Per Se was one of our highlight meals during our trip to New York. Needing no introduction this 3 Michelin starred juggernaut has consistency sat amongst the top restaurants of the Big Apple, as well as holding fort in the world’s top 50 restaurants at number 30 in the latest list. Located within the Time Warner building a dedicated escalator transports patrons to the entrance with the famed big blue doors. We visited on a mild Sunday evening, liberated from the usual Sunday night doom of an impending Monday in work.
After a short wait in the Salon bar area we were led to our table on the higher level of the split level dining room. A big fireplace with a roaring fire dominated the dimly lit room. Service is slick as one would expect and presented with a choice of vegetarian or the normal tasting menu there was only going to be one winner. The normal menu includes optional supplements for some dishes which soon pushes the price upwards from the standard tasting menu price of $310 per person.
The first of the amuse bouches were Gruyere cheese gougeres followed by a sensational salmon cornet with red onion creme-fraich.
The first course was oysters & pearls - "Sabayon" of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Sterling White sturgeon caviar.
For the next course I stuck with the standard melon "gazpacho" - Eckerton Hill Farm’s tomatoes, Aji Dulce peppers, yellow squash and flowering basil whilst Mrs Nom had the supplement dish of "Terrine " of Hudson Valley moulard duck foie gras - yogurt "gelée," Granny Smith apples, petite radishes, candied walnuts and huckleberry coulis served with toasted brioche. The melon gazpacho was packed full of flavour incorporating a kick from the pepper and basil. The foie gras was served with a variety of salts to enhance the flavour along with a delectable brioche that was replenished a couple of times.
Crispy skin Mediterranean lubina - "Tabouleh," pearl barley, black Cerignola olives, Persian cucumbers and toasted sesame za’atar.
Maine Sea scallops - "ragoût" of corn kernels, bok choy, fairy tale eggplant, black trumpet mushrooms, mizuna and yuzu moromi.
Four Story Hill Farm’s Porchetta - bean salad, "gribiche" and whole grain mustard sauce.
Elysian Fields Farm’s Carre D’Agneau - "Chou-Fleur Rôti en Cocotte," Autumn royal grapes, endive, mâche and ruby beet butter. The final meat course and a new to us but likeable combination of exquisitely cooked lamb and beet sauce.
Maplebrook Farms "Burratini " - Hadley Orchards’ medjool dates, French Laundry Garden fennel, Acacia honey and aged sherry vinegar. By now we were struggling with this cheese course but we knew we had a whole medley of desserts to come.
The first of a trio of desserts was a berry parfait followed by a take on S’mores and a chocolate tart. By now we were in a food coma and cannot recall the full details.
The rest of the desserts flowed quickly with the signature coffee and donuts, cinnamon sugared brioche doughnuts with cappuccino semifreddo. An enticing box full of whote, milk and dark chocolates were presented as each one of the numerous selection was described in depth. We settled for a few before the final petit fours were presented in a large round tin containing nougats, macaroons and truffles.
There was no way we could fit it all in and ended up taking the chocolates and petit fours away with us, all neatly packed away with bows and all. An additional gift of chocolate shortbreads was also in our goodie bag to go which made for a sweet breakfast the next morning, some of the finest shortbread we have had.
A meal full of highlights but not all courses delivered the same punch such as the lubina and the dessert courses were surprisingly simple but still enjoyable. For a fine dining experience in New York we can see why Per Se is so highly regarded.