10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/8/15
While traveling in New York, a few coworkers and I had one free night to have a dinner together. They left it up to me to choose a restaurant for the four of us. It didn’t take too much deliberation to pick Per Se. This would be my first time dining here and the first Thomas Keller restaurant for the rest of the party.
Generally regarded as one of the best restaurants in the city (America and the world), Per Se holds three Michelin stars, is rated 4 stars by the New York Times, and is ranked #40 in the latest best restaurants in the world list (holding a top 10 spot for an impressive 8-year streak from 2005 to 2012).
The restaurant’s signature amuse bouches were our first bites of the evening.
Both of these were very good. The gougeres were warm with a comforting cheese flavor while the cornets were full of bright salmon and creme fraiche flavors.
“OYSTERS AND PEARLS” “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar
This dish is always one of my favorites at The French Laundry and it was no exception here.
A variety of Bouchon Bakery breads were served with the signature Animal Farm salted butter and an unsalted variety from Straus in California.
Sandhi Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, 2013
SAUTERNES POACHED HUDSON VALLEY MOULARD DUCK FOIE GRAS Asian Pears, Persian Cucumbers, Sicilian Pistachios and Ginger-Long Pepper Gastrique Served with Toasted Brioche
Rich, smooth foie gras was accompanied by bright fruit and crisp cucumber. Multiple rounds of warm brioche and six different salts completed the dish.
“PAVÉ” OF ATLANTIC HALIBUT Russet Potato “Gnocchi,” Chanterelle Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas and “Vin Jaune” Emulsion
I thought this was a beautiful plate, especially with the mini peas in a pod. The slightly moist halibut had a delicate crust accompanied by gnocchi in a rich buttery sauce. A very nice dish.
BUTTER POACHED NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER “TARTE” Frog Hollow Farm’s Apricots, Toasted Almonds, Fennel “Tapenade” and Shishito Pepper Vinaigrette
The lobster was perfectly cooked, though I found the tapenade to be a very strong flavor. Some slices of sweet fruit sought to balance favors, but the lobster flavor got a little lost when eaten altogether.
Domaine Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes Hermitage, “Les Trois Chênes”, 2012
WOLFE RANCH BOBWHITE QUAIL “PRESSÉ” Hobbs Shore’s Bacon, Heirloom Tomatoes, Romaine Lettuce and “Ranch Dressing”
The quail terrine was served warm with a rich jus, lettuce and a mini tart.
RIB-EYE OF ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM’S LAMB “Panisse,” Fairy Tale Eggplant, Corn Kernels, Cerignola Olives and “Sauce Pimentón”
Lamb was our last savory course featuring a piece of a ribeye perfectly cooked. Sweet corn, crispy potatoes and eggplant completed the dish.
SUMMER SQUASH SALAD
VON TRAPP BROTHERS’ “OMA” Ruby Beets, Granny Smith Apples, Virginia Peanuts and Celery Branch “Ribbons”
I substituted out the next course for a salad of summer squash while the rest of the party got the cheese course.
“ASSORTMENT OF DESSERTS”
Black Mission Fig, Concord Grape Jelly, Fennel Pollen Genoise
Brown Butter Ice Cream, Gingerbread
Chocolate and Passion Fruit
Coffee & Donuts
My favorite dessert, as usual, was the coffee and donuts. Warm donut holes were the ideal pairing with the coffee semifreddo. The gingerbread/brown butter and chocolate/passion fruit pairings were nice ones as well.
The sweets continued with chocolate truffles, salted caramels and blackberry macarons.
We had a great meal at Per Se. The cooking and service was very similar to The French Laundry, relying on spotless execution and top-notch ingredients. The atmosphere has a different feel from TFL given its Central Park views. I’d like to revisit for a lunch to really appreciate that view.