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Feb 23, 2008 05:12 PM

Is Per Se worth it?

There's a lot of hype, but is it worth it? I have reservations, and they were willing to knock it down to one person because the person who I was suppose to be going with got ill, but I am wondering if the hype is true.

They raised the price again, and not having any idea what kind of food I am going to be getting make me a little nervous.

How was your experience, and did you have any complaints?

I guess I should say I am looking for a true French experience - cheese cart, etc. Daniel looks nice, but their menu is limiting (I am allergic to all seafood)

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  1. Per Se is the single best restaurant I have ever been to and I have been to many. I don't like dressing in a jacket btw and have a bias against higher end french places for that reason.

    Per Se is definitely better than Daniel.

    Worth it depends how important good food is relative to how much money you have. If you are one of those people who must know what the absolute best tastes like or if you are very wealthy or both, I would say yes it is.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon

      From my understanding it is more 'American food with a french twist' than French. I've spent many moons in France, and don't want to be let down - especially when spending ~400. And I do like to have a decision in what I am going to eat. I really booked this restaurant because I was told it was French, and now I am hearing different - from all over.

      1. re: cmm3

        It is not true French. And in regards to tpigeons comment of "definitely better than Daniel" - this is why ice cream comes in so many flavors, not everyone agrees vanilla is better than chocolate.

        In regards to the seafood allergy I don't think that would be a problem at Daniel especially because the tasting menu there is flexible enough to allow changes. However, Daniel, although closer to a French experience then Per Se, is again not full on French but it is an incredible French influence (the service and surroundings are very French).

        1. re: cmm3

          I did not spend many moons in france but I did drive around the country for a month going to a different 2 or 3 star almost every night. Per Se was better than all of them.

      2. A good guide to what to expect would be The French Laundry Cookbook, which features all the classics. As far as whether its French or American, I'm not sure what that distinction means anymore, but I think you can be pretty assured that the technique is very French--maybe even hyper-French. No cheese cart, however, but a plated cheese course, which I think is kind of lame. It will blow Daniel away.

        1. It is definitely worth it! It was the best meal that I have had and the service was fantastic. My boyfriend took me for my 30th birthday and we were there for six hours. You definitely will not be disappointed.

          1. Yes it if it something you can afford it is definitely worth going to. It's an amazing experience. And in my opinion a step above anything else in the city.

            It's not true French, nor is there a cheese cart (but there is a cheese course). If you do the regular tasting menu instead of the vegetarian one there are normally seafood courses. BUT - you can talk to them in advance (or even once you get there) and they will adjust the meal in any way that you need. They are VERY VERY good about that. (For example, if you tell them you have nut allergies, the parting bag of cookies they give you will be chocolates instead of macaroons which have coconut in them).

            If you go, please report back to us about your meal! I love hearing about that place.

            1. Hi cmm3,

              My experience at Per Se had been nothing but spectacular. I had tried their normal tasting menu, vegetarian menu, and most recently, the fulll tasting menu at lunch. Since you don't eat seafood, you may miss out on some of Keller's signuature dishes, like the amuse of salmon cornettes, the decadent oysters and pearls, and the juciest langoustines. However, I will suggest you calling them ahead to tell them that you are allegic to seafood so that they can plan your substitutes prior to the visit. I know you can do that when you order, but I always think that giving the restaurant advanced notices on your needs / preference will improve your experience as they can plan ahead and make sure the substitutes are just as good as the original. Their non-seafood dishes were all excellent and I am sure you will not be disappointed by the food.

              I used to find the ambiance at Per Se a little stiff (not too bad, and as bad as Daniel actually). However, in my recent lunch visit I found the service to be much more "friendly" and causal. Even the staff seemed to have more smiles on their faces. I don't know if they have improved the service overall recently or if it was just a lunch thing, but I found the lunch to be very relaxing without all the fuss of having to dress up for dinner (though I did sort of dressed much better than normal) or maintaining a consistent level of very formal fine-dining etiquettes.

              As for true French experience, I agree with Spiritchaser that it is not really traditional French dining, and it is reflected on the dishes which tend to be more contenporary both in plating and flavors. I don't recall any dishes having a "sauce" so to speak, and the sauces were replaced by dots of oils, a dash of purees, etc. In terms of the "carts", as jasmurph mentioned, no cheese cart. However, if you feel strongly about choosing the cheese yourself, you should call ahead and see if what they can do about it. Per Se is extremely accommodating and even they may not be able to give you a cheese cart experience, they may be able to come up with an alternative for you.

              All in all, I will say Per Se is sort of the kind of restaurant that you should experience once at least (IMO) if you live in the US. Now you have the opportunity and I will say go for it!