Should I bother with another Per Se review?
Just went to Per Se. had a great experience, not an amazing one though.
Would fellow chowhounds want a detailed dish by dish review or should I not even bother?
The availability of the extended tasting (anywhere from 15-20 proper courses) is similar to The French Laundry - when you make the reservation ask about it and sometime around the time you confirm they can tell you if they have the time/space (some tables are 1 turn a night, others are 2) and what the price will be. The menu borrows from the day's ingredients/menu, plus whatever is "unique or special" in the kitchen that day.
They can certainly accomidate SOME special requests (I don't eat beef flesh/steak but quite enjoy offal like sweetbreads) and at the Laundry even went out of their way to make Peas & Carrots on my request.
My review of TFL is in my blog and over in the San Francisco/Napa board if you're interested.
Starving yourself doesn't work - you need to focus on highly digestable stuff for lunch and avoid carbonation. :-) I managed TFL after both breakfast at a pastisserie and lunch at Bouchon. If I spread 16 courses over 4 hours I'm pretty sure I can eat all day. :-) At least I hope so.
So here goes the review. First off I'm only 18 and home from college and as an xmas present wanted nothing more than to go to Per Se before Benno left. So I called and called and the only time I could get was a 10pm reservation, which I was happy to settle with.
This was really far and away the best service I've ever had at a restaurant. Most of the time it was as if the waiter wasn't there, yet they always seemed to know what we wanted. A really great job by the staff.
So for the food. Amuse: gruyere puffs and salmon tartare cornets like usual
First course: oysters and pearls- Keller's signature dish- obviously a great dish and I'm not really even a fan of caviar for some reason
Second: Foie Gras au torchon, apple gelee, candied pecans: Foie was great, brioche was even better.
Third: Lup de mer with sesame seed puree and radishes- Outstanding dish- probably my second favorite. So simple and the fish was perfect
Fourth: "beets and leeks: Butter poached lobster, buttery leeks, potato chip, red beet essence- solid dish, lobster was great, leeks were also good.
Fifth: Rabbit saddle and chop, pequio peppers, pine nuts, some sauce: worst dish of the night! rabbit was quite dry and way too much going on on the dish and sauce wasn't very good
Sixth: Beef with bordelaise sauce and vegetables- the beef was outstanding, perfectly cooked. Probably my favorite dish of the night!
Seventh: Cheddar cheese (vermont), white wine gelee, apricot clafoutis- the clafoutis was the best part of the dish. cheese was good but just a really good cheddar
Eighth: mandarin orange sorbet, peppercorn sable, EVOO emulsion- solid dish. sorbet was delicious
ninth: Chocolate cake, pumpkin bavarois, marshmallow and spiced ice cream: 2nd worst dish- cake was okay but seemed a bit dry as well. the pumpkin parts weren't that good either
mignardises/tea- fantastic chocolates- one with grapefruit, one fennel and one coffee i believe
Overall: A great experience, outstanding service, but I had extremely HIGH expectations and Per Se didn't completely reach them. Some dishes were just solid. Only 3 were really amazing (the fish, beef and lobster). Plus the 2 eh dishes were still good just not very good (choc/pumpkin and the rabbit)
I was disappointed that was not a single vegetarian dish, and even the dishes did not have much in the way of vegetables (maybe I should've asked for a veg dish but oh well).
Also I realized Per Se's food is SO RICH. everything is extremely buttery and rich and its almost too rich. I wish the dishes had less fat/ more vegetables.
Overall I'd give it an 8.75/10. I was really expecting Per Se to serve 9 amazing dishes and it just came up short.
Thanks - I too am not a huge caviar (or oyster) lover, but that dish works on all levels. Also, I rather wondered about the Pumpkin-Chocolate dish - did not sound very compelling to me, either.
As for the foie - different strokes for different folks - the one I had at TFL was the 2nd best savory I've ever eaten (behind the Foie at L2O which, IMO, one could possibly call a dessert instead of a savory,)
As for veggies - you could have opted for the salad over the foie for course two, no?
Yes you're definitely right uhockey.
I ate literally everything on every plate that night, and since I'm not a picky eater at all, I didn't want to change anything (as they all sounded good). I definitely wanted to try Per Se's foie as it has been raved about.
But if I eat at Per Se again I would make sure I have at least 1 maybe 2 vegetarian courses. They just changed their menu so you will have some new dishes. have fun, it's a great experience! (because even the "bad" dishes were above average for any restaurant)
You should have asked to substitute one or more of the vegetable courses from the vegetable menu. BTW, the menu at Per Se changes daily. I lucked out in August when I was there since all of my favorites were on the menu (lobster, duck, calotte de boeuf). Also the desserts have been changed (the pumpking chocolate dish is no more).
I'll get a review up soon, but I'll just say they really outdid themselves on the extended tasting:
1 Pumpkin Veloute – Brussels Sprout Leaves and “Quatre Epices” Mousse
2 Oysters and Pearls – Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar
3 Nantucket Bay Scallop – English Cucumber, Daikon Radish, Sake Gelee
4 Spanish Mackerel – Cauliflower Florettes, Meyer Lemon and Espelette Pepper “Aigre Doux”
5 Hot Smoked Columbua River Sturgeon – Yukon Gold Potato Blini, Granny Smith Apple and Scallion Salad
6 Coddled Squire Hill Farms’ Ameraucana Hen Egg – Ragout of Black Winter Truffles, Hazelnuts and Pickled Red Cabbage with Hollandaise Mousseline and Brioche Melba
7 Marcho Farm’s Ris de Veu – Violet Artichokes, Fennel Bulb, Pickled Mustard Seed Emulsion
8 Greenmarket Carrot Pudding – Papadum, Poached Royal Blenheim Apricots and Parsley Shoots with Madras Curry Vinaigrette
9 Quail in a Jar – Cavendish Farm’s White Quail, “Farcie au Foie Gras de Canard” with Petite Lettuces and 100 year balsamic Vinegar
10 Herb Roasted Fillet of Mediterranean John Dory – Wrapped in Marcho Farm’s Coeur de Veau, Hen of the Woods Mushroom, Salsify and Watercress Leaves, Sauce Beurre Rouge
11 Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster – “Crete de Coq,” Sunchokes, Garden Chervil
12 Hand Cut Tagliatelle – Shaved Black Italian Truffles
13 All-day Braised Snake River Farms’ Kurobuta Pork Jowl – Buckwheat Crepe, Scallion Emincee, Tokyo Turnips, French Prune Puree with Tellicherry Pepper Jus
14 Elysian Fields Farm’s Rouelle D’agnueau – “Langue et Ris d’Agneau,” Celeriac Gratin, Young Beets, Parslet Shoots, Celery Branch Ribons, Borscht Sauce
15 Epoisses – Fork Crushed Potatoes, Celery Branch Ribbons, Picked Sunchokes
16 Mandarin Orange Sorbet – Wild Peppercorn Sable, Orange Tuile with Nyons Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion
17 Grapefruit Champagne Float – Ruby Red Grapefruit, Fleur de Sel Sable, Vanilla Ice Cream, Grapefruit Soda, Champagne Granite
18 Coffee and Doughnuts – Cinnamon Sugared Doughnuts with Cappuccino Semifreddo
19 Pear and Caramel – Madagascar Vanilla-Poached Bartlett Pear, Caramel Mousse, Pear Pate de Fruit, Glace au Beurre Noisette
20 Mont Blanc – Cestnut Genoise, Swiss Meringue, Chocolate-Juniper Cremeux, Rum Parfait, Marron Glace with Chocolate Ice Cream
Huckleberry Panna Cotta
Mignardises, Chocolates, Candies.
It was $450 + tax - gratuity was included. Since I'm not a drinker the somm actually did "mini" pairings - like 1-2oz at a time - with various courses to teach me about wine, as well. It is absolutely worth the extra cost considering the luxury ingredients.
I left quite full, but the pace was flawless - the whole meal lasted ~5:15
I would not want that many different dishes in one meal. To me, that just looks like an "anything you can do, I can do better" stunt. I don't see how anyone could possibly really appreciate all of those different tastes -- even if the meal did take FIVE hours? (Did you REALLY say FIVE hours?) ;(
I had the extended tasting twice at Per Se. The first being the most memorable. The two of us had 20+ courses, 5+ hours, the crazy thing is each of had had completely different menus (other than for a few signature courses coronets, oysters & pearls, etc)... needless to say it was amazing, simply amazing that a kitchen could do that. The thing that made this so special is that we did not ask for it, they just unleashed on us. A friend of a very well connected friend made the reservation and they must have thought we were big shots or something!! lol. The lady I was with took a 10 minute walk in the middle to catch her breath, during which they asked me if they should stop bring more courses, I said hell no!!
they printed out the menu's on beautiful paper and mailed them to us...Per Se can reach heights that no other place in NYC can....