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Per Se dining roomThomas KellerThe 10 Best French Restaurants in the World
Located Outside of France
2010

 

 

"I call Thomas Keller a genius. But now we call everyone with the slightest talent a genius. So I will allow the food he produces do the talking. It speaks of a palate which is sensitive, refined and sophisticated; it speaks of an intelligence which is wide-ranging, adventurous and playful; and it speaks of a technique which is disciplined, masterly and firmly rooted in the French tradition."
– Francis Bown, Bown's Best

"I'm a huge fan of Per Se. The cuisine gave me everything I wanted. There's so much satisfaction in the food. From the start to the finish, it was pure pleasure. Everything was at a high. There were no troughs.'' – Marcus Wareing

 

Recommended reviews and articles about this restaurant:  The Amateur Gourmet  /  Bloomberg  /  Francis Bown  Chubby Hubby  /  Fodors.com  /  Fork & Pen  /  Gastronomia (French)  /  GAYOT  /  Gothamist  / 
Guardian Unlimited (UK)  /  eGullet Forums  /  Andy Hayler  /  Maurice Graham Henry  /  Hipguide.com
 
The Hungry Hedonist  /  Market Manila  /  Mobil Travel Guide  /  New York Magazine  /  The New York Times 
Robb Report  /  San Francisco Chronicle  /  Sondheim.com  /  Time Out New York (Tasting of Vegetables) / 
Times Union (Albany)
  /  The Wine Wonk

See sample Dinner and Lunch menus Click here to access earlier articles about the opening of this restaurant.
 

MICHELIN

NEW YORK TIMES

GAYOT

FORBES TRAVEL GUIDE

19/20

MENU (pdf) /  Some legacy menus

Open every day

Dinner
5:30 to 10:00 p.m.

Lunch
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Reservations are accepted by phone two months in advance.

Lunch and Dinner
$295 Nine course Chef's Tasting Menu
$295 Nine course Tasting of Vegetables

A $185 Five course tasting menu is available at lunch Friday to Sunday.

A 20% gratuity is built into the restaurant and bar prices.  Discretionary tipping above the 20% gratuity, while allowed, is neither expected nor encouraged.

Address:

  per se
Ten Columbus Circle
Time Warner Center Fourth Floor
New York, New York  10019

 

Phone:

  (212) 823 9335

Fax:

  (212) 823 9353
 

Chef de Cuisine:

  Eli Kaimeh
     

Chef Pâtissier:

  Elwyn Boyles
 
Chef Sommelier:   Michel Couvreux
 
General Manager:   Anthony Rudolf
 
TKRG Director of Operations, NY:    
 
TKRG COO :   Eric Lilavois
 
Chef Propriétaire:   Thomas Keller
 

Official Site:

[website]

______________________________

Excellence, per se

"Of itself", "by itself" – this is the definition of "per se", a common Latin phrase.  But this phrase is also the most unique name I know of for a restaurant.  Consider some New York restaurant names you know.  Several are named after their creators, such as Bouley or Daniel.  Others suggest a location, such as Le Périgord.  What makes the name Per Se unique is that it succinctly reflects the aspirations of its Chef and owner, Thomas Keller, that this new restaurant not simply be a "French Laundry East", but a unique destination restaurant that stands on its own over time, "of itself", "by itself".

One enters the restaurant to the left or right of the never-moving blue doors on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center.  I will never forget the first time I saw the dining room on my initial visit one week after the restaurant reopened due to the February kitchen fire.  In a word, stunning!  The view of Columbus Circle and Central Park is postcard perfect!  The dining room is modern and spacious, in two tiers, with tables as well spaced as you will find at the very best Paris restaurants such as Guy Savoy or L'Ambroisie.  The tables are all round, with chairs that are unpretentious, yet large and comfortable.

What makes dining at Per Se such a joyous adventure is the scope and variety of courses served.  I always look forward to beginning with the classic Thomas Keller opener, miniature ice cream cones of salmon tartare with sweet red onion and crème fraîche.  As for the canapés that are served before the first course, my favorite is the pickled deviled egg with a black truffle "pop tart".  But the canapé I most eagerly await on each visit is the soup.  The soups are the best I have tasted anywhere.  Being a canapé before a major meal, they are never "heavy" soups with a too-filling cream base.  They are light, yet incredibly rich and flavorful.  Two standouts worth mentioning are the chilled corn soup with vanilla and basil oil, and the hot purée of celery root soup with braised chestnuts and black truffles.  (An advance peek of the Thanksgiving brunch menu, which was to begin with a Provençal pumpkin spice soup with brown butter dumplings, briefly tempted me to abandon my family and come here.)

As for the main courses, they are always very good, even when they are unexciting.  For example, the meat courses I have had range from an unremarkable wiener schnitzel to a beef dish with oxtail and onion of such intensity that it immediately recalled the cooking of Bernard Pacaud, my favorite Chef in France.  The prepared cheese courses is always interesting and inventive. 

Service at Per Se is thoroughly professional; superior service in New York is not to be found.  A captain will be in charge, with a backserver and various "runners" assisting in the serving of dishes.  Everyone is courteous, friendly, and – should you have a question about anything put in front of you – very well informed about what they are serving.

And the total dining experience?  The unbridled elegance and excellence I experienced at Per Se has succeeded in making this restaurant the one I enthusiastically recommend to anyone yearning for the three star Michelin Paris dining experience in New York.  I'm always eagerly looking forward to saving enough money so I can afford to return!

And the long term significance of Per Se?   I am convinced that Per Se is the most significant French restaurant to open in New York since the opening of the restaurant at the French Pavilion during the 1939 World's Fair. While the cooking at Per Se is described as American with "classic French influences," make no mistake: this is cooking as thoroughly grounded in French tradition as any currently served in New York.  As for the renowned Le Rrestaurant Français at the 1939 World's Fair, yes, there was much French cooking in New York (some of it very good) before 1939.  But when visitors to the 1939 World's Fair dined at this restaurant in the French Pavilion, they experienced a level of excellence in French cooking not previously known in the western hemisphere.  But was everything "perfect"?  I'm sure it wasn't.  No doubt the trial of operating a restaurant with Chefs and staff from several top Paris restaurants produced its share of missteps.  But in the end, what counted was the new level of excellence this restaurant achieved.  Likewise, Per Se – while not perfect – has raised the bar to set a higher standard of French-style cuisine in New York, a standard that I expect will be of great influence for years to come.

Maurice Graham Henry

 

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