I haven't been to Per Se in over three years (saving up for the down payment for my apartment and now the mortgage payment), but I splurged yesterday to take my mother and my sister to Per Se to celebrate my birthday and my mother's 85th birthday. What a sensational experience! My mother adored it, and hopes to make this an annual visit for her birthday. My mother is quite the seasoned gourmand having dined with me at Taillevent when she was younger and travelled with me to Paris. Her former favorite (and still one of her favorites) is EMP, Bouley and the former version of Aureole have also been among her favorites. I made the reservation two months ago (didn't want to risk not getting the reservation for her special day). I made a special note to the reservationist of the special birthdays, and on top of each page of the menu was a "Happy Birthday" note to both my mother and me (with our names!--very sweet and tickled my mom). I was thrilled that all of my favorites were on the menu (torchon of foie gras, lobster, duck, calotte de boeuf--I regularly check the Per Se website to see the daily menus). Of course the "oysters and pearls" were on the menu that everyone adored. New dessert: lemon meringue was perfect after all of the courses. We did receive an extra gift from the kitchen: truffled custard with chive potato chip served in an eggshell--really delicious. We didn't get the famous "coffee and donuts"-- we're not regulars (yet). All of the courses were wonderful. The foie gras torchon with huckleberries was lovely. Did add the sel gris, but didn't really need it. Loved how our waiter ran to the kitchen to check to make sure our Parkerhouse rolls were just coming out of the oven--they were melt in your mouth perfect. The halibut succotash was wonderful with the corn, peas, bacon and okra. The lobster caesar salad was great: softest and sweetest lobster; loved the roasted romaine lettuce. The pekin duck breast with cherries was also wonderful. The calotte de boeuf was melt in your mouth tender--my mother who now finds most beef (other than kobe or wagyu) too difficult to chew, adored being able to eat beef again. The cheese course was interesting (I like very few cheeses and mostly soft cow's milk; this was a hard cow's milk cheese); the cole slaw and mustard pain perdu were very tasty. We all chose the lemon meringue for dessert that was perfect and refreshing after a full meal. (Sorry I missed the peaches and cream dessert). My mom and my sister received the strawberry and yogurt pot de creme, while I received the creme brulee. Although the creme brulee was perfect, it did pale in comparison to the pot de creme (almost tempted to ask for it, and I'm sure my waiter would have indulged me). Chocolates, butterscotch caramels, truffles, nougats followed. My mother was so thrilled when we were offered a tour of the kitchen. Everyone was so incredibly kind and gracious to her; she felt like a queen!. Chef Benno was not in the kitchen last night, but I can't imagine anything being any better than it was. Service was flawless. The sommelier helped us pick the perfect German Riesling (and the least expensive of the three that I was considering). A new touch for us: we each received a copy of our menu in a folder (lovely souvenir) and a slice of cake (I gave my mother my cake since I'm back to Weight Watchers for the next 2 months). To sum up: a brilliant and memorable dinner for my mother's special day.