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Per Se or Eleven Madison Park?

Celebrating a big anniversary in October and looking for a special, once in a lifetime type of restaurant. Been to Jean-George and Daniel. Considering Per Se or Eleven Madison Park. Which did you like better?

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  1. This comes up every quarter or so:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9149...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8328...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9241...

    Though prices and the menu structure may have changed since some of these postings.

    1. Both are spectacular, you can't go wrong either way. We went to Eleven Mad last month and it was incredibly good in every way. Service, food, drinks. I think it's more fun. It has a lighter kind of mood and is really interesting. That would be my pick. My tip for you -- choose the coffee. That will make sense at the time.

      1. The meal I had at Eleven Madison Park stood head and shoulders above the one I had at Per Se. There are more courses, more chances for interaction with the plates and the service, and a more innovative, creative approach given to each dish.

        That's not to say that my meal at Per Se wasn't good; it was. But I found it to be very "safe", and none of the dishes really stand out in my memory.

        1. I find both places to have similarly great service and food.

          I find Per Se is a nice collection of courses. I find EMP is an amazing progression of courses. At EMP, there's almost a story to the meal. Each course has a purpose, has some character.

          I find Per Se to be significantly more expensive than EMP. Per Se was about double EMP (both including tax/tip/alcohol) last time I went.

          So for me, EMP.

          1. Both have good savoury dishes
            Desserts are uninspiring and rather dull @ Per Se
            More stories to each dish @ EMP
            More innovative @ EMP
            Better service/ More interaction with cutomers @ EMP
            Price more reasonable/ more number of courses @ EMP

            CONCLUSION: EMP

            1. We (GF and I) think both are wonderful and either would be a good choice BUT our nod will always go to EMP because of it being the "total package", atmosphere, design, service, interaction, and of course, the food. It truly feels like dinner is an event when you dine at EMP.

              2 Replies
                1. re: ellenost

                  Second Spiritchaser’s reply.

              1. If you don't want to be interrupted by stories, however, Per Se would be better choice.

                I'm not sure why, but seems Per Se has lost a lot of its luster. Not sure if NY food scene has up its game or evolved away from Per Se's type of food. Or Keller isn't evolving to maintain interest.

                1. Like most of the responders, I prefer Eleven Madison Park. My most recent reviews of both:

                  EMP: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/978936
                  Per Se: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968463

                  The general consensus seems to be along the lines of:
                  While both are excellent, Per Se seems to have peaked while EMP is still improving.

                  That being said, if you really enjoyed JG and Daniel, I think Per Se (and Le Bernardin) would be more similar to that type of experience than EMP would be.