I had lunch with my wife and another couple at Per Se last Friday. I'm a semi patient person but not patient enough to go through the reservation process at Per Se again or the dining ordeal. I thought Babbo reservations were hard to come by but Per Se is without a doubt the most rediculous process to get a table I have ever witnessed. I called for almost an hour the first time 60 days to the date ahead of time only to get a busy signal all this time before getting an automated message that then took another 30 minutes or so holding on the phone before I got a real voice who informed me 9:45 was the next available time for dinner. I declined.
I called again the next day and got the same process. Busy signal for almost an hour and then holding on for another 30 minutes or so. I even gave the phone to my wife for part of the time it was so rediculous. When I got a real person the only time again was 9:45 PM. I'm not that old but I would not enjoy my dinner if I drank wine for an hour or so before dinner. I like a glass/two of red wine before dinner but dinner at 9:45 PM is too late. This time I declined the 9:45 PM and asked for lunch and got a 1 PM reservation.
The restaurant was nice and modern looking. It was very very quiet in the room. The view of Central Park was nice but the tables were too far apart and the room was too quiet for me. The waiter was very nice and took a lot of time to explain the menu bit by bit. You could have a 5 course tasting menu or a 9 course tasting menu along with a choice of a vegetable tasting menu. There is a 17 course tasting menu for dinner I understand. First the food was outstanding but the portions were extremely small. I would much rather have an appetizer of beef cheek ravioli and the entree of duck at Babbo and then go home in an hour and a half or so. It took 3 1/2 hours to get through the 5 course menu. I was in NYC for my wife's 54th b/d and she was itching to get out shopping. Needless to say she got out at 4:30 PM.
I have been to Napa 3 times and tried to get in French Laundry twice. I was not successful either time but the process there is the same as Per Se so I ruled out another trip to Napa to eat at FL. I may go back for another trip one day but I'm in no hurry now.
My complaints were not the quality of service or the food but the servings were extremely small. Even the desert was a tiny portion. The lamb entree was outstanding in taste but again very small portion. I really don't remember each item we had but the four of us were very unhappy with the length of time involved which made it a boring lunch. I don't like the room. We were at The River Cafe that night and thoroughly enjoyed our meal, the service, the view, price, et al. I forgot about the price. I ordered a bottle of Corison for $105.00 and thought that was a fair price. It's about $50/bottle at home. I think the bill was $799.00 with a 20% tip added. This is very rediculous. Back home in Mississippi I could pick up the bill for a dozen folks at that price. I love NYC and I plan to return many more times. I enjoyed Daniel and Jean George this trip thoroughly. The service and food at both was excellent.
Now if RGR will help me the next trip with some nice places that NY's like (Keen's, Lupa, et al) I will plan my return trip but not back to Per Se.
Good luck to you folks. Best wishes to your fine city and all who work and live there. Great place.
I almost forgot. We also did the Shake Shack. I did not know there was such a place but it was excellent. There was an article in Travel and Leisure this month about hamburgers in NYC and LA. There were several burger spots in NYC mentioned including Blue 9, Burger Joint at Parker Meridien, DB Bistro Moderne, Peter Luger and Pop Burger. We only tried Shake Shack and it was outstanding. I also noticed a huge line at Grimaldi's on Fulton St. near The River Cafe as we passed by. I will try that one next too. We also had lunch at Le Cirque for the 6/7 time and enjoyed it as well. I think I had the best duck ever for lunch at Le Cirque.
Good luck to you all.