Per Se, NYC

February 27, 2005

Notes on lunch at Per Se, February 25, 2005

We went at 11:30 because that was the time for which we could get the reservation on Open Table, exactly 61 days in advance (at 8:00 am French time.)  The welcome was cordial and efficient.  We had a nice table for four, where two had a good view of the park.  We ordered four kirs royals, but they brought four champagne cocktails, which were okay.There per-se-1.jpgare three menus, each costing $175.  (Finally, with wine, tax and tip, it is $300@.)  The base menu has five courses; the selection is wider and the portions bigger than the other two, which each have nine courses.  One is vegetarian; the one we had is the chef’s tasting menu of the day.  The portions are quite small, but there is plenty of food.  They were all very good and many showed special cooking techniques.  For example, both the tuna and the lamb had very crusty outsides and were nice and pink inside.  I can never make that come out right.  Some of the trendy clichés were there like foam. The wine list is huge; he must have been building up for this in California.  (But as everywhere, there were no affordable reds aged enough.)   Most of the varieties have a recommended wine at the top, which we chose.  The white wine wasn’t cold enough at the start and they didn’t bring the red wine until shortly before it was needed; he then decanted it, but only because I asked him to.  But the wine service was fine, without the overslopping that one finds in most restaurants. The staff is polite and well trained, but overimpressed with how good everything is.  The clientèle was surprisingly well-behaved and well-dressed.  The tables are well spaced and one can have a conversation at a normal voice level.  The décor is modern, okay, but nothing special. Compared to a menu dégustation in a good French two or three star, there were some omissions.  There was only one small, but good, amuse-gueule.  The cheese was a small slice of tomme.  But I also felt that the joie de vivre wasn’t there. It was certainly one of the best meals we have ever had in America, matched only by the tasting menus at Gramercy Tavern or Le Bernadin on a good day.  But it does not match Pierre Gagnière, Marc Veyrat, Michel Bras, Alain Passard, Jacques Chibois.  Voilà.  A chacun son goût, eh?

Per Se CHEF’S TASTING MENU  February  25, 2005

CAULIFLOWER  “PANNA  COTTA’

with Island Creek Oyster Glaze

and American Ossetra Caviar

SALAD  OF   HAWAIIAN   HEARTS  OF  PEACH   PALM

Haas Avocado “Coulis” and Cilantro Shoots

or
MOULARD   DUCK   “FOIE  GRAS  AU  TORCHON”

Granny Smith Apple “Gelee,” Celery Branch,

Pickled Red Onion and Toasted “Brioche”

(25.00 supplement)

SPANISH  BLUEFIN   “TORO” “A  LA  PLANCHA”

Lemon “Confit,” Jacobsen Farm’s Green Garlic, Piguillo Peppers,

Spanish Capers and Candied Almonds with Mezza Arugula

“LOBSTER  CAPELLINI”

Nova Scotia Lobster “Mitts,” Hand Cut Capellini and Bottarga “Emulsion”

BRAISED  SHOULDER  OF  HALLOW  FARM’S  YOUNG  RABBIT

“Farci aux Ris de Veau,” Creamy Anson Mill’s Polenta, Glazed Pearl Onions

and Sour Michigan Cherries

RIB-EYE  OF  ELYSIAN  FIELDS  FARM  LAMB   “EN  PERSILLADE’

“Cassoulet” of Winter Pole Beans with Thyme-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“TOMME  DE  SAVOIE”                                      

Forest Mushrooms “a la Grecque” and “Petite” Parsley

BANANA  SORBET

Burnt Flour “Genoise,” Braised Pineapple and Soy Caramel Sauce

“DECLINAISON   AU   CHOCOLAT”
‘Mousse au Chocolat Tiede,” Valrhona Chocolate Brownie,

Milk Chocolate “Ganache,”Chocolate Sorbet

and Chocolate Caramel “Croustillant”

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