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Per Se price increase

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Looks like it's up to $250 now. (French Laundry is at $240).

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  1. Maybe now there will only be a 59 day wait ;)

    1. Makes my return visit even more unlikely. At $210 I already didn't think the meal was worth it.

      Hopefully with the new price, there won't be additional supplements: foie gras ($40) and truffles ($60). If not, I think it's ridiculous for him to charge those prices and still ask for supplements. I'm sure I'll get attacked for this, but it's just my opinion.

      1. BUT keep in mind, service is included, which you won't find anywhere else. I believe they are still charging supplements for things like foie and truffles.....but I still don't think its expensive for what you get. Not that you can go everday or every week...but I still think its a wonderful experience.

        10 Replies
        1. re: nycfoodie

          What do you mean by "service is included"? When I went, it was $210 + $140 for wine pairing + $40 for foie gras = $390. After tip and tax, it came out to about $490. Did I overpay for service?

          1. re: JoLi

            Though I've not been to Per Se, I read that when the prix-fixe cost was raised to over $200, service was included. Did your bill not distinctly reflect that?

            1. re: RGR

              Unfortunately I don't remember.

              1. re: RGR

                The $210, or now $250, price INCLUDES service (ie. tip/gratuity). So you do not need to tip extra, any additional tip that you left is just that - additional tip.

                1. re: eatfood

                  yes, it includes the tip. my husband and i went, not sure what to expect, but left convinced that it was absolutely worth the price.

                  1. re: twiggles

                    I agree, after my meal, I had no doubts at all that the meal was worth it.

                    In fact, I can't wait to go back!

                  2. re: eatfood

                    Wow, I wonder how people have done what I did. I feel rather stupid now.

                    Those waiters must make a lot on people's mistake.

                    1. re: JoLi

                      I've been twice and paid twice since the gratuity included
                      policy went into effect (ugh, the pain)....both times it was
                      told to me by the staff at least a couple of times each night that service was included. They clearly went out of their way to tell me.
                      There was no way I could accidentaly tip more, but I did anyway.
                      There is no way the staff would ever try that old trick.

                      1. re: JoLi

                        No, "JoLi", they just think you were really happy, and that you are generous. We knew the tip was included, but left an additional tip on top anyway.

                        Per se is our idea of heaven (except for the price), and we are so giddy with happiness after that dinner that we feel compelled to do silly things like that.

                        Then we eat rice and beans for the rest of the week... er... month. :-)

                  3. re: JoLi

                    Some posts related to tipping on wine have been moved over to our Not About Food board. If you'd like to follow that discussion, you can find it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364056

                2. Once a year super treat for me.

                  1. There's a story out today (confirmed by his publicist) that Keller uses frozen fries at the Bouchon restaurants. Maybe he needs to charge $250 at Per Se to cover fresh tater costs!

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: jasmurph

                      The Bouchon Bakery is a separate, much more casual and affordable entity than Per Se.

                      1. re: Lucia

                        I wasn't suggesting that they were the same. I was just calling attention to his willingness to cut corners at Bouchon as indicative of Keller's greed. TK long ago left the realm of reality and decency when it comes to pricing his food. In 2003 at French laundry you could get a 5-course meal for $115 and a 9-course meal for $135. Per Se in 2004 had a $125 5 course tasting and $150 9-course. What has happened in the past 2.5 years to make his prices go up 66% at Per Se? Is he putting oil in the food? His food may be great; his prices are gross.

                        1. re: jasmurph

                          Are you comparing the right numbers?

                          When did Per Se start including the service charge into the menu prices?

                          I doubt the 2003 price of 135 included service charge!

                          1. re: eatfood

                            It didn't. I don't know exactly, but I think it was around the beginning of last year or shortly before that that service was included in the Per Se bill.

                            1. re: Lucia

                              We dined at the French Laundry about five years ago. A service charge was already included with our $105 5-course prix fixe. We did add on to it because the service was exceptional and our head server took my BF on a tour of the kitchen after our meal.

                      2. re: jasmurph

                        If you can not produce a consistent product with fresh potatoes then a quality frozen product is the better choice.

                        And for the record. Those frozen fries have a higher food cost the whole potatoes.

                        1. re: oysterspearls

                          I read the article and found the story quite amusing.
                          According to one of the sources cited, the speculation is that the only reason to use the frozen potatoes is to save in cost.

                          1. re: oysterspearls

                            I have to disagree. Peeling, cutting, blanching and re-frying potatoes (in the Belgian style) is the only way to make great fries. When you factor in labor (peeling, cutting etc.) and the high price of good potatoes, making them in-house is more expensive. Keller is taking a short-cut, which is fine if he wants an inferior result, but call it what it is: a cost saving short-cut.

                            1. re: tbear

                              You are entitled to your opinion.

                              1. re: oysterspearls

                                Surely you can't be suggesting that french fries/frites made with frozen potatoes are better than fresh? What nonsense. Why do you think fast-food places use frozen potatoes? To save on labor costs and storage space!

                                What heresy.

                                1. re: sundevilpeg

                                  Again. It is about consistency! In a home setting you may be able to produce better fries using fresh potatoes. But there is little relation between home cooking and maintaining a successful restaurant.

                                  Heresy? Thank you for the chuckle.

                                  1. re: oysterspearls

                                    No, no, no...Seriously, frozen fries TASTE better. They fry up better, ask any line cook. Maybe the water content does something, I don't know.

                                    1. re: oysterspearls

                                      I agree with O&P. restaurants need consistency and frozen gives u that. size, fry temp, color, etc... the taste profile does not change that much. At the end of the day, the quality of the potato it came from is more important. (frozen idaho vs fresh new hampshire)

                            2. re: jasmurph

                              We had lunch at Bouchon in Yountville last May and absolutely loved the food; fries and all! Fresh, impeccably prepared fish, delicious cauliflower gratin and perfectly prepared, crispy and tasty, perfectly browned, delicate fries. Quite frankly, I could not care less if they were frozen or not, they were delicious.

                              Not that Keller needs me to defend him, but can you imagine how brutal the cost of running a small restaurant like per se must be at the Time Warner center. And I can just imagine how expensive it was to build the sleek and elegant interior of the restaurant.
                              And when you consider the impeccable service, with nothing left to chance, every attention given to the diners, the whole thing must be a scary (expensive) operation to run.

                            3. I feel Per Se is the best restaurant in NYC... so, have no problem with the price they charge. It's worth it compared to what you pay at other places. I agree with the comment about the supplements... except, perhaps for white truffles, which cost an arm and a leg. In a place like Per Se, they should include foie gras and black truffles in the degustation price.

                              If it makes anyone feel better, even at what they charge its unlikely that the restaurant will turn a profit for many many years... as they paid so much to build the place (plus the cost of the delays with the fire in the building)... so, while its expensive, Thomas isn't rolling in dough.

                              1. Per Se vs Laundry...

                                Only $10 apart??? Should be a bigger difference. Think the Laundry is a little high at $240.

                                1. Don't Go........Stay Away.......Don't waste your time. Spend a couple of great hours shopping, drinking, walking, sight seeing and then have dinner at Daniel, Jean George, Eleven Madison Park, Cafe Buloud, et al. Per Se is a rip off...........

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Littleman

                                    Here's where your logic fails... my wife would prob spend around $2k shopping in NYC in 2 hours. Per Se winds up to be less $. OK, just kidding.

                                    Per Se is more of a grande experience than the others you mention. They are all great spots, agreed.... and less money (although still expensive). Personally, I've always loved Cafe Boulud a lot, esp when Andrew Carmellini was the chef.

                                    How is Cafe Boulud since Andrew left? Been to A Voce, the place he opened. Heard mixed reviews, and its supposed to be very loud.

                                    1. re: WineTravel

                                      Wine Travel I have been to Cafe Boulud twice recently, once with Emeril Lagasse and his lovely wife Alden for 4 hours. The foods is outstanding.

                                      1. re: Littleman

                                        Thanks for the info... even if it's a bit tardy. Haven't been on the board for quite a while. That's great news... figured as much as Daniel knows what he is doing with that place. Ive had some excellent meals at Daniel, but have always preferred it over Daniel. Will get there soon.

                                  2. Per Se is worth every bit of the $250. My wife and I went a few months back and it was by far the best dining experience of our lives. Far superior to the other top restaurants in New York, in our opinion. If we had paid $350, it would have been worth it.

                                    We knew that gratuity was included (though we also can't figure out why they made that change), but we tipped additional since the service was so extraordinary.

                                    As for "greedy", I don't believe TK (or any other chef) has any obligation to provide their food and services for any less than the market will pay them. Why should they charge any less than they can get? Essentially that would be subsidizing the public's "right" to access their restaurant. They have absolutely no obligation to do that. And why is there no screaming about Masa's prices by the folks voicing the price complaints?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: binkis

                                      "Why should they charge any less than they can get? Essentially that would be subsidizing the public's "right" to access their restaurant. They have absolutely no obligation to do that."

                                      Essentially Keller does do that. he could charge $500 or $750 a head and it would still be impossible to get a reservation.

                                    2. Also, keep in mind what other things cost these days... remember when the best Broadway seats cost $100. Now, they are $250 per head... hey, the same price as a meal at Per Se... without wine.

                                      If anyone has a problem with what Per Se charges... don't go. Don't complain about it.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: WineTravel

                                        Amen. My felicific calculus would never permit me to go to Per Se or the TFL as long as I'm aware that the same $250 would buy me 4,000 of Shanghai's best xiaolong bao.

                                        1. re: WineTravel

                                          I agree wholeheartedly with WineTravel. My salary is pretty low but great food is very important to me. It took me 3 months to save up but I am finally going to Per Se in mid-February.

                                          I do have an etiquette question if anyone wants to take a stab. I don't drink alcohol. Since Thomas Keller believes in balancing every taste on the plate, would it be terrible if I ordered a soda? I had some sodas at WD-50 a while back and no one gave me looks of disgust. But I am worried that to some chefs, it might seem like sacrilege. Should I stick to bottled water?

                                          1. re: Crispchip

                                            In answer to the question re: ordering soda.
                                            I've been a chef at many top restaurants and I think the main problem with the soda would be that it could throw the balance of the dishes you're eating off.

                                            Call the sommelier over, explain that you do not consume alcohol but that you would very much enjoy a beverage other than water with your meal. They should be able to come up with some great suggestions. As a chef I've often made special juices, spritzers and infusions to go with courses for guests who cannot do wine.

                                            I would expect nothing less of Per Se

                                            1. re: Crispchip

                                              There was actually an article a while back on how at Per Se Keller has developed non-alcoholic drink pairings with many of its foods, so you might want to look into that.

                                            2. re: WineTravel

                                              I also agree w/ WineTravel... if you have a prob with the price, just don't go. Why is everyone bitching about it?

                                            3. hey, i guess that makes Masa at 350 per (and at least twice the number of courses) a relative bargain. At Masa, Chef Masa Takayama actually prepares every single dish for you, at Per Se, I highly doubt Thomas Keller is even putting the sprig of parsley at the end, before each dish is sent out of the kitchen.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: kevin

                                                I'd imagine Masa's uses much more expensive ingredients, too.

                                                1. re: Gary Soup

                                                  FYI, Masa raised their per person price to $400 before tip or tax

                                                2. re: kevin

                                                  Is masa better than Yasuda? Never been to Masa. Per Se is the best restaurant I have been to, and don't forget the in-between courses you get there sometimes.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Nor does he claim to. Keller is not the chef at Per Se. Jonathan Benno is the chef.

                                                  2. over 250... 1500plus for a 1982 latour wont get 20%from me etc

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: fmseegal

                                                      It IS sad how much wine pricing has gone thru the roof lately. Interesting you mention 82 Latour... killer wine... it RETAILS for $2000+ per bottle right now.

                                                    2. Thanks to those who replied. We went last night with very high expectations which were met AND exceeded. The food of course was fantastic...but it was the whole experience (decor, service, view, mood, crowd) that made it unbelievable. I will never forget it.

                                                      I did end up ordering a soda but I drank it only between courses. The pacing was lovely and allowed for leisurely sips while digesting and relaxing. I stuck to the bottled water otherwise.

                                                      $250 seems like a bargain for one of the best meals of my life. I'm going to start saving up all over again for next time!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Crispchip

                                                        That's how I felt (and still do) after our visit to the French Laundry. I know some folks think it's crazy to spend that much but I say if you can swing it and have an appreciation for the food and what goes into the preparation, it's worth it. I've yet to have a culinary experience that matched Thomas Keller.

                                                      2. I went there for the first time last month and thought it was the most incredible dining experience ever. Agreed by my other 4 foodie family/friends that were with me that night. We were there for 5 hours with 9 courses + extra. None of us wanted the wine pairing so we told their wine expert we wanted few glasses throughout the course to compliment the food and we were looking to spend XX-XXX each. Excellent choices she made! Spent about 350 pp and it was worth every penny. We will try to make this an annual trip.

                                                        1. It's worth noting that the $250 not only includes service, but also includes all non-alcoholic beverages.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: avae

                                                            Based on the price of wine these days, the price of the meal at Per Se actually seems cheap!

                                                          2. Does anyone know if the lunch price is different from the dinner price? Thanks.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: tanja

                                                              it's not.

                                                              1. re: tanja

                                                                Absolutely no different in price and in product.

                                                                1. re: eatfood

                                                                  Thanks, jasmurph and eatfood. Very helpful.

                                                                  1. re: tanja

                                                                    I actually prefer lunch to dinner. More time to digest.

                                                              2. I see that in January 2008, Per Se increased the price to $275 per person but the new, revised website, does not make it clear that the $275 includes the tip. Anyone know for sure what the case is?

                                                                As well, I know see they now have a 5 course lunch option of $175 but it appears that you can still do the 9 course option at lunch as well. Its not altogether clear from the website.

                                                                Anyone been there in the new year that knows for sure where things stand?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: medicinejar

                                                                  Service included.

                                                                  1. re: medicinejar

                                                                    Thanks oysterpearls! I called today before reading your response and found out:

                                                                    1) as you noted, service is still included

                                                                    2) the 9 course tasting menu continues to be available at lunch