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Last year Per Se - what now?

Each year it is my job to make reservations at a fabulous restaurant. It's always for the second weekend in December. There are 12 of us which really complicates things. Last year we had the private dining room at Per Se. Previously we ate at Alaine Ducasse, Daniel and Jean- Georges (only 8 that year). Places I am considering this year are EMP, Blue Hill, Bouley and the Modern. They all have private dining rooms. Need a wow factor - where would you go?

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  1. Clem, very impressive list and therefore hard to top- I think Per Se is going to be riding the crest of the NYC scene for at least a couple of years- doesn't seem to be anything new this year or on the horizon anywhere near PS level. Your consideration list is certainly lovely but at a different level than PS and Alaine Ducasse. Question - are you considering Blue Hill in the Village or Pocantico Hills? If you had to classify, is your group more formal gourmands or hard core "foodies?" If you are open I would suggest orchestrating an evening in which you arrange several cars through a service, complete with champagne, and head straight to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I do not know if you have been but it is truly transcending (Wow factor off the charts)- and I believe it should be on the required list for anyone who truly appreciates all aspects of food and dining. They book two months out so if you are interested call immediately- you will not be disappointed and it will be beautiful during the holidays.

    1 Reply
    1. re: acenyc

      Since the discussion on Blue Hill was continuing, we moved it over to the Tristate board. If you want to continue that conversation, you can find it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/453174

    2. Why not Le Bernardin? I would take it over any of your options except maybe Bouley. EMP and Modern are at least a small step below the caliber of the restaurants that you guys have been, IMO. And Blue Hill, while charming, is a big step below.

      1 Reply
      1. re: AppleSpam

        I omitted Le Bernardin from my list because we have reservations there for just four of us the night before. I agree with you about Blue Hill in the West Village, but I am trying for something different. I would like to try it on my own sometime.

      2. I hate to recommend, and actually never recommended, any place that I’ve personally not been to, but since you seem to be making the rounds of the top tier establishments here, why don’t you try L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons?

        1. Hi Clem13,

          I second the recommendation of Blue Hills at Stone Barns from acenyc. With 12 people, you may be able to arrange a "field trip" at the farm which will make the dinner a big more special. It will be amazing to have dinner at Blue Hills in winter with all the home-grown sweet winter vegetables!

          You mentioned about repeating the same experience. Since you have been having French / New American fine dining every year, would you like to try Italian? Del Posto will be able to accommodate your big party and the decor and level of quality will match with the rest of the past experiences. I personally like Babbo slightly better, but I think it will be hard to fit your 12 people group in Babbo.

          While I am a big fan of Robuchon, I will not recommend it for your case becasue it will indeed be very similar to what you have experienced before. IMO you will not be wow'ed by it.


          3 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko

            How about the Boardroom at the James Beard House?

            1. re: Clem13

              what's that? I have been there many times and never seen a Board Room!

              1. re: ChefJune

                The Boardroom at the James Beard House is a private dining room where they host private events. Check out there website.

          2. Would you please tell us what dining in the private room at Per Se is like, as opposed to the main dining room? I may have to book a table there soon, myself, and would love to hear about your experience. Thanks in advance.

            1 Reply
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              I really liked the private room at Per Se. The room is divided by a glass wall from the main dining room. This allowed us privacy without feeling removed from everything. There is also a big glass window that looks out on Columbus Circle. The service was impeccable and it was also friendly. The room seats 10 - no exceptions. The main dining room will not seat that many people. We also dined in the private room at Alaine Ducasse. It was beautiful, but kind of removed and boring. The food was excellent, though. I felt the private dining experience at Per Se was exceptional. If you can get it, I wouldn't hesitate. I may be wrong, but I think the private room may be easier to get then a table in the main dining room. I did book in June for December, though.

            2. Wow, that is a stellar list and near impossible to top. Per Se is the pinnacle of New York fine dining in my opinion. In order to compensate for the inferior food by choosing a place other than those mentiioned above, perhaps look into places with a Chef's table in the kitchen? Or something "fun," like Degustation (nowhere near as fancy as Per Se, Alaine Ducasse, etc...). What if you called in advanced and reserved Degustation and tried to organize a special menu?

              I like to eats.

              2 Replies
              1. re: druz99

                That's kind of what I was thinking, too. Since I can't top Per Se why not go in another direction and make it unique and fun. Any suggestions for chef's tables? I know it seems like I am going all over the place, i.e. Blue Hill as Stone Barns, etc., but that is how I finalize my decision. In the mean time I will check out Degustation.

                1. re: Clem13

                  Also, see if you can arrange something special with L'atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons. Booking the whole bar/counter for your company and arranging a customized menu might be a nice touch. As long as you are willing to flash the cash, these places will bend backwards for you and cater to your needs. Good luck!

                  I like to eats.

              2. I'll throw out Masa, but not sure if they have a private dining room.

                1 Reply
                1. re: offthebeatenpath1

                  They do have one. It's booked as is Del Posto.

                2. I think I want to be one of your friends!

                  (Any tips re: the private dning room at Per Se? We may be booking it for a private party ourselves.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BW212

                    Timing. I booked about 6 months out. I contacted Celia Laurent via email at CLaurent@perseny.com The room was available - I booked and she mailed me a contract. It was easy. The hard part is having the room available. It seats no more than 10. It is just a guess , but I thing you have a better chance with the private room than with the main dining room. Good luck - it is definitely worth it!

                  2. Hey, Clem,

                    I'm not exactly sure why, but Tocqueville tends to travel a bit under the usual radar. If you're thinking EMP, Blue Hill (particularly Stone Barns), Bouley and The Modern, you should certainly consider it. We were just there for a second time in the past few months, and I must say that Chef/owner Marco Moreira is really on his game. Both dinners were truly delicious! Even had some "Wow! moments. (Note: We've been to Tocqueville many times over the years.)

                    I really love the space with its understated elegance. The private dining room is upstairs, overlooking the main dining room.


                    P.S. I posted a response to your query upthread re: Blue Hill @ Stone Barns, but the mods took it down because discussions of BHSB belong on the Tri-State board. You might want to consider posting there, and we can discuss it further. :-)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RGR

                      Funny you should mention Tocqueville, I was checking it out. I will check the Tri-State board - Thanks.

                    2. After consulting a few others in our group and after all the great ideas, I decided to go with the safe choice of EMP. I'm not excited about this choice but it's hard to please everyone in a group of 12. I will have more flexibility when I'm not planning for a large group. My daughter has an apartment near Union Square Park and is going to law school. This is just her first year, so I'll have some time to do some fun things. Thanks for your help.