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Anything NEGATIVE about Per Se?

Going for my birthday (so excited) and have heard so many positive things, but not really any negatives.

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  1. See my critical review from April.

    3 Replies
    1. re: guttergourmet

      Did you start the post? For some reason, I cannot locate it.

        1. re: guttergourmet

          Thanks-I searched a couple of different ways and it didn't come up for me.

    2. the only negative is that i can't get a reservation

      1. i have found the sommilier only recommends very expensive wines ($500+) unless expressly told not too which is obviously kinda embarassing. the wine list actually contains many wines under $100. other than that everything else is pretty amazing.

        5 Replies
        1. re: shane

          DH had the sommelier put together a wine tasting with our meal. I believe it came out to $125-$150/person.

          I also wrote a semi-critical review a few months back about Per Se. While the food was good, we were a bit disappointed to witness half the tables around us got a LOT of extra courses (not just one or two) because they were chefs. It was really noticeable as Per Se only has one menu.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            @ Miss Needle- are you sure they were receiving extra courses simply because they were chefs? You can opt to add in as many additional courses as you'd like if you're willing to pay for them. I think we ended up having fifteen or so when I went for lunch.

            1. re: foodie4life

              I'm pretty sure as I asked the waitstaff about it. They told me pretty bluntly that it was because they were chefs.

              My sister-in-law went to Maremma recently with a chef and told me they received so many extra courses that she got full before the mains were served.

            2. re: Miss Needle

              People known to the house or are in the industry will get better treatment no matter what, It is that way at virtually every high end restaurant in existance. That being said, your level of enjoyment can go up exponentially if you can manage this VIP service. (maybe this is why the sommelier pushes the $500 bottles of wine as the poster mentioned above). Then again the last time I was there, we order the 9 course tasting menu and ended up with 18-19 courses w/ pairings (hard to say exactly) and nobody knew us and we never worked in any restaurant. I think they could figure out we were really into food. The regular 9 course menu is great but when they start adding courses, bringing everybody at the table different things, it can be mindblowing....

              read phoebe Damrouche (sp?) new book, she was a server at Per Se....

              Be careful with the wine pairings at Per Se, many have overindulged and then later when on to regret that they drank to much and didn't enjoy the food as much as possible....

              1. re: Cpalms

                Agreed about the wine pairings... I got blackout drunk by the time dessert (and our 11th glass of wine) rolled around.

          2. Cheese course is awful, desserts not as good as they should be, and the meat entrees are not noticeably better than at other good restaurants around town. First half of the meal can be pretty good.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Wilfrid

              Hmmm Wilfred, what is your favorite NYC restaurant then? This is one of the only substantially bad reports. I'm very interested.

              1. re: doona

                Not a full report, because the OP specifically asked for the negatives. Setting, service and most of the early courses are lovely. I think it should maintain the standard throughout given its price and reputation. Personally I think you can be more confident of that at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

              2. re: Wilfrid

                I'll have to second Wilfrid on the desserts -- major, inexcusable letdown. None of the Per Se "sweets" could compare to the extraordinary offerings at Robuchon. But overall, Per Se is justifiably notches above the rest. (Except for, once again, Robuchon.)

              3. There is very little negative to say, especially if you try to compare it with other restaurants that are considered at a similar level. Have a great dinner!

                1. When are you going? Please post a report after you go. My husband and I are going to Per Se for the first time on December 29th, and I'm looking for the inside scoop!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: becca31

                    Thank you all for all your suggestions. I found the whole night incredible. If there was a rating on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 8. The night was extraordinary with sweet surprises throughout the whole meal. It was my birthday and they titled in on a menu that they gave to all of my table; they steamed off the wine label and gave it to us in a folder with the personalized menu's at the end of the evening; they gave us a tour of the kitchen before we left. It was absolutely incredible.

                    So, the two “points” would be docked for two reasons:

                    The food wasn't as impressive as I would have hoped and anticipated based on other opinions. Everything was cooked just the way it was meant to be cooked, but the first complimentary dish was their signature caviar dish with tapioca in an almost béarnaise-like sauce. I was blown away. After that though, everything was really simple not including that many sauces, which I do love. The dishes were full of flavor, but it was more showing off the preparation than the elegance.

                    The second point would be taken off due to the knowledge of the waiters. Per Se (supposedly) changes their menu every night, and I am fully aware that it would take a lot for each waiter to memorize the items, know where they come from, etc. And our waiter did “research” by asking the other waiters in the restaurants, but he seemed almost annoyed. So, the ½ point for feeling annoyed, the other ½ a point for Per Se not fully educating their servers every night.

                    On the other hand, it seemed like there were so many people around our table all the time making their service very noticeable, and great service it was indeed. I have found that a lot of the restaurants I have been to with impeccable service make their appearance to be invisible – but this was not. It was very apparent that there were being at service to our every move, but some might find this not what they are looking for at a fine dining restaurant.

                    Oh, and PS: there are like 4 dessert courses. Amazing.

                  2. I've found the service at Per Se pretty terrible. My husband once asked a question about how the terrine of foie gras was prepared; not only did the waiter not know the answer, but we could hear him and his colleagues gossiping about my husband "daring" to ask such a question. Nice. Also, the vegetables were cooked poorly the night we went.
                    I hope you have a better time than we did!

                    1. I'm very surprised by all the negative comments. I've eaten at PerSe about 10 times including 3 times in the Private dining room. Every time the food and service was fantastic. Every meal I've had was better then anything I've had in NYC. I've had waiters answer any question I asked and the sommelier(Jimmy) is very gracious. You can also get a non-alcoholic matching. It's fantastic, some went better then the wines!! I try and go every 3 months or so. I find it heads and tails above all other restaurants in the city.