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We must get into Per Se

Ok, after a week in Napa/Sonoma last summer during which French Laundry was closed the WHOLE time, getting into Per Se is my #1 focus for our trip in August.

Anyway, would anybody like to give me the 411 on getting a great reservation there? We'll be in town from August 3rd-13th. We have a dinner to go to on Saturday night, but other than that we're open. I would rather do dinner, but if worse comes to worse I'll do lunch. Any hints on getting a reservation and/ or what day would be the best day to try for (do they have less busy days? Probably not). Also, can anybody give me an idea of the length of dinner? We don't have time constraints, but I'm curious. Last, what's a ballpark for dinner for two? We're not under any sort of budget for this dinner, but again...I'm curious.

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  1. Call at 10am one month before the first day you're available for dinner (so July 3, I guess), and see what you get. I had no trouble getting a reservation for a Saturday night this way, and this was a couple of years ago, shortly after they opened. We got a 5:30 res and were at the table until at least 7:30, maybe more like 8-8:15. I believe the prix-fixe is now $175pp?

      1. re: LeahBaila

        For some reason I don't think paying for a reservation is good karma, but if all else fails...I'm there. Thanks!

        1. re: LeahBaila

          LeahBaila, have you actually gotten a reservation for Per Se that way? Because I think I remember the last time you made this suggestion, it was pointed out that this pay-for-reservations site you like to recommend doesn't actually ever have any availability for Per Se.

          1. Per their web site:

            Call two months in advance to the calendar date at 10am.

            If you can, get two other people to come with you, as 4-tops seem easier to grab than 2-tops.

            Per Se puts on OT a few tables but not all their inventory.

            Tips on using Open Table:

            Chowhound discussion on difficulty of getting a reservation:

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn

              Oops, I thought it was one month - thanks to kathryn for extra accuracy!

            2. I made a reservation a few weeks back for my trip at the end of May, Was trying for a Sunday lunch time, and when they say call at 10 am they mean it I called at 10:02 got the busy signal 5 times then was on hold for about 15 min before snagging one of the last 2 reservations they had left. So call very promptly at 10:00 2 months out

              1. Odd hours are your friend...5:30 is my choice. But do the 2 months in advance thing - 28 seats 1 million rich people, that kind of thing...

                1. I like doing lunch at Per Se because the view over Central Park is priceless. My last lunch lasted close to 3 hours.

                  1. I recently used OpenTable to reserve at Per Se. I had heard that the easiest reservation is Sunday lunch, so that's what we aimed for. I kept to the two months out timeline and immediately got a reservation for the date and hour I wanted. Totally hassle-free!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: RGR

                      I'm confused about using opentable for Per Se reservations...When I've tried to make Per Se reservation on opentable it always tells me that I can only reserve up to one-month out eventhough the restaurant's rules are two-months out. RGR, how did you successfully make a per se reservation using opentable???

                      1. re: cutebee

                        Hey, cutebee,

                        First off, we chose to go there on a Sunday for lunch because I had heard that it was easier to get a table for lunch than for dinner. (Lunch is served only on Fri., Sat., and Sun.)

                        I definitely did reserve exactly two months from the day of, and, obviously, I did not have any difficulty doing so on OpenTable.

                        I just did an experiment. I plugged in Sun., Sept. 7th (which is nearly 8 weeks away), 1 p.m., for 4 people, and OpenTable is showing availability for 12:15 and 1 p.m. For 2 people, an 11:30 a.m. reservation is available.

                        Thus, it appears that when it comes to Per Se, the one-month OpenTable rule does not apply.

                        (Note: I also plugged in July 27th, three weeks away, and there are reservations available for 4 people, but not for 2.)

                        The regular 9-course menu with all the extra bells and whistles is served at lunch. (There is also a less expensive 5-course option.) It was a wonderful, long, relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

                        1. re: RGR

                          Last minute sometimes works too... I was suprised when I called there today and was able to get a res for 9:30 tomorrow evening for 2! Unfortunately I was making it for someone else so won't be enjoying the meal myself!

                    2. They're on vacation at Per Se right now (or will be later this week, when my own 2-month timing comes up). Anyone have any idea if they've still got people answering the reservation line during this time? And when it comes to open table, would making the reservation at midnight (instead of by phone at 10 the following morning) pretty much do the trick or be allowed? Thanks in advance.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: LulusMom

                        You can make the reservation at any time on OpenTable. I made mine for Per Se in the very early a.m., and it was a breeze. I was interested in Sunday lunch, so that may have been a factor because I've noticed that it's easier to get a table for lunch

                        1. re: RGR

                          Thanks RGR, thats really helpful. Is the lunch menu brunch-y or just lighter than the dinner menu? I'm not a big fan of breakfast/brunch foods.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            The Lunch meal is the same as the dinner.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Hey, LulusMom,

                              Lunch at Per Se is definitely *not* brunch. They offer exactly the same 9-course tasting menu that is served at dinner at the same cost, i.e., $275pp. However, there is also a 5-course tasting for $175pp, which is not available at dinner. We did the 9-course. An absolutely splendid way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

                              Btw, I'm with you on the breakfast-style stuff at brunch. My husband feels the same way, so when we go out for brunch, we either choose a restaurant that has lots of lunch-style dishes on the brunch menu or a restaurant that serves a straight lunch menu.

                              1. re: RGR

                                !! I'm so used to people being shocked that I am uninterested in eggs, bacon, waffles, but truly, the very thought bores me. Thanks again for the info - it helps me so much to know that if dinner doesn't work out, lunch will be a very good option.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Obviously, I don't find your view of eggs, waffles, etc., at all shocking. It's that "great minds" thingy. :-))

                                  Note that Per Se serves lunch only on Friday, Satuday, and Sunday.

                        2. If you must go, just call them up and tell them to put you on the waitlist everyday. It has worked in the past.