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Per se

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runsfast Jul 9, 2010 04:39 PM

We have a reservation at Per se in the coming weeks. I've been reading about it the last few days and am not so sure that I'm interested in paying a minimum of $275. per person for dinner............not including wine, tax or tip. While I truly enjoy wonderful food, I also can't imagine that I'd enjoy eating any meal that would most probably cost us close to $1000. when all is said and done. Can anyone please chime in on the subject? I'd also like to know what the dress code is for women. Thank you for any information on the subject.
We plan to eat at Mesa Grill for a casual dinner one evening. Any ideas on other restaurants? We want to have great food..............can be any kind, and can be a higher end restaurant (though we'd love for it to cost a bit less than Per se, if possible), or an inexpensive place that just has great food. Thanks again!!

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Mesa Grill
102 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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  1. s
    small h RE: runsfast Jul 9, 2010 05:05 PM

    $275 does include the tip, if that nudges you in a direction. You might consider eating in the salon, which doesn't take reservations, but does offer the opportunity to eat Per Se food for considerably less than $1K. My spousal equivalent and I ate very well for about $300 all in. We had an appetizer and an entree each, split dessert and the cheese plate, and had drinks, not wine. It was a ton of excellent food (definitely in my lifetime top ten), partly due to the parade of amuses bouches.

    The dress code is "nice outfit." Men wear jackets. Women wear fancy pants or dresses. I doubt you'd be turned away in something less formal, but you might feel awkward.

    I will now sit quietly and wait for the Eleven Madison Park-ers to pipe up in 3..2..1..

    1. o
      oysterspearls RE: runsfast Jul 9, 2010 05:14 PM

      You may find this unbelievable at the present time. But I suspect if by chance you visit both your likely to find Per Se was the better value then Mesa Grill.

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      Per Se
      10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

      Mesa Grill
      102 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      1 Reply
      1. re: oysterspearls
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        small h RE: oysterspearls Jul 9, 2010 05:17 PM

        Hah! You speak the truth. I like Mesa Grill alright for brunch, but it's not exactly in its prime. Still serviceable, but not much more.

      2. l
        Littleman RE: runsfast Jul 9, 2010 05:17 PM

        I don't want to step on any local NY's toes but Per Se is absolutely no where near worth the cost unless you just have $$ to throw away and some do. I don't. I have been twice and said I would never go back after the first. Our bill for lunch for 4 the first time was over $800.00 and the food served was not enough to feed a bird. We had one bottle of inexpensive wine and the bill was still way too high. I admit it was good and the service was outstanding but I have more fun with my $$ dining at places other than Per Se. NYC has hundreds of very fine restaurants with more bang for the $$ than Per Se. If you want a high $$ restaurant for more bang go to Daniel or Jean George. Eleven Madison Park is probably the best restaurant in the city. You have others by the dozens such as Scarpetta, Maialino, Gramercy, Balthazar, Gotham, Del Posto, Hearth, Veritas, WD 50 et al that give you a lot more for your $$. Another thing about Per Se is it's a big room and the tables are far apart. It's quiet so quiet you can hear a pin drop. That may have changed in the past year but I like some noise when I'm dining. And their waiters stand by your table watching your every move. I would go to Babbo in a heart beat before Per Se and spend the savings somewhere the next day in Saks for my wife. I promise you there are a lot of less expensive restaurants in NYC for more fun than Per Se. Have a great trip.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Littleman
          r
          runsfast RE: Littleman Jul 9, 2010 06:56 PM

          WOW.........Thanks for all the information. Interesting to hear the comments about Mesa Grill. I'll do some research on a few of the other places mentioned. I'm not sure how much luck we'll have getting a reservation at this point though.
          Please keep the comments coming.

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          Mesa Grill
          102 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: runsfast
            Phil Ogelos RE: runsfast Jul 9, 2010 07:21 PM

            If you're feeling strong, patient and in the mood to reflect, celeritas, consider the thread called "Top 5 Most Overrated in Manhattan": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6325...

            It's a good space because there's more jousting in it, and c'hounds exerting themselves a little more thoughtfully to excoriate others' or uphold their own personal restaurant loyalties. It demands closer reading between the lines than most of the straightforward recommends here, but I think you'll end up the wiser for having browsed it. The answers you want won't be served up straight on a platter, in other words, but you'll taste them truly all the same.

            EDIT: and yes, both Per Se and Mesa Grill are discussed there.

            1. re: runsfast
              n
              Nancy S. RE: runsfast Jul 10, 2010 05:02 AM

              Try Recette instead of Mesa Grill. Hearth is better as well. I bet you'll be able to get reservations at either.

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              Mesa Grill
              102 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              Recette
              328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: Nancy S.
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                gutsofsteel RE: Nancy S. Jul 10, 2010 05:38 AM

                Absolutely agree on the recommendation for Hearth. Wonderful wine list, delicious, beautifully prepared food, very pleasant atmosphere. One of my favorites.

                1. re: Nancy S.
                  r
                  RGR RE: Nancy S. Jul 10, 2010 06:14 AM

                  We had dinner at Recette for the first time recently. It is a gem!

                  Recette photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            2. g
              gutsofsteel RE: runsfast Jul 10, 2010 05:36 AM

              I am not a big Per Se fan. I would recommend Eleven Madison Park instead.

              As for Mesa Grill....not worth a visit, in my opinion.

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              Per Se
              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

              1. j
                j. marie RE: runsfast Jul 10, 2010 06:10 AM

                I've been to Per Se three times, and for me, the experience was memorable and worth it. By "experience" I define it as a combination of out-of-this-world food, impeccable service, and sharing the meal with others who were in on experiencing the magic. Without all three of those components it becomes a very expensive, albeit wonderful, meal. Depends on what your mindset is about your expectations as to whether it's worth the money.

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                Per Se
                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                1. ellenost RE: runsfast Jul 10, 2010 05:26 PM

                  I love both Per Se and Eleven Madison Park (EMP). EMP is much better value. You can have the fabulous 11 course Gourmand menu at EMP for $175 (tip is not included though). I've been to Per Se 5 times, and unless you skip wine with your meal, I've never been able to leave without paying close to $1,000 for a party of 2 (I usually order a nice German Riesling which isn't too expensive). Per Se is wonderful, but so is EMP. Enjoy whatever you select.

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                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: ellenost
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                    GPSJane RE: ellenost Sep 30, 2010 03:19 PM

                    ellenost: Really $500 per person? We like to drink wine but I think we're spoilt in South Africa and I'm going to get a shock with our first order of wine in a restaurant. I actually only budgeted $300 per person for a table of 5, do you think that's ok or will we spend more?

                    After reading all this I begin to wonder if we should have looked around more.

                    1. re: GPSJane
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                      gutsofsteel RE: GPSJane Sep 30, 2010 04:15 PM

                      You will spend more. It's a $275 prix fixe (service already included) and you will spend more than $25 per person on wine, plus there's tax.. You don't need to spend $500 per person however.

                      1. re: gutsofsteel
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                        GPSJane RE: gutsofsteel Sep 30, 2010 04:29 PM

                        Oh yes tax, it gets me every time. I still don't understand why tax can't just be included. Sigh

                        So mow much is tax?

                        Assuming it's about 14% which is what we pay here, I can maybe budget $360 per person incl tax with $40 for wine.

                        Wait, how much is a bottle of wine? I tried to do some research but answers varied from $300 for Napa Valley wine to $20 for some other wine.

                        1. re: GPSJane
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                          gutsofsteel RE: GPSJane Sep 30, 2010 04:33 PM

                          Tax is about 8.5%. There will be tax on the wine too.

                          There is no bottle of wine for $20 at Per Se, that I promise you.

                          You can read their wine list on the Per Se website (it's a PDF download)

                          What might work is you tell the sommelier what your wine budget is, how many bottles you'd like to drink, and let them help you.

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                          Per Se
                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                          1. re: gutsofsteel
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                            GPSJane RE: gutsofsteel Sep 30, 2010 04:38 PM

                            Yeah I thought as much. You have no idea how expensive your wine is compared to ours.

                            I didn't see the wine list. Will search for it.

                            1. re: GPSJane
                              ellenost RE: GPSJane Sep 30, 2010 04:41 PM

                              BTW, the Per Se wine list is among the most expensive in NYC.

                              1. re: ellenost
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                                gutsofsteel RE: ellenost Sep 30, 2010 04:42 PM

                                Although there are plenty of bottles under $100 on it.

                                1. re: gutsofsteel
                                  ellenost RE: gutsofsteel Sep 30, 2010 04:50 PM

                                  I drink mostly German Rieslings; all of the Spatleses and Ausleses are considerably more than $100, and almost double the price of other good restaurants. I love Per Se, but their wine list is very expensive.

                            2. re: gutsofsteel
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                              GPSJane RE: gutsofsteel Sep 30, 2010 04:48 PM

                              I just read the wine list. Or rather a read the first few pages then I go a headache. I have never seen such a long wine list. To make it worse, I have no idea about any of it except the 2 South African listings!

                              Lol, we will just leave it to the sommelier. I believe they are very good at Per Se in suggesting a good wine for your price and taste.

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                              Per Se
                              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                              1. re: GPSJane
                                g
                                gutsofsteel RE: GPSJane Sep 30, 2010 04:50 PM

                                Absolutely. Just tell them your budget and how many bottles you want and they'll take care of you.

                    2. scoopG RE: runsfast Jul 10, 2010 05:37 PM

                      If you have been to The French Laundry, then yes, skip per se. If you have not been to TFL and do not plan on going, then by all means visit per se.

                      1. Wilfrid RE: runsfast Jul 10, 2010 07:28 PM

                        If you have any hesitation about the check, then don't go to Per Se. There are things which can go wrong, not least being hurried through your meal (they do turn the tables) and if the cost means anything to you it will leave a bad taste. It can be a good experience if $1000 doesn't matter.

                        Safer at Corton or Eleven Madison Park at a fraction of the price.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Wilfrid
                          hcbk0702 RE: Wilfrid Jul 10, 2010 07:38 PM

                          I think Corton is great (indeed, one of the very best restaurants in the city), but it isn't a safe choice for most people. Liebrandt's style seems to be really polarizing; a lot of diners find his food "too complex" and "confusing" (not my words).

                          Humm's style at EMP will appeal to some degree to most palates.

                          I'll echo the advice about Per Se. If you're worried about the bill, you probably won't enjoy your experience there.

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                          Per Se
                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                          Corton
                          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                          1. re: Wilfrid
                            ulterior epicure RE: Wilfrid Jul 11, 2010 03:05 PM

                            I second Wilfred's sentiments.

                            I mean, there are quite a number of restaurants in New York that come well below the $275 mark and will still leave you glowing out of excess and ecstasy, Eleven Madison Park being only one of them.

                            As Wilfred points out, there's Corton. But there's as Jean Georges and le Bernardin as well. Both have solid food. I've personally, recently, become enamored of Cafe Boulud, which is much less ostentatious, but has, over two meals over the last three months, shown to be performing at a surprisingly high level.

                            I've been to per se twice, once on my own dime, and another at the invitation of Mr. Keller for the extended tasting. While both experiences were very enjoyable, there are many other haute tables about that can provide equally amazing experiences.

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                            Cafe Boulud
                            20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

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

                            Jean Georges
                            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                            Corton
                            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                          2. Charles Yu RE: runsfast Jul 11, 2010 06:05 AM

                            For fine dining, I personally prefer Daniel over the more ' funky food' Per Se. The award of a third star by Michelin reflects and elevates the already great food of Boulud?! ( my eating experiences told be that it is a safer bet to eat in an establishment that has been given a new star or promoted by Michelin. ).

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                            Per Se
                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Charles Yu
                              hcbk0702 RE: Charles Yu Jul 11, 2010 07:12 AM

                              Err, I don't think Per Se could possibly be described as "funky" (if anything, it's almost the exact opposite). Other than the whimsical recasting of certain American classics, it's high level French/New American.

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                              Per Se
                              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                              1. re: hcbk0702
                                Charles Yu RE: hcbk0702 Jul 11, 2010 02:05 PM

                                May be a wrong choice of word. However, my comparison is with the more 'conservative?' approach/food of Daniel.

                            2. MVNYC RE: runsfast Jul 11, 2010 09:13 AM

                              I have eaten at Per Se Three times and have had some of the most wonderful meals of my life there. The service, the food and everything else are impeccable. So to me it is definitely worth it. It really comes down to what you enjoy spending your money on. I am not into cars, clothes or jewelery but I love food so I don't feel I spent too much.

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                              Per Se
                              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                              1. f
                                fooder RE: runsfast Jul 11, 2010 08:29 PM

                                I have enjoyed meals at both Eleven Madison Park http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/654576?tag=boards;topic-654576 and Per Se http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/681732?tag=boards;topic-681732 and to a lesser extent, Daniel http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7152...

                                I do feel that Per Se is a situation where YMMV while EMP is more consistent in the experience.

                                As for the Michelin Guide, I feel that it's been useless for quite a while now. It was originally best for people going across the European countryside, and is still decent for that. But it's NY and Hong Kong ratings are not to be trusted.

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                                Per Se
                                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fooder
                                  hcbk0702 RE: fooder Jul 11, 2010 08:45 PM

                                  It's true about Michelin in NYC, but other prominent guides and rating systems for NYC are even worse. For every bizarre one star rating or omission in Michelin (especially concerning Japanese food), there are about ten head-scratchers in Zagat. The New York Times ratings are completely beholden to a single critic, which can lead to fiascoes like the Dining Room at The Modern getting two stars while the Bar Room receives three (in a re-review, no less); the ratings aren't close to comprehensive either. Even worse are online sites like Yelp, OpenTable, Citysearch etc., which are often hilariously wrong.

                                2. c
                                  christy319 RE: runsfast Jul 20, 2010 12:29 PM

                                  I approached my first visit with a bit of trepidation because I've had such disappointing fine dining experiences. I'd just been to Jean George where not a single dish was memorable, and Per Se was so much more expensive, I was afraid it would be a huge waste of money. I have SO had it with restaurants that serve beautiful, creative, cutting edge cuisine...that does not taste delicious.

                                  But that meal, and my next meal there, were the two most spectacular meals of my life. I've since had other disappointing meals at higher end or popular (like Babbo and Scarpetta)restaurants in NYC, and my husband and I agreed that we'd be happy eating at holes in the wall, ethnic places, dumpling houses, etc on our annual NYC trip...as long as we also got to eat at Per Se.

                                  I don't think I've ever seen a woman there NOT in a dress.

                                  I'm curious--how/why in the world did you go through all the trouble to get a reservation without knowing what the price/menu was like?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: christy319
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                                    GPSJane RE: christy319 Sep 30, 2010 03:21 PM

                                    christy319: what kind of dresses? I have black pants and a very beautiful dark blue wispy thing (hard to explain) with patent leather black heels. Plus I will probably wear a pashmina if it's cool.

                                    1. re: GPSJane
                                      g
                                      gutsofsteel RE: GPSJane Sep 30, 2010 04:16 PM

                                      Sounds fine.

                                  2. Curlz RE: runsfast Feb 13, 2011 08:07 AM

                                    Very late to the Per Se party, but that's because I tend to lean towards ethnic food and only splurge occasionally--and it's certainly never at this level. All that as foreword, I've been given a g.c. to Per Se for dinner for two. I see from numerous posts that gratuity is included, and also that the Salon is an option. Based on my taste and that of my potential dining companions, I'm leaning towards lunch at PS or lunch or dinner in the Salon. Thoughts/info would be greatly appreciated! And if anyone can give me a link to a recent-ish menu, I'd love that as well. I know it changes all the time, but I have no sense of what would be on the Salon menu vs. the tasting menu in the dining room.

                                    Thanks in advance!

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                                    Per Se
                                    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: Curlz
                                      s
                                      small h RE: Curlz Feb 13, 2011 08:11 AM

                                      The menus are posted daily on Per Se's site, although they aren't that easy to find. Click on "Menus & Stories," then "Menu Approach," then scroll down to the bottom of the page to "View Our Menu."

                                      http://www.perseny.com/

                                      1. re: small h
                                        Curlz RE: small h Feb 13, 2011 09:09 AM

                                        WOW am I embarrassed...was all over that site, including on that page, and never scrolled down past the window break--thank you!!

                                        Fwiw, I'm leaning more towards lunch so I can enjoy the full experience with wine and not break my bank. The gc is insanely generous, but right now I'm not in a position to spend a couple of hundred to balance it out on dinner!

                                        1. re: Curlz
                                          s
                                          small h RE: Curlz Feb 13, 2011 09:30 AM

                                          You're very welcome, and Per Se's website designer should be embarrassed, not you. So much time and effort spent on that cunning vertical blinds effect, and not a moment's thought given to ease of navigation. For shame!

                                          1. re: small h
                                            Curlz RE: small h Feb 13, 2011 09:38 AM

                                            Agreed! Opened in full screen, I read the 'approach,' and since there's no bar encouraging/notifying me to look below, I thought that was it. Wonder what else I missed...? :-)

                                            Thanks again!

                                      2. re: Curlz
                                        d
                                        deepfry7 RE: Curlz Feb 13, 2011 08:12 AM

                                        I believe the menu, including the salon options, are on Per Se's website.

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                                        Per Se
                                        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                        1. re: Curlz
                                          p
                                          peter j RE: Curlz Feb 13, 2011 08:30 AM

                                          The Salon menu is rather limited. I would choose the main dining room for your first time at Per Se. Note that lunch is only served on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and includes a five-course tasting menu option for $185, which includes service.

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                                          Per Se
                                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                          1. re: peter j
                                            z
                                            ZJY82 RE: peter j Apr 9, 2011 12:25 PM

                                            I managed to get reservations for lunch on a Saturday in May. I would like to do the full tasting but will be with two people who may not be able to handle that much. I understand that they may allow certain people to do the 9 and others to do the 5, is this true?

                                            Also, are there any differences to the 5 course menu compared to the 9 other than the # of courses, e.g., different portion sizes or different dish availability?

                                            Does anyone have photos of a 5 course experience?

                                            1. re: ZJY82
                                              loratliff RE: ZJY82 Apr 9, 2011 07:20 PM

                                              Why do you think your other dining partners might not be able to do that much? The dishes are very, very small (most one or two bites). I was very full afterward, but I certainly was able to eat everything offered, and I don't have a huge appetite.

                                              1. re: loratliff
                                                z
                                                ZJY82 RE: loratliff Apr 10, 2011 02:54 PM

                                                I was also curious from a cost standpoint, but like many have stated on this board, why go to a place like this if you're worried about cost. So I don't think I will.

                                                1. re: ZJY82
                                                  loratliff RE: ZJY82 Apr 10, 2011 05:53 PM

                                                  I see; I believe the 5-course is $185. I would think it would be many of the same dishes, just slightly larger. Just a guess, but I don't think they would let a table mix and match between 9-courses and 5-courses. The pacing for that would be a nightmare. And I too agree that Per Se isn't worth going if you're concerned about cost the entire meal. It is best to just sit back and let them work their magic, both food- and service-wise.

                                                  -----
                                                  Per Se
                                                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                        2. p
                                          powermd RE: runsfast Mar 27, 2011 03:30 PM

                                          Question for the board- is there a wine pairing option? How much is it? I'm not a big drinker, but would love to taste many well paired wines with the meal. I think I'd get bored with one single bottle of good wine.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: powermd
                                            r
                                            RGR RE: powermd Mar 27, 2011 08:08 PM

                                            You can definitely pair your wines. Afaik, there is no set price. Cost will depend on how many courses you pair and the wines chosen.

                                            http://thwizardofroz.wordpress.come

                                          2. b
                                            brian211 RE: runsfast Apr 10, 2011 02:53 PM

                                            I'd be strongly against Mesa Grill. Nothing impressive or interesting at all about that place.

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                                            Mesa Grill
                                            102 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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