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Per Se 'service included' and drinks

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"Service Included" - does this really mean no tip is required or expected?

Regarding drinks...we have reservations here for our trip, but to go will probably mean keeping drink costs here down. I quite often enjoy just chilled water with fine food...I take it this wouldn't be frowned upon here? :) Also, it would be good to know if Per Se carried a good selection of beers and/or if they offered anything special by way of soft drinks.

Many thanks.

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  1. Correct. Service included means that gratuity is automatically calculated as part of your bill. More here:
    http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/16/pf/ti...
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/opi...

    However, given the level of service at Per Se, many people choose to leave an additional tip on top of the automatic "service included" amount.

    Per Se, like any other high end restaurant, does not (and should not) discriminate against diners who choose not to enjoy alcohol with their meals for health, cost, religious, or any other reasons. I'm a lightweight drinker and prefer to drink before or after meal, not during, and I've dined at a number of high end restaurants, and never felt any pressure to order a bottle of wine. And Per Se *does* offer a non alcoholic beverage pairing:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/22/din...

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Kathryn, those links were great. The non-alcoholic pairing sounds awesome...I really fancy that. Has anyone here first hand experience of same?

      I love that service is included and wish more places followed suit in paying a salary to waiting staff. It just feels a more honest way to do things...but then I'm no fan of the tipping system. This way the customer feels empowered to reward genuinely good service rather than feeling obliged to tip...and the wait staff are under less pressure. Win win surely?

      1. re: kathryn

        I just had a big anniversary meal in the small private room at Per Se and I was pregnant at the time and requested a non alcoholic beverage pairing in advance (alongside the wine budget we gave the sommelier for the rest of the table to put together a wine pairing for the rest of the table). I got the sense that it is advisable to tell them in advance that you'd like them to do this, not that its always an option like the NYT article implied. Not that they wouldnt oblige but I bet you'd get something more creative by doing as I did. i was very impressed with the drinks they made me -- so were my companions. I think the highlight was a yuzu drink they made me with an early course. I also recall an anise bloody mary (I usually despise anise but this actually worked) and some pretty incredible homemade tonic water that will make it very difficult for me to drink the bottled stuff with future G&Ts.

      2. My cousin didn't drink when we went to French Laundry and they had lovely craft soda and grape juice pairings for the courses. I'm sure Per Se would do the same. And, if you want simply chilled water, no one will frown on that in the least. I believe price now includes bottled water.

        1 Reply
        1. re: a_and_w

          Just reading about the Gus sodas, they sound really good!

        2. Hi ooglewoogle,
          When "service included", tip is already calculated into your check, however you're free to leave any additional tip if you think their service is exceptional.
          No restaurant will frown upon guests who are simply content with ice water and you shouldn't be under any pressure to order any drinks. I have to say though, for a restaurant of Per Se's caliber, they do have some reasonably priced half-bottle wines. The servers can definitely recommend you several bottles that you may enjoy and within your price range too.

          I would be surprised if Per Se doesn't have a selection of quality beers and soda.
          Well I hope you'll have a good time at Per Se!

          1 Reply
          1. re: omnomnom

            if you are interested in carbonated water, they also have a 'house carbonated' water that is free of charge (if i remember correctly). they will absolutely not give you any attitude for whatever your drinking choice may be. you could just have tap water the whole time, and they won't blink an eye. dining there is an amazing experience. enjoy!

          2. I ate at Per Se at the beginning of the month (and wrote a lengthy report). My dining partner and I did not choose a full beverage pairing and were offered still or sparkling water to enjoy with our meal.

            Both of these waters are filtered and bottled in house - from nyc tap water! We went with the sparkling which was awesome - very fresh and even a little sweet. It was so good we asked our server which is how we found out about their process.

            There is absolutely no pressure (or obligation) to leave a tip on top of your bill which is service included. Good luck and enjoy your meal!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kasiav

              why would you leave an addtional tip on wine service when my experience was they added 30% service charge on the liquor part of the check.