I’m skipping our trip to Los Angeles and Orange Country briefly in order to write about one of the most amazing meals that S and I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. (We do have a post on California in the works; that should be up by early next week.) This past Sunday, we had the honor of dining at, according to Restaurant magazine, the 9th best restaurant in the world. There are few things that need to be said about either Thomas Keller or Per Se. Both need no introduction. Better writers than I have described Keller’s skills, talent and passion in print and on the web marvelously. If you are one of the 4 persons on earth who hasn’t heard of Thomas Keller, pick up a copy of Michael Ruhlman’s The Soul of a Chef; a section of the book is devoted to telling this kitchen-magician’s story. Per Se is Keller’s New York outpost and one of only three three-Michelin-starred restaurants in the city.
Per Se is beautiful. From the moment you enter, you feel like you’re in a different world (which is a trait of some of the other, great three-star restaurants we’ve been to). Everything from the service to the interiors to the dining accessories are so perfectly polished and elegant. Upon sitting down, we were offered some Champagne, which we immediately accepted. And thus began a four and a half hour gastronomic extravaganza. The food was exceptional. The service was brilliant and we had three great bottles of wine. All I can really say about Per Se is that you must visit. Do whatever it takes to get one of their coveted reservations; it is an experience worth having and savoring. I’ve decided that instead of trying to describe every course (which would be a repetitive exercise of me writing, “yummy”, “sexy”, “delicious”, “gorgeous”, “witty”, and “brilliant” a dozen different times), it would be simpler to simply list what I ate (I say “I” because S and our dining companion J had slightly different things on their menu). I’ve also numbered the courses that are pictured (and grouped them) so you can easily refer to the pictures on this post.
1. Sweet carrot soup with plumped sultanas. 2. “Oysters and Pearls” – Sabayon of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and sterling white sturgeon caviar. (Not pictured) Shad roe “porridge” with shaved bonito and lime salt. 3. White truffle oil-infused custard with ragout of perigord truffles. 4. Salad of caramelized belgian endive with banana brulee, radicchio tardivo and coriander “gastrique”.
5. Crispy skin fillet of black bass, sweet pepper, fennel bulb and sunchoke hash with nicoise olive petals and “sauce rouille”. 6. Pan roasted atlantic sea scallop with wild asparagus, garlic scapes, california green almonds and petite lettuces. 7. “Cervelle de veau” with herb spatzle, roasted parsnip “batons” and mustard seed-veal jus. 8. Rib-eye of marcho farm’s nature fed veal, hand-rolled “cavatelli”, garbanzo beans, thumbelina carrots, tokyo turnips and oven roasted roma tomatoes and “sauce noilly prat”.
9. “Abbaye de tamie” with celery root remoulade, white wine poached bartlett pear and celery seed “aigre-doux”. 10. Strawberry sorbet with black pepper “sable breton”, “pate de fruits” and saporoso “nuage”. 11. “Snickers bar”, milk chocolate “cremeux”, chocolate “sacher” and salted caramel gelee with spanish peanut “nougatine” and nougat ice cream. 12. “Coffee and doughnuts”, cinnamon-sugared doughnuts with cappucino semifreddo.
Per Se, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, New York
Tel: +1 (212) 823-9335, Web: www.perseny.com