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#1 omnivorette

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 02:30 PM

First of all, there's already a thread called "Per Se Successful Rescheduling" - so let's have that one be about scheduling and phone calls and whatever else. Let's have this one be about the actual restaurant experience.

So.

Last night a gastronomic society I am familiar with had a private dinner there. I wasn't there, but I good some very good reports this morning, including a copy of the menu:

Passed canapes: cornet of marinated atlantic salmond tartare with sweet red onion creme fraiche; bagel crisp with smoked sturgeon cream cheese and scallion salad; sea scallop on pumpernickel toast with honey glazed endive; roasted sweet peppers on herb scented panisse

Amuses: egg custard with truffle in madeira sauce; cauliflower soup over crab and brioche

Sauteed chesapeake soft shell crab with sauce bouillabaisse, green asparagus and rouille; pan roasted black bass with morels, spring fava beans and a madras curry emulsion; herb roasted rack of veal with sweet english peas, applewood smoked bacon, hand rolled cavatelli nero and a veal jus

Whipped brie de meaux en feuillete with tellicherry pepper and baby watercress

Valrhona chocolate velours with a ginger infused custard and creme d'agrumes

Mignardises
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#2 omnivorette

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 05:11 PM

More information from last night, from a few attendees who all seem to agree.

Sea bass was horribly oversalted.

Veal was the best they ever ate.

Amuses were extraordinary. That whipped brie course was incredible.

Keller was not present, nor were Cunningham or Benno.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#3 cabrales

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 09:28 PM

I had my first meal at Per Se today. I arrived without a reservaiton, and adopted a previously-at-FL-successful strategy of waiting in restaurant for a cancelled reservation. It worked again, and I had an excellent (US standards) meal with 1/2 bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee and 1/2 bottle of non-H B Pessac. I don't plan to necessarily write about my experiences any longer, as I plan to keep certain experiences to myself. But the question remains -- so what happens to my life gastronomically if, in another 2-5 years, I will have tried every restaurant that I would ever want to visit? I don't know. But it's weird to have achieved one's goals by this time (and this issue has nothing to do with Per Se, as I don't view PS as being of the type of restaurant that could fundamentally alter my approach to food, obviously). <_< C

#4 Orik

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 09:50 PM

(and this issue has nothing to do with Per Se, as I don't view PS as being of the type of restaurant that could fundamentally alter my approach to food, obviously). <_< C

Do you think it should be discussed on its own thread?
I never said that

#5 cabrales

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 09:56 PM

No. It doesn't need discussion. It's just what it is. Meal was very good or excellent by NY standards. I'm just not as engaged by restaurants in the US as I could be. Meal was fine; Krug was good. There are nothing obviously wrong with the meal. I will continue to sample three more meals in the next two weeks and report. It has nothing to do with Per Se; more to do with me. :lol:

#6 Rail Paul

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 10:41 PM

But the question remains -- so what happens to my life gastronomically if, in another 2-5 years, I will have tried every restaurant that I would ever want to visit? I don't know. But it's weird to have achieved one's goals by this time


It's highly probable that the restaurant environments of NY, Paris, Hong Kong, Vancouver, etc will look radically diffferent in 2006 or 2007, just as today's restaurants differ materially from what was avant garde in 2000.

If I had to put a bet down, it would be that your expanded interest in wine will open a new prism in your evaluations of restaurants, menu compositions, etc.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#7 marcus

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 12:59 AM

But the question remains -- so what happens to my life gastronomically if, in another 2-5 years, I will have tried every restaurant that I would ever want to visit?  I don't know. But it's weird to have achieved one's goals by this time . 

I find this comment quite revealing, although I don't claim to understand all of its implications. From my perspective, food is like sex, it's something that one doesn't get tired of for very long, one may become temporarily sated, but the desire always returns. The fact that someone has been there before, same restaurant or same partner, doesn't really take away from the experience. If a person treats restaurants as a collector, then to me they are engaged in an intellectual exercise, and don't really love food at all.

#8 Melonious Thunk

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 03:10 AM

But the question remains -- so what happens to my life gastronomically if, in another 2-5 years, I will have tried every restaurant that I would ever want to visit? I don't know. But it's weird to have achieved one's goals by this time .

I find this comment quite revealing, although I don't claim to understand all of its implications. From my perspective, food is like sex, it's something that one doesn't get tired of for very long, one may become temporarily sated, but the desire always returns. The fact that someone has been there before, same restaurant or same partner, doesn't really take away from the experience. If a person treats restaurants as a collector, then to me they are engaged in an intellectual exercise, and don't really love food at all.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy..... :lol:
"Pippa, I'm going to tell you something and it's important. Sometimes you have to go to work."__Hannah Marie Konstadt, Two years, nine months.

'How high can you stoop?"__Oscar Levant.

#9 Orik

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 03:13 AM

Oh boy oh boy oh boy..... :lol:

I knew a new thread was called for :D
I never said that

#10 cabrales

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 09:14 AM

I should add the ironic aspect of *part* of why I might have gotten the table. I appreciate nobody gives my observations in this regard any particular attention, but I have repeated that one can dress in the style of a restaurant and receive favorable treatment. That clearly happened at Tru, when I chose a black halter-necked dress and a relatively modern look. Even before I started making observations about the food, I was given double the grand amuse. Then, all sorts of truffled dishes and extra dishes and the chef shaving truffles in the dining room for me (over scrambled eggs no less).

So, I asked myself on Sunday morning, how should I dress to maximize my chances at getting a table at Per Se? I tied my hair up, and slipped into a sweater-set that had a little top with a modern-looking "v" neck. I chose a Max Mara silk skirt that flows beautifully and that is loose and lower than knee length. This skirt is quite beautiful -- swirls of delicate black, burgundy, beige, grey form the pattern on the silk. Then, Michael Kors 1.5" mules, with the logo pattern in a medium beige pattern. Black epi LV bag.

The table I received was one of the two semi-circular-banquettes on the upper level (those are the only banquettes in the restaurant). I also received a kitchen tour, and spoke to Chef Benno, whom I advised I would be visiting again very shortly.

A couple of observations about dishes that are available at FL, but that are presented slightly differently at PS. Wonder how much of this has to do with FL-line ceramic ware that Keller now has.

-- Cauliflower panna cotta: Here, the proportion of panna cotta is low relative to the oscetra caviar than at FL (at least FL last year).

-- Foie torchon (the supplement-requiring dish) is served with melba toast instead of brioche, which is the accompaniment at FL.

-- Coffe and donuts here involves an angular ceramic cup for the portion mimicking the "coffee" than at FL, where the cup has always been round. Also, instead of little round donut balls like at FL, here it's one longer donut.

#11 Melonious Thunk

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 04:18 PM

So, I asked myself on Sunday morning, how should I dress to maximize my chances at getting a table at Per Se? I tied my hair up, and slipped into a sweater-set that had a little top with a modern-looking "v" neck. I chose a Max Mara silk skirt that flows beautifully and that is loose and lower than knee length. This skirt is quite beautiful -- swirls of delicate black, burgundy, beige, grey form the pattern on the silk. Then, Michael Kors 1.5" mules, with the logo pattern in a medium beige pattern. Black epi LV bag.

The table I received was one of the two semi-circular-banquettes on the upper level (those are the only banquettes in the restaurant). I also received a kitchen tour, and spoke to Chef Benno, whom I advised I would be visiting again very shortly.

They missed a bet when they didn't recruit you for The Apprentice. :D
"Pippa, I'm going to tell you something and it's important. Sometimes you have to go to work."__Hannah Marie Konstadt, Two years, nine months.

'How high can you stoop?"__Oscar Levant.

#12 cabrales

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 09:38 PM

Per Se Meal #1

May 16, 2004
Chef's Tasting Menu, Lunch

Amuse -- Salmon cornet

[Gifted course] Veloute of beet, with a horseradish creme-like quenelle and chives [a solo diner at FL always gets an extra "soup" course]

Cauliflower "Panna Cotta"
with Island Creek Oyster Glaze and Iranian Oscetra Caviar

[Gifted course] Egg custard, with the typical long, rectangular, rounded dipping wafer with a chive (?) piece in the middle, lots of black truffle and meat stock intense saucing on top of the custard

"Peach Melba"
Moulard Duck "foie gras au torchon", Frog Hollow Farms Peach Jelly, Pickled White Peaches, Marinated Red Onion, "Melba Toast and Crispy Carolina Rice ($20 supp)

Crispy Skin Black Bass
Braised Fennel Bulb, Nicoise Olives and moulin de Penitent Extra Virgin Olive Oil "emulsion"

"Navarin d'Homard"
Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster "Cuit Sous Vide"
Glazed Pearl Onions, Tokyo Turnips, Fava Beans, Thumbelina Carrots and Sauce "Navarin"
[I observed correctly that this same dish at FL is not made using sous vide. The preparation is gentler with the sous vide touch]

Cavendish Farms Quail
"Farcie au Ris de Veau et Truffe Noire"
Poached Rainier cherries and wilted arrowleaf spinach

Snake River Farms "Calotte de Boeuf Grillee", Split English Peas, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Yukon Gold Potato "Mille Fueille", Crispy Bone Marrow and "Bearnaise reduction"

"Chabichou"
"Gelee de pomme verte", Satur Farms red beets and English walnut short bread

[Gifted course: "Coffee and donuts"]

Pomegranate Sorbet
with Taosted Almond "Financier"

"Tentation au chocolat, noisette et lait".
Milk chocolate "cremeux", hazlenut "streusel" with condensed milk sorbet and "sweetned salty hazlenuts" and "pain au lait sauce"

"Mignardises"

$150 (before foie supp)

Per Se Cocktail
(Salon -- not the champagne, but the room; accompanied by truffled popcorn and roasted large peanuts)
1/2 bottle Krug Grand Cuvee
A Riesling by the glass for the foie
A glass of Chardonnay from CA, supervised by the winemaker of DRC
1/2 Bottle 1989 Domaine Chevalier, Pessac Leognan

#13 cabrales

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Posted 23 May 2004 - 12:33 PM

Per Se Meal #2
May 22, 2004, Dinner

Had another very good-to-excellent meal at Per Se last evening. The skyline was so beautiful when viewed from the restaurant. The shades of blue moved progressively, with some medium hues that were gorgeous.

One thing to report is that there are two house cocktails/before-meal drinks. Apart from the Per Se, there is the "International". A sugar cube is marinated in Grand Marnier, and then topped up with champagne. The champagne is not as chilled as one might expect, perhaps to allow the Grand Marnier ot be expressed. Another distinctive aspect of the cocktail is that there is a long curl of lemon peel placed near the top of the champagne coupe, which confers quite a bit of effect on the nose. :lol:
We ordered the nine-course. An added course was the egg custard with black truffle-based, meat-stock-based saucing and the chive wafer served in the eggshell, for two members of our dining party. The other members (myself included) received an egg that was gently prepared, with a veneer of white surrounding a runny yolk. A truffle-based saucing at the bottom. Very interesting brioche quasi-moist tuile that conveyed the sweetness of the brioche, but also a bit of saltiness. Some fleur de sel on top of the egg portion of the dish.

An interesting thing I have not experienced at FL. Parker House rolls that had four little domes were served warm, with olive oil and some butter near their poofed up tops.

Last night's meal began with Oysters and Pearls. I still really like that dish. :lol: We began at 5:30 and had a long meal. By the time we left, it was probably past 11:00 pm. (That calls into question whether every table can be seated twice during the dinner service).

The rabbit dish very amusing carried a little purple kidney that seemed disproportionately large relative to the tiny ribcage bones that were included in the dish. I'd never sampled rabbit kidney before, and this one tasted more like a gentle liver dish (not necessarily rabbit liver). When it was turned over, it resembled a purplish kidney bean. ;)

I said hello to Chef Benno again, and my dining companions received a tour of the kitchens. :lol: The dining room team, including the sommelier, continued to be very helpful. An especially good recommendation, from the perspective of my dining companions, was the Yves Cuilleron Condrieu for the particular butter-poached lobster dish last night.

We drank:

G Rulot, Mersault, Clos de Mon Plaisir 2001
1/2 Yves Cuilleron, Condrieu "Les Chaillets" 2002
A red that I will later fill in

#14 omnivorette

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 03:39 AM

Dinner at Masa this evening, but since I was with a "friend of the house" of Per Se, we went there first for drinks.

We were given cocktails, champagne, and some wonderful treats (some of the amuses from the menu). Everything was delicious, and beautifully presented. A lovely space to have a drink. I'm very much looking forward to my meal there in a couple of weeks.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#15 cabrales

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 04:42 AM

Meal #3, Monday May 24 [corrected date]
Private Dining Room

PASSED CANAPES
-- "Cornet" of marinated Atlantic salmon "Tartare" with Sweet Red Onion "Creme Fraiche"
-- Sweet Gulf Shrimp with English Cucumber and Breakfast Radishes
-- Black Truffle and Yukon Potato "Beignet" with White Truffle "Aioli" :lol:
-- Hudson Valley "Foie Gras En Terrine" with Seasonal "Marmelade" on "Brioche Crouton"

Above with Taittinger

SEATED CANAPES
-- "Oysters and Pearls", "Sabayon" of Pearl Taopioca with Kumamoto Oysters and Iranian Oscetra Caviar :lol: , with Drappier blanc de Blancs Signature
-- White Truffle Custard with black truffle "Ragout", with Mersault Genevrieres 1999-Michelot :lol:

THE MEAL
-- Mascparpone Enriched Yukon Gold Potato "Agnolotti", with a "Ragout" of Spring Onions and "Sauce Soubise", with Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 1997 :lol: , Pernot

-- "Noilly Prat", Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Caramelized Fennel Disc, Crystallized Fennel Chip and Sauce Noilly Prat, with Corton Charlemagne 1996 :) Latour

-- Thomas Farms Squab "Cuit en Sous Vide", with Melted Leeks, Royale Bleinheim apricots and "Sauce Perigourdine", with Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1985 -- Jadot :)

-- Pan Roasted Ribeye of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb, Grilled Swiss Chard Ribs "en Ravigotte", Roasted Sweet Peppers and a Nicoise Olive Suace, with Chateau Gruad Larose 1982

-- "Royale" of Gouda "boerenkaase", Glazed endive, cutting celery salad and balsamic glaze, with Frank Family Vineyards Reserve Meritage 1999

-- Braised Maui Pineapple "Raviolis", Passion Fruit and Coconut "Ice Cream Sandwich" and Persian Lime Syrup, with Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1989

Another very good-to-excellent meal. :lol: :lol: Wine pairings were very satisfying (with the possible exception of the Frank Family glass). Very, very well done with a very reasonable price. :lol:

Joshua Schwartz, Private Dining Chef
Sebastian Rouxel, Pastry chef
Michel Darmon, Manager
Celia Laurent, Director of Private dining
Paul Roberts, Wine Director
Andre Mack, Sommelier

I look forward to another meal shortly. :lol: