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Jan 2, 2014 05:56 PM

Per Se Salon question

I want to do something special for my 30th birthday, and I'd love to go to Per Se Salon. However I doubt I could afford more than one course plus dessert. Would they consider that rude? All of the reviews seem to include multiple courses. I realize this is gauche to ask, but if I ordered just a main and dessert, would they still serve the salmon cornets/bread basket?

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  1. I have been meaning to post because we recently had the worst experience at the Per Se salon.

    Arrive around 6:30, and they tell us that they are all full and don't take cell numbers, but to try coming back in 30. We are fine with this and go to the bar next door to get a drink. We go back a few times to check, and around 7:30, they tell us all they have is the bar, despite there being exactly two other tables filled in the salon. They also tell us that they might be able to move us to a table later in the meal (which they don't deliver on).

    Food was absolutely nothing special, and despite being a small eater, I would have left starving after one dish (either that or I would have inhaled the entire not-that-exciting bread basket). Cauliflower appetizer was embarrassingly bland. Dessert was too sweet and dull. It wasn't just not in the same league as EMP. I've had better food at WD-50, Bouley, the Modern, the Gramercy Tavern and tons of other places throughout the city. Cocktails were mediocre for $25 and filled with cheap machine ice. Wine list mark up was insane.

    Also, the bad service continued through the meal. Didn't explain dishes, never asked if we were done before clearing away the bread basket, tried to clear the dessert when we were only a few bites in and obviously still eating, never really checked to see if we would like another drink...

    Will most definitely not be returning, and am crossing the main restaurant off my to try list.

    4 Replies
    1. re: downtownchica

      That is so sad! Maybe I'll reconsider going, since it would be heartbreaking to end up with a $100 bill for "nothing special" food and service.

      1. re: katzimmer

        If $100 is your budget then you would have a better experience at Picholine.

      2. re: downtownchica

        If $100 is your budget, I would definitely go elsewhere.

        Maybe they would have been friendlier and moved us to a table if we ordered a $300 bottle of wine, but we didn't want that much to drink after grabbing drinks elsewhere beforehand, and we still spent about $150/person.

        1. re: downtownchica

          I've dined three time at Per Se's Salon in the past 4 months. First two times were great for both food and service. I was seated at a private table and had the same excellent server both times. The third time, I had a very similar experience as you: arrived at 6 and even though there were private tables available, I was told that only the communal bar was available. Since I am short, it was very difficult to move the bar chair close enough to be comfortable. I ordered 3 savory dishes and one dessert so my meal was not inexpensive (about $150), and while I received the salmon cornets and the bread basket, service was not as attentive or as friendly as the prior visits. Maybe Per Se really doesn't wish to encourage the Salon dining as an alternative to the main dining room. It's a shame since it would have been a fantastic impromptu dinner on a regular basis for me since getting a reservation in the main dining room is still quite difficult.

          Agree with H Manning that Picholine would be a better alternative.

        2. In my opinion Katzimmer, although I used to love Per Se, it's not "worth" it. Your money would probably get you a far better experience elsewhere.

          1. I have had many similar experiences like downtownchica both at Per Se dining room and Per Se salon.

            Considering the money I paid, its service left a lot to be desired and the foods (or should I say their desserts, because its savory dishes are at least OK, if not great) are really, really dull.

            This is so sad because I still remember how mind-blowing their desserts used to be.... I had been a regular at Per Se for many years, but I recently stopped going back.

            As ellenost suggested, Picholine is far better for a lot less money. Elegant food and top notch service.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kosmose7

              My experiences are similar. Back in 2007 my meal at Per Se was perfect. I went back this year and it was all quite dull.

            2. I had a nice relaxed 3 hr lunch here recently on a weekend at the Salon, but, even knowing that lunch resv are easier to be had, we were surprise to see only 5 or so tables occupied for the lunch in the main room, and us being the only couple in the Salon. Any thoughts?

              Perhaps because of this, I found service to be very attentive, personal, and generous.