Perfection? PER SE, Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant overlooking Central Park has been drawing the moneyed and gastronomic élite in droves for a reason. Perfection may be it. Recently named the Sixth Best Restaurant In The World and the Best Restaurant In North America, gastronomes globally have given a nod to the near perfect execution and flavour experience Thomas Keller offers at PER SE. As stated in its mission statement, PER SE is an urban interpretation of The French Laundry, Keller’s California restaurant long-touted as the finest in the United States. So, the accolades really come as no surprise. Nor does Keller’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Faultless delivery and relentless scrutiny of each dish ensures that the daily-changing menu never grows flaccid or stale. The service, wine list and quiet luxury of the space is impeccable and deeply considered, as is the remarkable food. In the end, all the marvelous views, plush pews, sharply tailored wait staff, blue-aproned kitchen staff, roaring fireplaces and foxtail lilies mean nothing unless the food comes through with flying colours. And it does, in a big way.
The nine-course vegetable tasting features such sublime creations as Armando Manni Olive Oil “Royale”, a vivacious blend of pale green almonds, tender herbs and Meyer lemon “aigre -doux.” Other vegetable delights include a Green Tomato Sherbet served with a pumpernickel tea sandwich, and Austrian White Asparagus Veronique. The brilliant nine-course chef’s tasting includes the famous Oysters and Pearls (one of the mercurial menu’s mainstays), and Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster, a dish that should be served in Heaven if it isn’t.
Designer Adam Tihany has moodily toned the main dining room in muted gray and browns. There’s also a salon, bar, wine cellar, and a private room for 10 and another that accommodates 60 people. The wait staff wear stiff dark suits and Armani ties, and perform as silently as mimes. There’s nothing reticent about the food, however, which is beautiful, elegant and polyglot. That said, the Coffee and Doughnuts (when listed) are loud and proud.
PER SE 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 (212) 823-9335 (We suggest you book at least 2 months in advance)
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