, I'm not the best of describing food, hence I could never get my dream job of being a food critic :)

            1. Salmon served with sour cream and capers on a cone (pastry was really buttery and crunchy).

            2. Foie Gras with pomegranite, a fruit sauce and toasted brioche. This was $40 supplement.

            3. Crispy fish on a bed of sauteed vegetables

            4. Lobster served with a black truffle creamy sauce

            5. Roasted Squab with some sort of consomme

            6. Rib Eye with a side of homemade pasta

            7. Aged goat cheese w/ a choice of walnut rye bread or cranberry bread

            8. Lemon and Coconut sorbet

            9. Chocolate platter with multiple types of dessert: chocolate brownie, cookie crumbs topped with a chocolate mousse

            While everything was good and definitely well prepared, I just wasn't wowed by any of the dishes.

            1. Looking at your menu reminds me of my meal at Per Se - about one year ago. I loved the salmon tartare ice cream cones, loved the oysters and pearls (which you didn't have), loved the foie gras (though I thought the array of salts was pretentious), loved the lobster. But the fish course disappointed - fish was too strongly flavored, as did the squab (or whatever poultry we had), and by the time the pork chop came around I was just TOO FULL. I had a moment of: "Please, no more shaved truffles!" I have a healthy appetite, too. So, I'm wondering if perhaps it was just too much rich food? I, for one, could have cut back at least three courses.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Petitpois

                I actually left out one course: Cauliflower panna cotta with caviar

              2. Per Se and French Laundry are two of the most over rated restaurants in the U. S. Not because of the food but because of the "hoopla" you have to go through to (1) get a reservation, (2) the rediculous length of time to serve you during your visit and (3) the extravagant high price for something you could have had for half the price at Daniel, Jean Georges, Babbo, Felidia, Le Cirque, Montrachet, Post House, Eleven Madison Park, et al. They are way too many fine restaurants in NYC and Napa that one can have a fantastic time at less $$ and less time than these two. TIFWIW.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Littleman

                  Littleman, that is exactly why I was disappointed with Per Se.

                  1. re: Littleman

                    I love Montrachet. It's not trendy so you never hear about it. I have had some of my best meals there. Went to Felidia ages ago during white truffle season with a friend who is a chef out West. We went to The Harrison this week and it was lovely. Not a scene, upscale (but not obscene $$$$$$). I'm with you!

                  2. Per Se is an experience not too be rushed... If you don't want to spend a long time enjoying your meal simply don't go. Although I LOVE Jean Georges Restaurant, Perry St., Daniel and the other top tier restaurants I have visited I would never put them in the same league as Per Se. The food is incredible and the service is unmatched!

                    1. FINALLY got my reservation today! Mrs. GG's birthday in April. We shall see...

                      1. I dined at per se yesterday and I must say that it was a life-changing event. To those who were disappointed I think they must be distracted by the price tag. Lunch for the two of us was $1100 dollars (had some great wine pairings). This, however, is a total body experience. The view, the service, the wines, the serene atmosphere, the silver & china, it's simply the best of everything. Wagyu beef, caviar, foie gras, dorade royale, grand cru wines, etc. I love how the servers all walk through the dining room at the same pace. It was amazing! The staff gracious and light... not stuffy or condescending. An experience I will not soon forget. On the other end of the price scale, my lunch at Momofuku's was phenomenal as well. God Bless Berkshire Pork & Momofuku's pork buns & ramen noodles!

                        1. My experience at French Laundry several years ago was also rather flat in the grand scheme of things. The food of course was spectacular but, stacked up against any other 5-star restaurant in the Bay Area, it just wasn't worth the price tag and the hassle of getting a reservation - ESPECIALLY the hassle of getting a reservation (we went only because we were given a very generous gift certificate). I also found the service to be a little too precious for my taste.

                          1. Ed Levine in his blog quoteth the great Bruni in his lament that many restaurants today are more about the chef than the customer. Per Se fits this description perfectly.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: DoctortedNYC

                              I haven't been to Per Se yet but I've never felt as pampered in a restaurant as I did at the French Laundry. It was definitely all about the customer.

                              As far as "the great Bruni"... so many chefs these days consider him a total hack and feel he has brought the NYT restaurant reviews to a new low. Just look at the backlash over his recent Sfoglia review.

                              1. re: CornflakeGirl

                                My husband and I were at Per Se a few months ago and felt completely pampered. it was definitely all about the customer and the food. The service wasn't stuffy at all, and we felt completely comfortable. We eat at a lot of high end restaurants (in NY and other cities), and while there were definitely some high and low points, it was the best meal (and overall experience) we've ever had.

                                1. re: twiggles

                                  I went to Per Se last night with my wife and mother. We have all eaten at many Michelen 3 star restaurants throughout Europe, and I (we) can honestly say that the experience at Per Se equaled or surpassed every previous meal.
                                  I will not go into every course, though the oysters-caviar-sabayon is absolutely ethereal.
                                  What was most impressive was the service. It was seemless. From the hostess greeting us, to our jackets waiting in her hands as we approached the door to leave (a first for me anywhere), the service was perfect. There was something relaxing about the experience that you cannot find in Paris (perhaps as an American I am more comforatable in my native NYC). There was zero pretention, nor was it overly familiar. It was simply an effortless balet, perfectly choreographed.

                                  The sommelier was also very impressive, reccomending several 1/2 bottles that we had never had before. The sauterne with the fois-gras was heaven.

                                  For eight courses, plus amuse-bouche, petit-four, an additional desert course, nouget, short-breads etc, we thought the $250.00/person that included tax and tip to be almost reasonable and certainly worth it.