Thursday, October 9, 2008

Per Se - New York - "THE MEAL"

Restaurant Name: Per Se
Location: New York City

Wine 1: A Sancerre Pinot Noir Rose that perfectly complemented the amuses and first four courses.
Wine 2: a Vacqueyras Rhone red that went wonderfully with the remaining courses.

1. Tiny “Gougeres” -Filled with a warm liquid Corbier cheese – A single bite of deliciousness.
2. “Cornets” – A tuile cone of Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraice. The signature Amuse of Per Se and French Laundry.

Course 1 – “Oysters and Pearls” A Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca, Crème Fraice, heavy cream, oyster juice with Island Creek Oysters toped with a large spoonful of Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar. This is another signature dish and simply wonderful.

Course 2
Option 1: “Salad of Heirloom Radishes” - A beautiful and delicious composed salad of “compressed” Asian pears, pickled heirloom radishes, pea tendrils, in a ginger “Aigre-Doux” dressing.
Option 2: “Gateau of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras” – A Foie Gras mousse terrine topped with a Blis Maple gelee served with Oregon Huckleberries, celery branch, and warm toasted Brioche. A beautiful, buttery terrine and they even quickly changed out the Warm Brioche after a few moments so that we would have warm toast throughout the course.

Rolls with Artisanal Butters - The butters were a sweet cream from a small artisanal farm in California and a sea-salted butter from St. Clair Farm in Vermont served with a selection of small rolls, baguettes, breads, all complex, excellent, and described in detail by the attentive server staff.

Course 3 – “Herb Roasted Fillet of Sablefish” - Served with artisanal Benton’s Smokehouse Bacon over sautéed Romaine Lettuce, pickled shallots with a fabulous Crème Fraice Horseradish Cream. Perhaps, and surprisingly, the best course of the dinner.

Course 4 – “Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster Tail” - with Caramelized Cipollini Onion. This was the one course that wasn’t completely perfect as the baby lobster tail meat was very slightly chewy – as is very easy to happen with Lobster. It was great - just not perfect. I guess that is a statement on the overall quality of the meal that we would all notice any imperfections.

Course 5 - “Liberty Farms Pekin Duck Breast” – A round, pink piece wrapped in Swiss Chard leaves on a great polenta cream. This was a perfect taste and presentation of Duck Breast.

Course 6 – “Elysian Fields Farms Carre D’Agneau Roti Entier” - Served with a small “salad” of artichoke heart, fennel root batons, marinated Bluefoot Mushrooms with a lamb sauce. A garnish of “Lamb Bacon” was presented which was in house made by carefully frenching the lamb chop of the meat and fat into a slice of “bacon” that was smoked and cured into pieces of bacon. WOW!

Course 7 – “Cobb Hills Farm Ascutney Mountain” - A cheese course with a sunchoke relish, candied pine nuts, and cilantro shoots.

Course 8 – “Red Verjus Sorbet” - With a Grape Tuile and Sicilian Pistachios

Course “Dessert” – 3 different choices by the Foodie Family
1. “Peanut Butter and Milk” a layered gateau of salted peanut cream, chocolate ganache, served with a reduction of milk ice cream.
2. “Pomme-Berre Noisette” a Confiture of Granny Smith Apple, Financier, and Tahitian Vanilla Bavarois with a brown butter ice cream.
3. “Black Currant Cobbler” with an artisanal Buttermilk Sorbet.

“Mignardises” – Essentially 3 more courses of desserts with coffee.
1. Choice of Cream Brule or a fabulous “plain’ Yogurt Panna Cotta over a Huckleberry layer.
2. A large bowl for the table of cocoa/chocolate covered hazelnuts, butterscotch candies, hard candies, nougats, and an assortment of truffles coconut, caramel, and dark chocolate.
3. A tasting of your choices from an assortment of in-house made chocolates with fillings like, thyme, caramel, ginger, white chocolate covered cherry, Raspberry ….

As my other team members have told you in detail every aspect of the 4 hour experience was perfectly executed. The ambiance, service, attitude, food, and wine all meshed to insure that each of us was supremely happy. We were served by no fewer than 10 different people – each proud of whatever they were doing and describing. We also got a detailed Kitchen tour after the meal – for a 17 table restaurant there were no fewer than 20 intensely focused chefs in the kitchen. Finally we got to meet and talk to an extremely gracious Thomas Keller who was in the kitchen the entire evening – This is a celebrity CHEF and my personal cooking Yoda of many years. It doesn’t get any better than this. See my other upcoming Blog on “Thomas and Me” to understand where I am coming from. $1500 for 4 people and well worth it.

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