Anniversary Lunch at Per Se

I have been to Per Se once before if you remember .  Back when they first started their salon menu I was one of the first to check it out.  I remember distinctly pulling on those blue doors out front and feeling incredibly embarrassed when I finally realized they were just decoration. Luckily I remember this well and Mr. T and I glided through the side glass doors rather than making the same mistake twice.  Once seated we ordered a lovely bottle of Sancerre and the meal began. 

Gougères-  Gruyere cheese and sauce Mornay in a little orb.  One of the best 5 seconds of my taste buds life- so rich and cheesey- delicious.

Coronets- Mr T got the classic salmon with red onion and crème faiche cone while they subbed in one with fennel and miso for my salmon allergy. 

“Oysters & Pearls” –  “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar.  Wow- this was spectacular.  The textures and flavors were stunning- so rich yet so elegant.  This was easily my favorite dish of the afternoon.

First Bread Service- Parker House Roll
The outside of this roll was like butter and perfectly salted up top with an incrediblely delicate and airy inside.  Best roll of my life- hands down.  It was perfection.

Served with two different types of butter one salted and one unsalted- both were delicious.

Sicilian Pistachio “Panna Cotta” – Navel Orange, Hearts of Peach Palm, Ruby Beets and Red Ribbbon Sorrel.  Obviously the presentation was pretty to look at and the flavor of pistachio, beet and peach palm played together okay but... I don't know.  It just didn't really make sense to me.  It seemed more like a kitchen sink experiment rather than part of an elaborate tasting menu.

Sautéed Fillet of Atlantic Cod- Salt Cod “Brandade”, San Marzano Tomato Marmalade, “Haricots Verts” Watercress and Hen Egg Emulsion.  I loved the sweet marmalade side and creamy egg emulsion.  This was a nice spin on a classic French dish.

Time for the second bread course with a tray of four different kinds.  I liked the flat top style of the sourdough so I went with that guy.

Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster- Jingle Bell Peppers, Globe Artichokes, Sunchokes and a Spicy Lobster Broth.  For the last seafood course of lunch this was certainly a great way to end.  The lobster was incredibly tender  and the broth was so delicious I had to hold myself back from mopping it all up with my roll.  This was also one of my favorite dishes of the day. 

We finished our bottle of Sancerre with the seafood and moved onto a wonderful bottle of Zinfandel for the meat courses.

Salmon Creek Farm’s Pork Belly- “Ragot” of English Peas, La Ratte Potato Puree and “Sauce Perigourdine”.  I’ve eaten a lot of pork belly in my life and this one was certainly delicious with a decadent glaze and ultra creamy potatoes.  However the “Ragot” of English Peas really turned me off.  It reminded me of eating baby food and really didn’t add to the dish.

Snake River Farms “Calotte De Boeuf”- Charred Eggplant, Cauliflower, Arrowleaf Spinach and Nasturtium Caper Jus.  I have to be completely honest.  This dish was terrible!  The meat itself just tasted strange and the crushed potato chip top and charred eggplant tasted absolutely awful together.  Mr. T didn't think it was as bad so after two bites I passed mine off to him.

“Boerenkaas”- Sour Cheeries, Celery Branch, Lavash and Black Pepper Gastrique.  I was surprised to be served a cheese course of all soft cheese but the sour cherries and black pepper gastrique definently put this dish in the spotlight.

The cheese was a signal that our meal was winding down and even though we had plenty of wine left we had to order a bottle of the Brooklyn Brewery Blue Apron Ale.  This beer is made exclusively for Thomas Keller and it was really an excellent Belgian Dark Ale with a ton of plum and malt flavors perfect for the coming desserts.  And believe me I didn't have to worry about having time to finish the beer and wine- dessert would go on for quite some time.

“Blue Gin”- Dragon Fruit with Greek Yogurt Sorbet and Violet Gin Granite.  This was a nice palate cleansing dessert just light enough to be sweet but cool enough to waken up the taste buds again.

“Pamplemousse Blanc”- Vanilla “Genoise”, Grapefruit “Bavarois”, Fennel Blub “Relish” and Olio Verde Sorbet.   This dessert reminded me a bit of one I loved at Jean George years ago. It had everything- sweet, salty, bitter…

And even a little dessert soup on the side!

Salted Chocolate Peanuts- Candied Spanish Peanuts, Smoked Chocolate Pudding, Peanut Butter Nougat and Graham Cracker Ice Cream.  This dessert had every single ingredient I absolutely crave!  Unfortunately it just didn’t work very well.  It was almost so deconstructed and small that it became unsatisfying. 

I know what you're thinking- beer, wine and now coffee at the same time.  It's my anniversary- why not.  My coffee was absolutely perfect- not to bitter with a good nutty flavor and a little side of steamed milk.  This was seriously delicious coffee- I wish I had asked what kind of beans they had used.

A special dessert for our anniversary- chocolate cake with a dollop of wonderful caramel ice cream.

Then a large box of 24 different kinds of chocolates arrived. There were so many to choose from!  They had amazing flavors, even a couple of cockatil ones like mojito and martini that reminded me of Ronnie Sue's. I was so full we could only do about four but luckily they boxed up some more for us to go.

Because the Coffee and Doughnuts dessert was next!  Fluffy warm sugar doughnuts holes…

And a thick and creamy coffee semifreddo that just about had me in heaven.  Then they brought out two little frozen creamsicle balls of goodness followed by a silver tray filled to the brim with four tiers of lemon macarons, mint chocolate macarons, three different types of fudge, house made caramels and nougats.  I don’t know how I missed getting a picture of all of this.  Probably because I was in a food coma at this point.  Luckily they wrapped up even more of that to go so we had some treats for later!

So time to wrap this experience up and this one is difficult.  The service and atmosphere at Per Se were impeccable.  We were waited on hand and foot yet never felt that service was overbearing- something difficult to balance at some fine dining restaurants.  However two of the dishes were only so so and one was an epic fail.  When I’m paying this much money for a meal I expect each dish to be well thought out and executed.  However one epic fail out of about 14 courses (including two courses which were pretty mind blowing) isn’t too shabby either.

I have to leave this one at that.  What I can say is that I couldn’t imagine spending my anniversary any other way.  Compared to one year ago Mr. T and I were so relaxed and so happy to just sit back and have someone take care of us.  It was a gorgeous day and we ended it with a nice and needed walk through the park.  One incredible year happily completed.
Per Se


Anonymous said…
My husband is considering this restaurant for our anniversary as well on 4/18. Fingers crossed ;-)