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Jun 11, 2007 03:45 PM

Reviews: Per Se, Po, Buddha Bodai, the Nook, Diamond Dairy

If you followed my link that was posted earlier, then you have already read these reviews. What I've done here is summarize each dining experience, then provide a link to a more detailed, dish-by-dish review.

We enjoyed this dinner very much. Often, Italian food is more comfort food than exciting food, but we felt that the chef did a great job here keeping things interesting. The gnocchi were light and fluffy; the linguine vongole was flavorful; and the white bean ravioli (ordered at the recommendation of a Chowhound review) was faintly sweet and a very good choice.

For the review in its entirety, with photos, follow this link:

Per Se:
We had been looking forward to this dinner very much, since my husband is a big fan of Thomas Keller. We have a 5 diamond restaurant in our area: Victoria & Albert's Restaurant, and we were expecting something similar, in terms of awe-inspiring flavors. We left Per Se disappointed. Only 2 dishes really stood out: the foie gras and the oysters & pearls dish. We felt that here, we paid much more for the Thomas Keller name than for the actual culinary experience. Sure, the dishes were extremely imaginative. But they were nonetheless rather pedestrian in flavor, for all the effort that went into an exotic presentation and creative combinations.
For the review in its entirety, with photos, follow this link:

Buddha Bodai:
Buddha Bodai was one of those places I really wanted to try, because there is a shocking dearth of vegetarian restaurants here in Orlando where we now live. We had never before tried such delicacies as vegetarian ham or vegetarian oysters, and we were eager to experience these. Some of our choices were pretty good, like the durian pastry, but overall, we were underwhelmed. I wish that I had posted on Chowhound beforehand, for advice as to which specific dishes to try. Live and learn! At least here, we were assured that no mystery meat would sneak its way into our dishes, which is always a positive. The prolificacy of Buddhist monks and the Kosher designation posted prominently assured us that I could relax and not have to worry about picking around bacon or pork pieces.
For the review in its entirety, with photos, follow this link:

The Nook:
This was truly the culinary highlight of our trip to Manhattan. We enjoyed every single thing that we ate here, with the possible exception of the apple pie for dessert. The portabello mushroom cigars stand out as memorable for their flavor and texture. The tuna tartare was melt-in-your-mouth tender and so flavorful. I would go back and just order plate after plate of these, given the opportunity!
For the review in its entirety, with photos, follow this link:

Diamond Dairy:
This was yet another find from Chowhound. I ate breakfast here, and it offered what was, for Manhattan, remarkably affordable. For $3.25, I enjoyed eggs, potatoes, bagel with cream cheese, and a cup of coffee. There was nothing pretentious or outstanding about the cuisine here; it was just decent, affordable diner-quality fare. The really interesting thing about this restaurant was the fact that it was located on the second floor of the Diamond Exchange. One wall was glass, so that, as I ate my breakfast, I had a very interesting view of the merchants below setting up shop. I lived in the city for almost 3 years and had never experienced this before. I would definitely recommend this for tourists who want a unique, authentically New York experience.
For the review in its entirety follow this link:

Heather W

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  1. Thanks for the reviews. I had the same sense of disappointment at Per Se.

    But FYI, in case you do want to go back in the future, you can often substitute things at Per Se. For example, I'm sure you could have just gotten the vegetable tasting menu and asked to get some fish dishes as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JoLi

      When I had the grain tasting menu at Del Posto, I left there still hungry. We went to a pub after leaving there and I had a plate of chicken fingers to finally satisfy my hunger. I understand smaller portions for tasting menus, and I favor them in general, to be able to order multi-courses as is the norm in a country such as Italy (app, primi, secondi, etc.), but they should at least come close to filling you up, especially for the prices these places charge. But don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those that judges a restaurants worth by the pile of food they put on your plate either, but the microscopic portions are laughable.

      1. re: MagnumWino

        I agree with you about the small bites - they should add up to a filling meal. At the restaurant I kept comparing Per Se to, Victoria & Albert's Restaurant here in Orlando, we practically have to be rolled out the door after the Chef's Table menu. Yes, there are lots of courses and the portion sizes are small, but no, I never leave hungry.

        I wish I had known about the option to add fish dishes to my vegetable tasting. Quite honestly, though, the only 3 dishes that I could have eaten were the Oysters & Pearls, the scallop, and the rouget barbet. The Oysters & Pearls were amazing, and the scallop was decent but not outstanding, but the rouget barbet was just far too fishy for me. I would have made the request if I'd known, but I doubt we will return. There are other places that are more appealing to us.

        Heather W

        1. re: hmp2z

          And by the way Heather, excellent job on your reviews, very comprehensive, and the photos are great as well!

          1. re: MagnumWino

            Thank you; we love eating, so we try to take lots of pictures and write down lots of details, so that we can always recall the experience clearly.
            Thank you again!
            Heather W

    2. The blintzes at Diamond Dairy Luncheonette are perfect little rolls of goodness. You should try them next time.