Per Se, NYC
Tasted Sunday, April 13, 2014 by jshufelt with 170 views
It had been a very long time since we had been to Per Se, and after hearing about the "health inspection violations," it was clearly time to return. If you've ever eaten at either of Thomas Keller's flagship restaurants, and in particular if you've visited the kitchens, you know that by any meaningful standard of cleanliness, these restaurants would be at the top of the list. I don't want to speculate on what might be going on behind the scenes with NYC food inspectors, but suffice it to say that this felt like a good opportunity to land a reservation somewhat more easily than usual, and it was. (The inspections have since been successfully appealed, so I imagine tables will quickly return to being as hard to come by as they have been in the past.)
Needless to say, the food and service were impeccable, as they have been on every other visit. The signature "Oysters and Pearls" dish sits comfortably at the pinnacle of the comfort food pyramid, and the foie gras torchon preparation remains our favorite. But I think the highlight this time around was a saucisson of Wagyu beef, with subtle yet assertive seasoning that was a bit outside the typical Per Se profile of silky smoothness, and all the better for it. Don't get me wrong; I like the luxurious textures as much as the next person. But 11 courses of that can be fatiguing, and it's refreshing to get something a bit more rustic and exotic along the way.
Because it was just two of us, we went with a mixture of 375s and individual glasses of specific wines where it made sense.
Eventually I'll learn to stay away from great-vintage Bordeaux with less than 30 years of age. Hopefully soon. I'm reminded that I also need to begin exploring the world of champagne. The last few bottles we've had have been really nice accompaniments to a variety of dishes, and that was certainly the case here.
And, of course, we'll need to come back for dinner!