Per Se Reservation
I had the extended tasting menu for the second time at lunch six months ago, and loved it, but found it to be too much food for me. I enjoyed all of my courses including the desserts. I returned to Per Se for dinner two weeks ago for the regular tasting menu, and again, loved everything. I was told by the reservationist that the extended tasting menu was available only at lunch (or that is what I was told when I made my reservation seven months ago).
I had the extended menu last week and it was not great, unfortunately. It was my third time to have the extended menu and this time it was the most disppointing of all three. The one I had last year was really good though.
I have had 'regular' course on roughly about 13 - 15 occasions so far and sometimes it was great, sometimes just so so. But in general, I notice my satisfaction with Per Se seems to diminish as time goes by.
I had extended menu last week and I don't recommend it. Everything was good but not really great. It was not as good as the extended menu I had last year.
And their desserts need serious improvements. I wonder why, but Per Se's desserts have been going down the hill since last year and now they are really at the worst phase.
They served me a dome of champagne gelee with some fruit bits and ginger foam, which was a joke. Then followed by 'Cracker Jack', which is nothing but a scoop of caramel ice cream with grated butterfinger. Then chocolate mousse, which was relatively more sophisticated than the first two but nowhere near the level of Per Se's prevous desserts I used to have long ago. These were not the kind of desserts one would expect at a $700-800 dinner per person.
To make things worse, on my menu handed out to me at the end of the meal clearly says I was supposed to have "Assortment of Desserts - Fruit, Ice Cream. Chocolate and Candies" right after the cheese course, but I never received it. I don't know whether the server or kitchen forgot it, but I never ate it and that made my extended menu only 16 course.
I am not going back to Per Se, unless I hear they have noticeably improved the desserts.
Recently, I was really blown away by Daniel's desserts created by its new pastry chef from Boulud Sud. I can't wait to try all their desserts. Le Bernardin's desserts have become really impressive after they got a new pastry chef (who is also a Per Se alumni). EMP and Jean Goerges' desserts are also much much better now than Per Se's.
You can get an extended tasting menu at dinner. It is just preferable you do so @ 5:30. Otherwise it will run too late. In general, lunches are easier to get. I believe you need to have your lunch early too to do the extended, because the kitchen switches to dinner at 5:30 but I could be wrong on this.