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Wife and I Invited to Per Se by my boss. We are so excited to go, but my wife does not like seafood. Would they accomadate her?

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My wife and I were recently invited by my boss and his wife for dinner at Per Se in 2 weeks, as a thank you to me for helping him at the last minute to finish a daunting project

My wife and I are extremely excited to go, but the only thing is my wife hates seafood which is a decent portion of the tasting menu. She would be more than glad to eat any meat and vegetable they put in front of her. Would they make a substitution for her throughout the menu ( she eats most everything else and doesn;t want to end up having to order the vegetable tasting because of her distaste for seafood ? I know people would give their eye teeth to go to Per Se and we are very excited. I don't want to seem bothersome to the restaurant.

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  1. That would not be a problem. If the reservation is under the name of your boss, just tell him about the requested substitution of meat/veg instead of seafood so that he can advise the restaurant when they call to confirm your dinner.

    If you don't want to bother your boss about this, you can just inform the server when he or she asks about any "allergies."

    1. It would be better if you could let your boss know of this situation and with his blessing, call Per Se ahead and give the kitchen a heads up. ( rather than an impromptu request to the wait staff whilst taking your order on the day). Excluding the meat, Foie Gras and dessert courses, if my recollection serves me right, the rest ie., At LEAST Half of the Tasting Menu are Seafood!! If your wife does not want the rest to be all veggies, then I'm sure the kitchen would appreciate a bit of planning time. ( so that they can provide you with 100% customer satisfaction ).
      My two cents!!
      and ENJOY!!!!

      1. Just want to make sure.

        Your wife does not like seafood, right? As opposed to "cannot eat" seafood, right?

        If so, then I would suggest that your wife put aside her preconceived notions and biases towards seafood for at least one night.

        There is seafood, and then there is seafood prepared by Per Se.

        Even if she ends up hating the seafood at Per Se, it's only about 1/3 of her meal assuming it's the 9-course CTM (or 2-3 dishes, 4 at most). So it's not that big of a loss.

        Not trying to be snarky, in case you were wondering.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I think that you have a good point.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            You have a great point!! Totally agree!!!
            IMO, Seafood prepare by any of the Michelin 3* restaurants should deserve a chance to be tried!! At least give it a first bite!!
            Besides, the 'seafood family' is huge and include crustaceans, Mollusks, roe, Echinoderms, bivalves, fishes...etc. They all have their own characteristics, taste and texture. Dislike of one category doesn't necessarily apply to the others??!! Unless OP's wife does not like the 'taste and smell' of the sea?! But then, what about 'fresh water' varietals????....

            1. re: Charles Yu

              I look at it this way.

              I'm not a fan of cheese. But if someone were to invite to me a cheese tasting or cheese course by Murray's, I'd go with an open mind and at the very least appreciate the finer points of all things fromage, even though I may not necessarily *like* everything I am tasting or trying.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              Like others have agreed, you have a great point. Per Se and French Laundry are perhaps the 2 best restaurants I've eaten at. Their seafood is on a whole nuther level. Actually , don't tell your wife it is seafood, tell her it is poultry. Tell the waiter speak softly. That's how different it will be for her

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                A husband deceiving his wife. Great advice!

            3. They have a veg tasting menu.

              1. I was just at Per Se this weekend, and from my recollection, the CTM had 3 seafood dishes. 1 fish (it was a really delicious cod), 1 lobster, and Thomas Keller's classic "oyster & pearls" (oyster and caviar) which is always the first main dish.

                All were delicious, and definitely agree that assuming your wife is not allergic, that she perhaps give all (or some) a try.

                In terms of making preferences known, if you feel uncomfortable asking your boss to make the request on your behalf, you could ask at the beginning of the meal, but it might be better to let the restaurant know beforehand so they can more carefully think through alternative dishes.

                If you already know the day/time of the reservation, you could easily give them a call yourself if you don't want to bother your boss, and just let them know about your wife's preference beforehand, and they'll be able to give the substitutions some more thought.

                1. Per Se will adjust to whatever you request and never bat an eye. Although I absolutely love seafood and especially when it's Per Se seafood I, unlike most people replying, do not think she should change her preferences and ask for substitutions. Since you seem to be pretty tight with your boss let him know ahead of time and inform the restaurant accordingly. I would just mention to make sure the substituations do not increase the already considerable cost of your wife's menu.

                  1. Don't listen to all the "just have her order the seafood anyway" nonsense. Yes, it's probably better than most. But whatever - I hate licorice. I don't even like being in the same room as licorice. I don't care if my favorite chefs on the planet collaborate on a dish than every critic in the world says is the greatest masterpiece of licorice ever - I'll let someone else order it.

                    Per Se will gladly sub the corresponding dishes from the veggie tasting for just the seafood dishes. And if she really wants to try one of them - she can have a bite of yours. And heck, you get to try more dishes that way to boot. Win-win.

                    1. How about this, ask them to sub out the "fishier" courses and keep some of the others... so she can taste "seafood at per se" but not miss half the meal if it is not her thing. Or ignore all that and sub out all the seafood courses.

                      They will do anything to make a diner happy... and it is not bothersome, it is their mission.

                      1. At Per Se they are masters of catering to their guests' preferences and improvising where necessary. For example. our server overheard my husband mention that we prefer to foie seared, rather than terrine. Instead of the terrine that was on the menu, they brought us an amazing dish of seared foie with churros. It will not be a problem for them to make substitutions for your wife as necessary; this is what they do. While it might be preferable to give the restaurant a heads up in advance, I bet they would graciously accommodate your wife's preferences even if you didn't. Enjoy and report back how it goes!

                        1. I agree with others that your wife should really try the seafood dishes - it is one of the world's great restaurants after all. But, conversely, it would be horrible if she just left her seafood uneaten so perhaps substitutions would be in order.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bronwen

                            So, you're suggesting what exactly?

                            Even if you don't like vanilla you should still try the vanilla because it really is our specialty and the best in the city. But if you don't like vanilla, maybe you should try the chocolate. That's what I'd recommend!

                            :-)

                            1. re: bronwen

                              If the wife hates seafood, she will hate Per Se's seafood. Their preps enhance, and do not disguise, the seafood.

                              That's like asking vegetarians to try meat at Per Se just because we like the meat dishes there. We can't impose our tastes on others. She should request the substitutions.

                              1. re: MrGrumpy

                                "That's like asking vegetarians to try meat at Per Se just because we like the meat dishes. We can't impose our tastes on others. She should request the substitutions."

                                Absolutely. I have friends who do not like seafood at all. I would never ask them to eat it just because we were at a restaurant where it is the specialty. There are people who for whatever reason get physically sick when presented with a food they "hate" (the OP's word). Whether this is psychological or not, it still manifests itself in a physical way. Why on earth would anyone suggest another person sit through a multiple course meal and ingest a large part of it only to make them uncomfortable or maybe even ill?

                                Per Se is in the business of providing the ultimate dining experience. I think anyone who works there would agree with me that the OPs wife should not have to eat what she does not like and that they would be over the moon to acommodate her preferences.

                            2. Either call ahead yourself saying that you will be your boss's guest and inform them of your wife's preference (I find calling ahead iffy most of the time, even at Per Se) or just state your wife's preference and request specific or any substitution during the night in question.

                              It'll be fine. They might not have something super unique ready for the amuse or first course (the great Oyster and Pearl) but they'll get something out since they have contingencies ready in the kitchen (your wife's preference sounds common enough). Plus it's multi course, so they'll have time to come up with something terrific for the other courses.

                              And Per Se has a variety of seafood, so if your wife has specific dislikes, but is willing to try shellfish or lobster or something like that, they'll accommodate too.

                              Bottom line though, if you think your boss is cool with your wife's preference, definitely say something (even a reminder) during the dinner service. If you are worried at all about being picky in front of your boss, just call ahead with whatever information you can gleam from your reservation (boss name and time and party size) and let management know in advance.

                              Have fun!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: villainx

                                Per Se is great with dealing with food preferences both with calling ahead and at the dinner. I was part of a group and the reservation was made in another's name, and I called Per Se, gave them the name for the reservation, and told them my food dislikes. At the beginning of the meal, the captain confirmed my food dislikes, and none of those foods were part of my meal.

                                On another visit several years ago I was dining with my sister at Per Se, and the listed lobster prep had ham. My sister doesn't eat pork, and she asked whether the lobster could be prepared without the ham. The captain said it would be no problem. Actually my sister received a completely different lobster prep that was even better than the listed prep. Lucky her!

                              2. Apparently substitutions are fine, so I'm just going to agree with everyone else who said your wife should feel free to make the request. She's passing up some amazing dishes, but other amazing ones will take their place, and she can always trade bites with you, just to see if maybe she doesn't hate seafood so much after all.