NOTE: These photos don’t do Per Se justice (Neither myself or my husband are professional photographers or food stylists). For more appropriate photos please visit our Flickr page.
Being that I live in Seattle WA, I don’t have many opportunities to dine in New York. My second trip in 2010 brought me to Columbus Circle, specifically at The Time Warner Center. On the top floor behind a big beautiful blue door houses Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant. With no reservation, no appropriate attire and an empty wallet I headed back home vowing that one day I would dine at Per Se. Note to self, include this restaurant on your bucket list.
Fast forward to 2013 and that evening has finally arrived. First of all, I want to stress that acquiring reservations at Per Se is not impossible. It simply requires a phone call to the restaurant one month in advance (to the calendar date) or luck for a last minute table. Please note that unlike liberal restaurants here in Seattle, Per Se has a strict dress code (jackets required and worn in the dining room). Oh, and expect to spend lots of money. Yelp includes in their description of Price Rage: $$$$ which I think is incorrect and should be $$$$++
When our party entered the restaurant we were warmly greeted by the staff and immediately seated to our table. Our server, Christopher was very welcoming and presented us with our menus and the wine list. I was a little surprised/impressed that the wine list was on an iPad. I was even blown away by the little stool to place my purse. Our table had a fantastic view of Central Park. With 6pm reservations we had the opportunity to dine during sunset.
When dining at Per Se you have two choices: vegetarian or not. Our table ordered three Chef’s Tasting Menu and one Tasting of Vegetables. The menu includes a few supplements which means that these choices are not included in the price of dinner and incurs an additional charge. The menu at Per Se changes on a daily basis with each menu dated at the top. I won’t bore you with descriptions (I’ve included them in the photo captions) and will just get down to the nitty gritty of our meal.
Bread is “regulated” meaning there isn’t a basket that is constantly replenished at your table. In between each course we were presented with the bread basket and asked to choose from their selection. A couple of things to mention. When they placed the bread on my bread plate, it was placed right side up facing me. Included were a salted and un-salted butter and an array of various gourmet salts. After each course, our table was swept of crumbs leaving a clean table for the next course. I should also mention that when I returned from a trip to the ladies room I had a fresh new napkin.
Service is exceptional. The timing in-between courses were spot on. The descriptions from the servers were flawless. Our water glasses always filled and a napkin held to reduce splash. Christopher, our server was very friendly and gladly accepted our invitation to engage in conversation.
We started with amuse bouche which are gifts from the kitchen. These little bites are meant to amuse your palate.
And so begins our meal.
The one memorable part of our meal were the Mignardises. These are little tiny bite-sized sweets that came before and after our final dessert course. It was insane. It was impressive.
In addition to a hand written bill, all of us were presented with a small tin box filled with chocolate sandwiched shortbread cookies.
Our dining experience ended with a tour of the kitchen. All I can say is, Ah-mazing!
Next stop, Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant, The French Laundry.