Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Along For the Ride

Restaurant Name: Per Se
Location: New York City

Being part of a 'foodie family' is an interesting experience. My heart does not beat fast and my palms don't get sweaty with the idea of going to a potentially new, exciting restaurant. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate good food, especially well prepared, well presented fresh, and tasty food. I know what I like and don't like. But I must admit, sometimes a good meatloaf just hits the spot!
That said, it is time to consider and make comment on a recent trip to Thomas Keller's NY restaurant, Per Se. The food to be expected was amazing, very amazing, but to be honest it is difficult to justify the large price tag that goes with this amazing meal.
There were many courses, each presented the opportunity to dissect and discuss all the nuances of flavor pairings, presentation etc, etc. It made for great dinner conversation. Let's face it, that was part of the experience. In this case Thomas Keller didn't disappoint! But since this was such an over the top expensive meal and the expectations are so high, it is time to do a little nit- picking. .. just a little.
The dining area was a bit too chilly, bring a wrap if you don't want goose bumps. The chocolates served as the final course the 'Mignardises' require a bit of nit-picking also. When I'm served chocolates, I expect 'chocolate ' to be the dominant flavor, it should caresses your mouth and slide easily down your tongue. Nowadays, and Per Se is no exception, chocolatiers feel the need to try all kinds of combinations with chocolates; tarragon, mint tea, lavender,, what a shame.

Some are good, most are really bad, especially if the first explosion in your mouth is not chocolate, but pepper, or ginger or honey tyme. These combinations are interesting and ok, IF they are just a whisper on the palate. I want chocolate or carmel to stand in front, not behind.
So much for complaining about little things. When presented with a wonderful evening, almost perfect in every way it is hard to complain too much. The gracious, attentive wait staff went out of their way to make sure you felt comfortable, and that goes a long way towards making any meal seem extra special. So with that said, I salute Per Se and certainly Thomas Keller on a memorable evening.

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