I was looking forward to this meal after yesterday’s disappointing meal at Masa. I haven’t been to French Laundry, but I do want to go one day. I was a bit worried about this meal due to this article. On the bright side, maybe Thomas Keller fixed the “issues” by our meal. Since this was my first time, I can’t compare a before and after of Per Se.
Initially we were disappointed that there were only ~8 courses, but after finishing up the 8 courses, I don’t think I’ve ever been so stuffed before in my life. Before we talk about the meal though, let’s start on the wine pairing. There isn’t an official wine pairing on the menu; the sommelier will pair the wines specifically for you. You just have to tell him what your budget is. Initially he wanted a 1:1 ratio of food to wine, but we told him that was a bit too much and we wanted to keep it around to $150 a person. He then suggested instead of doing that, we could just order a bottle of champagne, a white, and a red. He said that’s what he would have poured anyway, so I thought it was a great idea. We wound up getting a rose champagne that was pretty good, an AWESOME German riesling, and I forgot the red already.
I chose the base tasting menu. My wife upgraded to the foie gras. The brother in law upgraded to both the foie gras and the wagyu.
Feedback on a course
Every item was delicious so far, up until the quail dish. The three of us agreed that the sauce was a bit on the sweet side, so I gave the feedback to the waiter. Before that though, I was thinking that it was probably sweet to us since most Asians don’t like really sweet stuff, but maybe everyone else think it’s fine. I told my wife, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if a restaurant changes the sweetness of a dish based on the ethnic background of the diner?” That would be some next level service there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some restaurants already do this. Anyway, after I told the waiter that it was probably just sweet to us since we were Asian, and he replied, “Well the head chef is Asian.” FACEPALM!
After that though, before the dessert dish, the manager(?) came by and told us that some of the desserts would be a bit sweet and if we wanted more cheese instead. We told her no, it’s fine but I liked that a) they acknowledged our feedback and b) were willing to customize our dessert for us. The service we thought was top notch (better than Masa for sure.)
By the time we were done with our 4 desserts, we were STUFFED. Then they brought by a tray of chocolates. My wife joked how many she could grab. The waiter said, “As many as you want.” We each grabbed 2, and after a bite of 1, I was done! I needed to get up and walk around and digest all that food ASAP! After the chocolates, they then brought by ANOTHER selection of macarons and chocolates. My wife joked once more, “Can we take these home?” The waiter said, “Sure” and proceeded to box them up for us.
The only negative (and not really a negative) was when we were signing the bill, my wife really liked the pen, especially since it had “Per Se” written on it. I told her to just stick it into her purse since I honestly didn’t think they cared and probably encourage customers to take the pen (for viral marketing.) However, the waiter asked, “Do you have my pen?” and so my wife had to do the walk of shame into her purse to retrieve it. Honestly, how much could that pen have cost? $5 at most? C’mon Per Se!
Besides the pen drama, I thought our meal was great and definitely a YOLO experience! However, we all agreed that we preferred Brooklyn Fare for the food quality. I’d also put Eleven Madison Park over Per Se just due to the sheer number of courses (and the overall experience.) This meal lasted about 3 hours by the way. And note they didn’t charge me $10 per bottle of water like Masa did.