The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Weegie Week, Day 5: A Night at Per Se

This post originally took place on September 29. Read more about Weegie Week here, here, here, and here.

Per Se Empty room
Per Se, so empty by the time we finished our meal.

We hobbled out of the Time Warner Center around 2 a.m.—hobbled because were stuffed to the brims of our digestive tracts, and some of us may have been a wee bit inebriated. The source of our food coma? A four-hour, nine-course dinner at Per Se.

Yup, that Per Se—the three-star Michelin restaurant from Thomas Keller. With a $275 price tag. Aka, not the sort of place I ever eat at. But for years I've been interested in going, as long as the right opportunity arose. Opportunity came in September.

Or February, perhaps, which was when Morten first told me about his plans to visit New York City in the fall with his girlfriend, Behnaz. As the trip was seven months away, he understandably didn't have any concrete plans—except for one specific bit: "I'd like to book a table at Per Se. Would you like to jo—"


I don't think I would've said yes to anyone else—at least, not so readily. I mean, Morten had to endure more than 10 hours of sitting in airplanes and airports to get from Norway to Per Se; all I had to do was hop on the subway. That put things in perspective. Also, out of all my best friends, Morten is one of the most appreciative of fine food. He, along with Behnaz and Kåre, made for some of the best dining companions I could hope for.

I took photos of every dish from two menus—Morten, Kåre, and I did the regular menu while Behnaz ordered the vegetarian one (I labeled those dishes with a V). This post is roughly 95 percent food porn, 4 percent words lifted from Per Se's menu, 1 percent other words I wrote that you should feel free to ignore. I trust no one will have a problem with that. Besides that I couldn't describe the dishes in any way that would do them justice—a combination of having eaten the meal over a month ago and my vocabulary having barely improved since I fled high school—people aren't interested in knowing what every dish tastes like. They want to know if the meal is worth it.

My answer: Yes. I don't want to overhype it, but if you want to splurge on one meal in New York City, Per Se is a great place to do it. I may not be able to do much in the ways of describing food, but I can tell you how the meal made me feel: HAPPIES. (That is "happy" in the multiple.) It made me realize why Ulterior Epicure spends so much time and money on eating at the best restaurants in the world: BECAUSE THE FOOD IS FUCKING DELICIOUS. Seems obvious, but I've spent most of my life avoiding such places because I didn't think they could live up to my expectations, and if they didn't it'd be too heavy of a price to pay as someone with limited recreational funds. Also, if I ate at fine dining restaurants more often I'd probably be broke and cease writing this blog, lest I shift my focus to "TOP RAMEN, EVERYDAY."

What makes the food at Per Se so different from the food I'm accustomed to eating? THE FLAVORS. EXPLODING. IN MY MOUTH. IN WAYS MY NEUROTRANSMITTERS HAVE NEVER BEFORE NEEDED TO TRANSMIT TO MY BRAIN. (Um, I don't know much about neuroscience; "neurotransmitters" may not be the word I'm looking for, but I like the way it sounds.) And it's done in a way that isn't boring, nor too complicated. At Per Se, oysters taste better than oysters; endives taste better than endives; mashed potatoes taste better than mashed potatoes; etc. That may sound inane, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. A quarter of the way into the meal I was already wondering when I could return.

Per Se isn't just about the food, though—service can make or break a meal. I'll admit that I may never get used to being so pampered at a restaurant (or pampered anywhere else, for that matter), but the service was pleasantly friendly, professional, and not too stuffy. It was one of my few dining experiences where the serving aspect felt like a performance. I don't mean that in a negative sense—it's just in the way the servers' actions are timed and synchronized, and how they keep everything running smoothly. The service matched the food.'s the food porn. ENJOY.

Amuse Bouche

mini goat cheese gougeres
Mini gougères

Amuse bouche = those lil' bites you receive before the meal begins. As these weren't listed on the menu, I'll have to rely on my memory and, more importantly, the Internet to refresh my memory. Methinks these were mini goat cheese-filled gougères—and when I say "mini gougères" I mean a size on par with peanut M&Ms. If only I could eat a bowl of them.

Salmon Tartare Cornets

Salmon tartare cornets filled with crème fraîche. The green cone was for Behnaz since she ordered the vegetarian menu. Unfortunately, I don't remember what made it green.

1st Course

table Course 1: Oysters and Pearls
Mother of pearl spoon, to be used with the Oysters and Pearls.

Oysters and Pearls: "Sabayon" of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Sterling white sturgeon caviar. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. A delicate, creamy pudding infused with SEA GOODNESS.

Veg Course 1: Caramelized Salsify "Veloute"
Caramelized Salsify "Veloute"

Caramelized Salsify "Veloute" (V): Pomegranate reduction, medjool date "marbles," and black winter truffle purée.

In Between: Salt, Butter, and Bread

salts butters parker house roll Sourdough roll
Salt, fat, and carbs = my favorite.

We were presented with a dish of six types of salt, not that I could tell you what they all are (the pink one, the red one, the black one...yeah, nevermind), along with two kinds of butter to go with our Parker House rolls and a selection of other breads, which would be made available through the meal. The Parker House roll pictured on the bottom left—sort of looks like a little bum, eh?—was soft and buttery, and I wish it had been four times larger. On the bottom right is the sourdough roll. It's wearing a hat.

2nd Course

Course 2: Honeycrispy Apple Salad
Honeycrisp Apple Salad

Honeycrisp Apple Salad: Caramelized Belgian endive, toasted English walnuts, garden mâche, and Burgundy truffle tapenade. What a happy, pretty little salad. It felt so delicate and light that my fork seemed to be too aggressive an eating implement, like the wrong stab would cause irreversible brain damage. I cautiously balanced the endive and apple sheets between the tines. "Lovely" isn't much of a description, but this...was lovely. I go all smitten over a good salad.

Course 2: Terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras
Foie Gras

Terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras: Quince marmalade, Eckerton Hill Farm's chestnuts, young beets, frisée lettuce, chestnut honey and aged balsamic vinegar. This dish was available for an extra $40, and the men went straight for it. It also came with a slab of crispy, golden toast. I'm talking Texas toast-sized.

Veg Course 2: Compressed Persian Cucumbers
Compressed Persian Cucumbers

Compressed Persian Cucumbers (V): Slow roasted beets, horseradish panna cotta, red ribbon sorrel, and gold beet glaze. I don't know how one compresses cucumbers, but it sure looks pretty.

3rd Course: Fish

Course 3: Sauteed Fillet of Chatham Bay Cod
Sautéed Cod

Sautéed Cod. Fillet of Chatham Bay Cod: Smoked ham, ragoût of French green lentils, brussels sprouts and celery branch salad. Crispy skinned fish + bed of lentils = can I eat this all winter, please? I've never cooked lentils before. Such fail, I know. I must put aside a night to make this recipe.

Veg Course 3: Holland Eggplant "A La Grenobloise"
Holland Eggplant

Holland Eggplant "À La Grenobloise" (V): Haricots verts and parsley shoots. And thus I learned what "à la Grenobloise" means: "a preparation of brown butter, capers, parsley, lemon juice and lemon meats with tiny croutons," according to Amuse Bouche. Well. Thank you, Grenoble. Looks like I've got to get more Grenobloised dishes into my diet.

4th Course: Lobster

Course 4: Noilly Prat
Noilly Prat.

Noilly Prat: Butter poached Nova Scotia lobster, red pepper tortellini, fennel confit, jingle bell peppers, roquette (aka arugula) and "Sauce Noilly Prat." I usually eat lobster in the form of lobster rolls (the few times I eat it, that is), but I'm also happy to eat a sweet, tender, bulbous chunk.

Veg Course 4: Butter Roasted Sweet Potato
Butter Roasted Sweet Potato.

Butter Roasted Sweet Potato (V): Brussels sprouts, Pearson Farm's pecans, frisée lettuce, and Blis maple syrup emulsion.


wine wine wine
Wine galore

I don't drink wine, but Morten is a big fan of the stuff and kindly let me try his selections (there was a red one and a white one—that's as descriptive as I can get) even though we knew I'd probably react with a wimper, a scrunched face, and a twisted mouth. And...these wines did not change my perspective, but I so wanted to feel the magic. MORTEN, I WANTED TO FEEEEL, I REALLY DID.

Morten with giant wine glass SNIFF IT

The main reason I took these photos wasn't just to document the presence of wine, but to document the presence of Honkin' Ginormous Wine Glass. According to this site, it looks like a Burgundy glass. I'd rather call it Bucket Glass. But that doesn't have a nice ring to it. I probably told Morten to pose for my photo. Sniff the crap out that wine, Morten—test the limits of your olfactory organs. ...Okay, you can stop.

5th Course: Meat

Course 5: Four Story Hill Farm's "Selle de Lapin"
Selle de Lapin

Four Story Hill Farm's "Selle de Lapin": Melted King Richard leeks, black winter truffle purée, mizuna, and sour cherry jus. I must admit that the meat courses—this one and the sixth—are the ones I remember the least well as, "OMG AWESOME." Maybe I'm just not a big fan of bunnies, or I'm more fond of vegetables and seafood. That's not to say I didn't eat everything on my plate, because I totally did.

As for what "Selle de Lapin" is, it's rabbit saddle. ...Which, if you're as clueless about your leporine (behold, the first time I've ever said "leporine") meat sections as I am, means nothing. This diagram should help—the saddle appears to be most of the back and bum. And from that, Per Se makes a disc of bunny meat.

Veg Course 5: Mushroom Pot Pie
Mushroom Pot Pie

Mushroom Pot Pie (V): "Matignon" of root vegetables, Eckerton Hill Farm's chestnuts, watercress salad, fines herbes crème fraîche, and Madeira cream. And now I've learned what matignon is: like mirepoix, but whose ingredients are minced instead of diced, and has added flavors. I tried a spoonful and it was plenty hearty and creamy, a bit too much for Behnaz, who couldn't finish it.

6th Course: Meat, Again!

Course 6: Snake River Farms' "Calotte de Boeuf Grillee" Pommes Mousseline with course 6
Calotte de Boeuf

Snake River Farms' "Calotte de Boeuf Grillee": Pommes mousseline, hen-of-the-woods mushroom, red wine braised salsify, arrowleaf spinach, onion tempura, and "Sauce Bordelaise." That two-tired stack of onion tempura was the most "WTF is this doing here?" part of the whole meal. They lacked crispiness and flavor, and probably had no friends. Sad onion. :( But everything else—your juicy medium rare plank-o-steak and vegetable and fungal bits—was great, and the best part, to me at least, was the pommes mousseline. That's just "mashed potatoes" in French, but Per Se's version tasted like potato purée mixed with angel fat, extracted from the purest and most voluminously fat, creamy angels. It's more like butter and cream with some potato flavor, as shown in this recipe from The Independent where the potato content is slightly less than the butter, cream, and milk together. Yes. That sounds good.

Veg Course 6: Mascarpone Enriched Parsnip Agnolotti
Parsnip Agnolotti

Mascarpone Enriched Parsnip Agnolotti (V): Honeycrisp apple "Parisienne," young onions, Swiss chard, and pickled mustard seed "beurre blanc."

7th Course: Cheese

Course 7: Toma Piemontese Fonduta
Toma Piemontese Fonduta.

Toma Piemontese Fonduta: Fork crushed sunchokes, Hadley Orchards' medjool date coulis, watercress, and brown butter. I don't remember much about it, besides that I liked it. It felt like a blip of a dish in between the steak-n-mashed potato of awesome, and the next dessert course.

Veg Course 7: Ticklemore

Ticklemore (V): Thyme sablé, compressed figs, Belgian endive, and arugula with walnut marmalade. Tickelmore is easily the best name for a dairy farm I've ever heard of. You could never be sad while eating TICKLEMORE CHEESE.

8th Course: First Dessert

Dessert 1: Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet: Rick Bishop's Tri-Star Strawberries, Strawberry Lace and Saigon Cinnamon Soda. The cinnamon-flavored foam was my favorite part. Tingly.

Veg Dessert 1: Huckleberry and Buttermilk Sherbet
Huckleberry and Buttermilk Sherbet

Huckleberry and Buttermilk Sherbet (V): Oat crumble, Oregon huckleberries "demi-sec," and buttermilk chantilly.

9th Course: Second Dessert

Dessert 2: Tropical Tea
Tropical Tea

Tropical Tea: Passion fruit-chocolate crémeux, Earl Grey génoise, passion fruit mousse, and Earl Grey ice cream. I remember the squiggly strip of dried passion fruit "lace" better than everything that was below it. Partially because I couldn't tell it was passion fruit and first and I couldn't stop thinking about it (ye know, when you're like, "BRAIN, YOU KNOW THIS, TELL ME WHAT IT ISSSS goddamnit you'll hate yourself when you realize what it is"). We had to ask the waiter for the answer. Taste bud fail.

Dessert 2: Delice au Damas
Delice au Damas

Delice au Damas: brown butter financier, damson plum mousse, mint jelly, and plum ice cream.

Veg Dessert 2: PB & J
PB & J

PB & J (V): Peanut parfait, crystallized lemon verbena, toasted Virginia peanuts, and Concord grape sherbet.

Mignardises, aka DESSERT BUFFET

I find it just a bit cruel that after serving you nine courses, at which point you've fulfilled your caloric needs for a few days, Per Se piles on, oh, nine more desserts not specifically mentioned on the menu in quantities no mortal could comfortably consume. These little bites of chocolates, cookies, candies, and more are simply called mignardises, the French term for bite-sized confections that come at the end of a meal. Petit fours could be part of mignardises, but to qualify as mignardises there has to be a variety of desserts, according to The Food Timeline. Per Se definitely has the "variety" thing down. Take a look:

chocolates hand pulled candies so many chocolate thingies salted caramels, macarons, chocolate bon bons popcorn-flavored white chocolate bon bons

From top to bottom: Assorted chocolate bon bons (you can choose more than two, but two is definitely enough); Chiclet-sized hand pulled candies (I wonder how long it took to wrap each piece in a weeny sheet of plastic); chocolate-covered hazelnuts; a three-tired box of salted caramels, two flavors of macarons, and two kinds of chocolate bon bons; and popcorn-flavored white chocolate bon bons.

OH BUT THERE'S MORE, don't you worry.

doughnuts coffee dessert coffee dessert thing
Coffee an doughnuts

Coffee and doughnuts is one of Thomas Keller's signature dishes, originating from The French Laundry, and is deservedly lauded. The coffee: cappuccino semifreddo. The doughnuts: doughnut holes rolled in cinnamon sugar. I was too full to eat more than one doughnut hole—it was a bit chewier than I'd prefer—but I ate the whole semifreddo. It was a sort of light, frozen creaminess I hadn't had before, with a super smooth coffee flavor that lingered in your brain and made you want more (I say that as someone who doesn't enjoy drinking coffee). I won't attempt to describe it further—that I ate the whole thing when I was talking half-bites of some of the other desserts (not for lack of want, but lack of stomach space) should be telling enough. I'll have to try and make it myself—it doesn't look too difficult.

nomz feeding
EAT DA SWEETS. (Behnaz isn't punching Morten; she's feeding him.)

It felt like the sweets would never end. And in that way, it felt like heaven. Capping off the meal with an onslaught of desserts is a guaranteed happiness high. Not to belittle the rest of the meal, which we enjoyed as thoroughly as possible, but this part was the most fun and surprising. At least, surprising since I didn't know what to expect—I suppose I've just ruined it for all of you now. Oops.

You could take extra desserts home if you want, but all I did was take the salted caramels. On retrospect, I should've gotten some more things packed up—at the very least I could've shared them with my coworkers. It's hard to think about the next meal when you've been pummeled by a food coma.

take 2
The happy Weegies: Kåre, Morten, and Behnaz.

Pummeled, and happy. Very happy.

Many thanks to Morten for being the food-crazed guy he is and organizing the dinner—without him, Behnaz, Kåre, and I may never have eaten at Per Se. And I owe him some very belated birthday wishes, as his birthday was a few weeks before our Per Se dinner. ;_; I MUST NOT FORGET AGAIN.

Also, thanks to Chef de Cuisine Eli Kaimeh and Pastry Chef Elwyn Boyles for crafting the awesome.


ADDEUNDUM (later in the day): I almost forgot to mention that we each received a bag of three sandwich cookies at the end of our meal so we could bring a lil' something home. (Aww, cookie gifts!) They were uber-buttery shortbread cookies with a chocolate filling. And when I say uber-buttery, I mean the cookie just about fell apart when you touched it. In a good way. Full-o-butter. Yes.


Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 (map)

Morten wrote a review of the dinner in Norwegian about a month ago, then translated it into English for my sake. I'll try to post that next!


David Koh / November 10, 2010 3:38 AM

Wow Per Se!

Just out of curiosity did you shoot those pictures with your 7D? Was it weird taking a DSLR to such a top tier restaurant? I take photos of my food too, but I usually feel uncomfortable/self-conscious with a big DSLR, seems like everyone is looking. I would have been terrified at a restaurant like Per Se.

Or am I just weird?

Thanks for sharing the Per Se food porn!

JenMarie / November 10, 2010 7:28 AM

I was also wondering about the pics. So glad, of course, to get to see them in their food pornerific glory. But if I had been eating my $300+ dinner at the table next to you, I might have been kinda annoyed. They're gorgeously bright, but does that mean you used a flash?

adelyn / November 10, 2010 7:31 AM

Great photos, Bops!
Yeah...I'm with David there...I'd be too self conscious to whip out a mammoth dslr too, which is why I have no photos of my experience at Per, it wouldn't have been able to fit in my purse. Also, a lot of it depends on who you're with. Unfortunately many people I dine with don't take too fondly to me snapping photos while dining. :(

roboppy / November 10, 2010 9:29 AM

Chuck: HAHA, ahh, it is tempting to eat like this more often, but my bank account will keep me grounded. :)

David: Yup, all the photos were taken with my 7D! I think Per Se must be pretty used to people taking one seemed to bat an eye at least. Or they were very nice about it. (Alright, they probably thought I was weird, but didn't act like anything was atypical.) After three years at Serious Eats I'm not really self conscious about taking photos anymore, for better or worse. It's not weird to feel self conscious, though! People ask me about that all the time.

JenMarie: The tables are sort of apart apart (to the point that you can't really hear what's going on at other tables), so I can't imaging it would bother another table much. And if it did, Per Se probably wouldn't let people take photos in the first place? Nope, no flash; that's like the first rule of restaurant photography, NEVAR TO BE BROKEN! ;) I think I've only used photography in a restaurant once; it was for work and we were in a spot where we wouldn't hardly bother anyone. So as far as this blog goes, the flash use is pretty much nonexistent.

Adelyn: I only have bags that are large enough for my camera, haha! Sigh. My friends wanted photos of their dishes too so I was the designated photographer. :)

Julie / November 10, 2010 10:51 AM

Oooooooooo. . . =D I've only ever had one fancy dinner like this, and it was wonderful--I hadn't realized how much of an experience dining out could be before then.

Also, I'm glad you took photos--if there's any meal worth capturing, it's this one! The shots of your dining companions enjoying the meal are also awesome.

Morten / November 10, 2010 11:39 AM

This was an amazing meal. Once back in Europe I ate at Tafelspitz 1876 in Düsseldorf, a one-starred place, and I must say that Per Se deserves it's three stars. Tafelspitz was very good, though, but two things stood out at Per Se. The general pampering, the enormousness of the sweets and the highly professional service.

About the pictures; they even asked if we wanted help at one point. If they should hold the plates while photo were being snapped, so it's obvious they don't mind at all :)

Su-Lin / November 10, 2010 12:15 PM

I'm interested in knowing what every dish tastes like!

Oh, everything looks so fabulous. When I return to NYC one day, I must go! (counting my pennies...)

Gabrielle / November 10, 2010 4:11 PM


Anyhow, hi Robyn, I'm a long time lurker--err, I mean reader, and thought this would be a good entry to finally leave a comment on. As it is for most people, Per Se is a wee bit beyond my budget (ok, more than a wee bit!) But it's definitely somewhere I'd want to go to celebrate something big--maybe after getting married or passing the bar.

Lovely blog, by the way. I especially like how you seem to cover a lot of places in Brooklyn. You're responsible for more than a few of my yummy meals, so thank you!

Gastronomer / November 10, 2010 4:27 PM

You're absolutely right, all anyone wants to know is if the meal was worth it! Thanks for breakin' it down all simple and shiz. Glad to hear it was worth it.

Mahar / November 10, 2010 7:06 PM

Gorgeous. Am hungry. Sad there's a dearth of Michelin star chefs in Manila. Feel deprived.

I will ameliorate (oooh, fancy word) the pain of not having a Michelin-star meal by making your pictures into my wallpaper. Pictures of food I can't afford, oddly enough, make me happy. :)

Daniel / November 10, 2010 8:43 PM

I've been waiting for this one since you tweeted you were going. Awesome, awesome post. Well worth the wait.

I can't wait for the Per Se Groupon!

roboppy / November 10, 2010 11:41 PM

Julie: Yeah, I felt the same way.....the..EXPERIENCE! Such a different thing from the usual. And while I prefer casual dining, this felt like something in between...formal, but comfortable.

Morten: SWEETS! OH GLORIOUS SWEETS! I miss them so. I wonder if I'll ever eat at other restaurant that can out do Per Se's after dessert-desserts.

They were really nice about the photos. Extra points for them! Haha.

Su-Lin: You'll have to com here and eat it yourselllf. Doo it!

Josy: Thanks! Everything was photogenic. And there was enough lighting that it was easy to do!

D: Someday you'll be right there with us!

Gabrielle: Oo, thanks for delurking! NOW YOU SHALL NEVER LURK AGAIN. :) I'm glad I could help you eat well! I think I need to eat out more often in Brooklyn though, considering I live here. Manhattan gets most of my money. Hmm.

Gastronomer: You're welcome! That's all I wanted to do..make it simple and shiz. And have all my photos on one long page, heh.

Mahar: Oh, you have so many other good eats there though...porktastic eats! I know I have to visit someday.

Daniel: Glad you approve! So when are you planning to go to Per Se? ;)

Jason / November 11, 2010 12:10 AM

Hmm lentils. I highly recommend them with Chilean Seabass (though they are sadly going extinct). This is the MOST EPIC post I've ever seen. 1.5 months is not at all too long for such a MOMENTOUS post. I felt full just from looking at it. Did you get to at least take your leftover desserts home with you? If I were you, I'd sneak some tupperware next time or some sort of fake boot with food storage containing power!

How will you proceed in the gastronomical world having experienced this pinnacle of meals?

iggy / November 11, 2010 12:37 AM

oh WOW. I read about Per Se and French Laundry before but couldn't really picture what a nine-course meal is like...this is like being there! thanks for the awesome photos and commentary!

Heidi / November 11, 2010 5:26 PM

Gosh, I'd love to visit the restaurant the next time I go to NY and I have more money than just the mere student budget. One of the reasons why I find the restaurant interesting is that I'm from Finland and if you write the restaurant's name together, like "Perse", it'll mean "ass" in Finnish. I don't know if it's just stupid of me to tell that, but I just had to do it! :D

Steph / November 11, 2010 8:16 PM

OMG I've wished to go there forever! Color me jealous! I often am in the area, and I find myself wandering around the front door stalker style, hoping that one day I'll be able to afford to take my family in for the experience. Thank you for the glimpse into this beautiful world :)
- S

roboppy / November 11, 2010 10:51 PM

Jason: Ahh I didn't take home the leftover desserts! A part of me felt dumb for that, but I got my fill during the meal...I wouldn't have eaten the extra desserts, would've just given them again. If I ever go back, I'll take em home. :)

I thought everything after Per Se would taste pooty, but nah, I've pretty much gone back to normal. My palate = UNCHANGED! Heh. On the bright side maybe, most prix fixe meals will look reasonable compared to that $300 bill, so I look forward to trying more places.

Iggy: You're welcome!

Danny: Yesss do it! Just hop on the subway. ;)

Heidi: HAAH, I had no idea about that! Thanks for the short Finnish lesson. :)

Steph: Your family would looove youu..hope you get to try it someday!

Mona / November 13, 2010 12:00 AM

Oh Robyn, I'm so happy for you and love how you have a way of making us (the readers) happy with your photos and words. Per Se is one of my fav. in NYC!

Thanks for sharing.

Shan / November 14, 2010 3:41 AM

Ohhh man! Per Se!!!
Hi there, I've been a supersilent reader for a good few years now. This is my first comment and I jsut wanted to say that I've enjoyed living vicariously through your happy food photos *waves*

Winnie / November 15, 2010 10:39 AM

ROBYN!!! Thank you so much for eating and taking photos! I work around that area and have passed by Per Se so many times on my lunch break (my hourly wage doesn't really allow me to splurge on such a dinner.. yet). I have so many dining fantasies of that place. I'm actually at work right now (shhhh...) and imagine my happiness when I saw that you ate there and have SO MUCH FOOD PORN included. thanks so much for sharing.

esther / November 15, 2010 4:58 PM

I love that you write with no pretense whatsoever. And you admit that you don't know what everything is. =)

It totally makes me appreciate you!

I don't know if i can ever drop that much $$$$$$ on one meal!

Bonnie / November 15, 2010 11:10 PM

I love this post, I love the photos and your descriptions! I'm so glad that you got to go! I hope to make it there one day. What an experience...even as someone who experiences some really superior restaurants, I'll bet you were blown away. Gorgeous photos! What a great experience! Thanks for sharing it.

Thupamodel / November 16, 2010 1:52 PM

Thank you for these great photos! What a visual feast, I feel full just from reading your post :) I recenty read SERVICE INCLUDED (an autobiography of one of the lady Captains from Per Se) and now I can't wait to make my reservations there – it will be a Christmas/New Year's treat for my beau & I.


roboppy / November 16, 2010 2:53 PM

Mona: You're welcome; I enjoy sharing the happy! Alas, cannot share the calories. They are in here. [points to gut]

Shan: Thanks for reading and DELURKING! No more silence for you..bwahahaa.

Winnie: You're welcome; I hope you get to eat there someday!

Esther: Maybe if some friends visit you from another country and say they wanna eat at Per Se you'll go? ;)

Bonnie: You'er welcome! Yup, this was one of those "blow you away" experiences...I hope I get to eat at other restaurants like this again soon.

Thupamodel: I read that book too! It definitely made me want to eat at Per Se, but it was a few years ago and I wouldn't have coughed up the money back then...much more do-able now. :) Hope you have a great time during your meal!

donuts4dinner / November 16, 2010 3:45 PM

These are some of the nicest Per Se photos I've ever seen; most of them turn out horribly dark, and evidently not everyone is addicted to Photoshop.

So, my boyfriend has been denying me Per Se for years now but has finally agreed as of late to take me there. Can you tell me about reservation-snagging? I rarely see anything available on OpenTable, but can I assume it's different when I call them?

Tina / November 16, 2010 5:40 PM

Beautiful photos of the dinner. :)

I know you haven't mentioned it but did you get a tour of the pristine kitchen of Per Se?

roboppy / November 18, 2010 1:41 AM

donuts4dinner: (I LIKE YOUR USERNAME.)

Oh boy, am I addicted to PS or what? Yaay! Luckily the lighting was not too bad in there compared to other restaurants I've had to take photographs in.

Morten made the reservations on open table--I'm not sure if it's better to call em, but it can't hurt to try. Morten made our reservation for Sept 29th on August 2nd, although looking at the site it says they take reservations a month in advance from this month on.

Tina: Ahh nope, no kitchen tour! :[ I don't think any of us even thought of that. Or maybe Morten did think about it and didn't say anything, hehe. Then again, we were also super tired by that point...if I ever go back I'll have to remember that!

donuts4dinner / November 22, 2010 4:29 PM

Sorry for my double comment, and thanks for deleting it. I got a little excited, evidently.

I look at OpenTable all of the time (in a totally normal way and not in a creepily-obsessed way at all) and see lots of Sunday-night-at-9:30 reservations for Per Se but nothing that really gets me excited. I called on Friday for a December 18th reservation and got put on the waiting list, so we shall see.

And now I'm going to have to go blog about how weird it is that people ask to tour restaurant kitchens.

roboppy / November 22, 2010 11:05 PM

Jessie: Thanks! I took em at 1600 ISO. You can view all the EXIF data for the photos on Flickr by clicking on the "Canon EOS 7D" link on the individual photo pages. The time is off for all the photos though since I hadn't set my clock right...oops.

donuts4dinner: Hope you get the reservation you want!

I don't think it's that weird to want to tour a kitchen—it's just not something I'd ever think to ask about. Would make more sense if I were a chef, or aspiring one, perhaps? I've toured a few kitchens, but it was always for something work-related or school-related.

Oh, I once went into the kitchen at wd-50, but that was because Kathy wanted to meet Sam Mason, less so because she wanted to see the kitchen. ;)

Morten / November 24, 2010 6:44 PM

I wouldn't mind a tour of the kitchen, but I would rather be in the kitchen in the middle of service than seeing the actual kitchen. A tour of the kitchen is only interesting to me if I can see how they work.

Then again, I guess that's an occupational hazard.

Uhockey / November 29, 2010 6:59 PM

Impressive duration for the 9-course meal to last for nearly 5 hours. I ate there on 12/30/09 ( and did an extended tasting of 20 courses not counting the salmon cones, gougeres, pot de creme, or mignardises/candies - the meal lasted just under 6 hours. Wonderful shots, btw, crystal clear. :)

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