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Per Se critical review


Restaurants & Bars 35

Per Se critical review

guttergourmet | Apr 23, 2007 09:14 AM

OK-while it's still fresh in my mind the morning after: beautiful room, incredible views. The 2 tiny gougeres amuse bouche were good though the basket I had at Artisanal last week were as good. The salmon tartare mini-cones (the word "mini" applies to all courses) with creme fraiche was delicious and even Mrs. GG who is not fond of raw onions enjoyed it. The oysters and pearls was great in terms of textural and temperatures coming together and I enjoyed the tapioca, oysters and caviar though felt a little disappointed that it was American Sterling and not osetra. The sommelier/waiter upsold us 2 glasses of Riesling to pair with the foie gras even though I had already ordered a $300 Latour a Pomerol (1998). It made for a nice pairing but not for $50. The foie gras (a $30 supplement) was very good with almonds and peach gelee and brioche but was not as good to a very similar dish I had 2 weeks ago at CityZen in Washington D.C. ironically prepared by Eric Ziebold, Keller's former sous-chef. The Hawaiian snapper was good but also continued Keller's predilection for onions, ramps and chives in every dish and may have had the slightest "fishy" taste to it. The breads and butters were good though no seconds were offered of the breads. The butter poached lobster was excellent. Mrs. GG went to powder her nose and they took her napkin and never replaced it until I asked. I couldn't care less but found it amusing given the reputation for service. The quail was wonderful-boneless except for a tiny leg-again reminded me of the boneless crawfish stuffed quail of many years ago at Commander's Palace before the flood though only a pale imitation of the New Orleans dish. My wife had the veal and sweetbreads which she also compared to the veal at CityZen a few weeks ago though Per Se's was not as good. After recently having had a single piece of Wagyu beef seared atop nigiri style sushi at Ushi Wakamaru I went for the $100 supplement Wagyu beef. Two small cubes not much bigger than my sushi that were seared on all but one side and which were overwhelmed by a dark sweet sate sauce and avocado coulis with an interesting vegetable tempura. The mango sorbet was terrific. The cheese "selection" was good though was neither a selection (where's the cheese cart?) nor did it come with the normal accompaniments. The single microscopic piece of morbier was the best morbier I'd ever had but was again overwhelmed by a tomato marmalade that looked like quince but was extremely oniony and by an asparagus soup that looked (and tasted) more like an espresso. The pana cotta and creme brulee dessert amuse bouches were overkill though nice and the chocolate4 ways was also passe. Interestingly, my recent vacation to Washington D.C. resulted in 4 meals that I thought were superior: CityZen, Citronelle, Maestro and the Inn at Little Washington though they were all certainly influenced to some degree by Keller, as well a recent meal at Degustation in NY at 1/10th the price. The total damage (which really is not part of my criticism): $1150 for two. Glad I went but won't be back soon. P.S. consistent with my name-I believe that I am the only person in history to eat at Per Se and King Yum (see Outer Boroughs board) within 24 hours.

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