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What's better than Per Se?

CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 10:12 AM

My boyfriend took me to Per Se for my b-day. Now his b-day is coming up and I need to find a place that will top Per Se. I am looking for something in Manhattan so French Laundry is out. Please help! Thanks!!!!

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  1. b
    binkis RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 11:00 AM

    I'm not trying to be funny here, but nothing is better than Per Se, in my opinion. So topping it is out of the question.

    I wonder if instead he would be into a completely different but still adventurous outing. I'm thinking Peter Lugers or Degustation.

    If you're trying for 4-star, I would say Le Bernadin or JG, but as fantastic as those places are (and they ARE), you won't top Per Se.

    2 Replies
    1. re: binkis
      jsmitty RE: binkis Apr 10, 2007 11:13 AM

      Tasting Room
      Le Bernadin

      1. re: jsmitty
        twiggles RE: jsmitty Apr 10, 2007 12:01 PM

        those places are all great, but not even close to Per Se, imho. There are definitely those that will not agree, but Per Se was the best dining experience I've ever had, hands down. Jean Georges comes closest in my experience- amazing food, near perfect service that wasn't too stuffy. Daniel is a nice overall experience, but I wasn't impressed with the food, and found it really stuffy. I didn't have a good experience at Veritas, but many on this board really like it. But it is not in the same league. Babbo may work, the food is wonderful, but the atmosphere is not very formal. Le B has amazing fish, but again the atmosphere is lacking. So, to make a long story short, i guess JG is my vote!

    2. steve h. RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 11:22 AM

      Perhaps a visit to Sushi Yasuda could fill the bill. Reserve a spot at Yasuda's station and let the master choreograph your evening. Your wallet will take a considerable hit but the experience should stack up favourably to Per Se without competing with it.

      1. t
        tpigeon RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 11:57 AM

        I am also in the can't top per se camp. I would second the recs for Babbo or Yasuda for a still excellent meal but completely different from Per Se.

        1. Melanie RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 12:13 PM

          I agree with the other posters - you won't top per se in terms of a restaurant experience. Therefore, have you thought about doing something completely different? (cooking a special dinner with a REALLY nice bottle of champagne, having a picnic on your rooftop if the weather is warmer, etc.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Melanie
            Cpalms RE: Melanie Apr 10, 2007 12:55 PM

            In NYC, you can't really but you could try with Masa. A completely different but equally unique once in a lifetime type expierence or maybe Blue Hill at the Stone Barns.....or maybe Joel Rubuchon...Le Bernidin or JG will pale in comparison to Per Se....

          2. p
            pinkyswore RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 01:05 PM

            From the fact that you want to "top it," I'm guessing you're both adventurous eaters? Why not try WD-50?

            1 Reply
            1. re: pinkyswore
              NYChristopher RE: pinkyswore Apr 12, 2007 09:52 AM

              Oh thank heavens ... I was almost afraid to post my shout out for WD-50, one of my NYC favorites. Also a big fan of Blue Ribbon (NB: no reservations) ... bone marrow on toast points, mmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

            2. m
              MRich RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 02:54 PM

              A vote for Le Bernadin.

              Of course hype-wise the only place that could stand up to Per Se is Masa. Haven't been there myself.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MRich
                FoodWine RE: MRich Apr 12, 2007 09:00 AM

                That is the problem: The hype about Le Bernardin is just that: hype.

                In our experience, Le Bernardin was a huge disappointment. The food was only partly excellent (some appetizers) and mostly mediocre. The service was inattentive, arrogant and even rude. (Except for the sommelier, who was terrific).

                Per se and Le Bernardin are several universes apart, both in food quality and in service.
                Both excel at per se. Per se is much more expensive than LB, but still we cannot wait to go back there, while LB will not see us again - unless a miracle happens and they shape up, or a friend or business connection insist on dining there and wants us to join (on their dime).

              2. livetotravel RE: CEB280 Apr 10, 2007 04:17 PM

                Absolutley nothing. But equally impressive and totlally different - Masa. And then in third place, Le Bernardin.

                1 Reply
                1. re: livetotravel
                  DoctortedNYC RE: livetotravel Apr 10, 2007 04:57 PM

                  I agree. Hard to top Per Se, but L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon comes fairly close.
                  Other possibilities:
                  The London
                  River Cafe

                2. chowcito RE: CEB280 Apr 11, 2007 09:10 AM

                  The consensus seems to be that you're not going to top Per Se. Fine. For the wow effect I'd head up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns - perhaps make a night of it and find an Inn or the like. The space in my opinion is more pleasing than that of Per Se -- the service while not as polished as at Per Se is no slouch either. Food here is my favorite in the city (and surrounding area) and actually trumps my experience at Per Se.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowcito
                    NYChristopher RE: chowcito Apr 12, 2007 09:54 AM

                    My Blue Hill at Stone Barns experience was:
                    Great venue, great concept, enthusiastic staff ... and sadly average food.
                    I dare say, I might not make the effort to get there from Manhattan a second time (though when visiting friends in Westchester, I'll leap to suggest it.

                  2. n
                    NY Wine Guy RE: CEB280 Apr 11, 2007 12:01 PM


                    Go to Veritas and spend the difference on a great bottle of wine

                    1. a
                      aimeezing1 RE: CEB280 Apr 11, 2007 03:00 PM

                      I have to agree that per se is the top of the heap - why not just go there again and have another totally memorable meal - I am still dreaming of the oysters and caviar - went there last year for my 25th anniversary and certainly wouldn't be adverse to another trip for my 50th this year!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: aimeezing1
                        ELA RE: aimeezing1 Apr 11, 2007 03:16 PM

                        If it has to be in NY, in my opinion, on the "fine dining" side, Daniel and Jean-Georges are two that might, could, etc. be on par depending on your tastes, likes and dislikes. -- food, ambiance, environment, service, etc. However, I am going to go outside the box here for a minute. If you have a car, and/or want to turn this into an overnight trip -- think about Le Bec Fin in Philly. I haven't been there in about a year and a half, maybe two years; however, I have always found the place, the meal, and everything else nothing but "incredible". Good luck and Enjoy! Eric

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