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Per Se - Salon Menu or 5 Course Lunch Menu?

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I'm planning a weekend lunch at Per Se with my wife. Is the 5 course Lunch menu or the salon menu preferable?

I notice that the tasting menu charges an extra $40 for the foie gras - I assume the 5 course menu does as well. The salon menu allows you the luxury of ordering a la carte but limits you to 4 courses. Based on what I've heard neither menu appears to offer the oysters and pearls.

I was initially inclined to go with the 5 course menu but I'm wondering if the salon menu is a better value.

Thoughts?

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Personally, I would go with the 5-course lunch menu over the salon menu, as I think the lunch menu is a better value. Regarding the foie gras, it's very good, but not better than any other very good foie gras (i.e. there's nothing particularly unusual about the Per Se presentation of the foie gras). I don't think it's worth the $40 supplement.

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    Per Se
    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

    1. I also made a reservation for Saturday lunch in July. Are we sure the 5-course is available on the weekends and not just M-F? Thanks for any info-I was planning to call and double check.

      1 Reply
      1. re: slsharp

        I'm pretty sure the five course menu is available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. We ordered the five course menu this past Friday and enjoyed it immensely. We were caught in traffic and ended up being almost an hour late for our lunch reservation. The moment we stepped through the door, however, all was forgotten. The service was impeccable, the food as good as you would expect, and the atmosphere an absolute oasis of peace.

        Prospective diners should also note that you stand a decent shot at getting a last minute reservation for the Friday lunch. We managed to get one two days ahead of time by calling the restaurant rather than relying on opentable. I don't know if we were just lucky or if demand has dropped off that much.

        At any rate, the restaurant lives up to its considerable reputation.

      2. Frankly, "value" is not something one should consider when dining at Per Se. If one was thinking about value... they wouldn't be dining at Per Se to begin with. You could take that $350, go have the "Gourmand" 5 course lunch at Eleven Madison Park, and spend the $200 you'd be saving on a fancy pair of shoes for your wife, or a spectacular bottle of wine.

        (Actually, I guess these days $200 couldn't get you a fancy pair of women's shoes... scratch that. Stick with the wine.)

        "Value" and "Per Se" just don't belong in the same paragraph. I mean, they're serving what is essentially the same menu for $275 that only a couple years ago they were charging $150 for. It's not like the cost of the raw materials went up that much in the intervening time. In terms of real food-for-dollar value, NO menu there is "better" than any other, really. You're paying a ridiculously high premium no matter how or what you order - case in point, the $40 foie gras surcharge. At normal high-end restaurant markup, $40 should get you about a third of a pound of foie. And truth be told, you're probably getting less on your plate than you would for foie gras courses elsewhere, equally as exquisitely prepared.

        But one dines at Per Se for other reasons, I suppose. At some point, Keller realized he could charge a completely arbitrary price. And he's been jacking it up incrementally ever since.

        Not to dissuade you from going (well, maybe a little) - but my point is, I guess, if you're going all out and doing Per Se (even at lunch, it costs more than most restaurants' top dinners) - why worry about value? Saving a dollar or two is just a meaningless drop in the bucket when dining there.

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        Per Se
        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

        Eleven Madison Park
        11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010