My love of Thomas Keller is well documented (by way of Bouchon and The French Laundry). John and I decided that this year we should complete the Keller Trifecta and go to Per Se in New York City. We were already going to be in the area in early August and the reservation was almost too easy to make. So on August 1st we headed to NYC for a date at Per Se.
Per Se is the self proclaimed “urban interpretation” of The French Laundry. This is almost immediately evident by the big blue door which is a replica of the one at TFL.
Per Se overlooks Columbus Circle – the view was spectacular.
The interior is chic, modern, sleek, and urban. It reminded me of L’Espalier a little bit. Very different than the rustic elegance vibe at The French Laundry.
The tablescape was simple but elegant. A hallmark of the Keller Trifecta.
We were served the same bread and butter as at The French Laundry. The Parker House Roll and the pretzel roll were my favorite.
Because I’m not sure if I can profess my love for Keller a third time in words I have not already said (again, see my entries on Bouchon and The French Laundry). I think I’ll just let the food porn stand on its’ own for the remainder of this post. I got the vegetable tasting menu (John got the chef’s tasting menu (read: meat)). The photos here are just of my vegetable tasting. Enjoy!
Tomato Dashi Consomme – turnip “panna cotta,” demi-sec bing cherries, and crispy ginger.
“Oil & Vinegar” – Aged balsamic sorbet, summer melon “terrine,” shaved fennel, toasted almonds, red onion rings, and Capezzana extra virgin olive oil.
Deviled Squire Hill Farm’s Hen Egg – Romaine lettuce, pickled green tomatoes, petite radishes, and black winter truffle “aigre-doux“.
Charred Eggplant “Tarte” – Fennel pollen yogurt, Persian cucumber, fairy tale eggplant, and chimichurri.
Oven Baked Summer Squash – Pole beans, nicoise olives, and greenmarket basil.
A brief respite before the main course dishes.
Mascarpone Enriched Yukon Gold Potato “Agnolotti” – Brentwood corn, pickled pearl onions, and smoked ricotta “vicchyssoise.”
Jasper Hill’s Farm Conundrum – French Laundry garden fig leaves, poached cherries, Tokyo turnips, celery salad, and pumpernickel melba.
Strawberries, champagne jelly, herbed ricotta, pine nuts (not official, wasn’t listed on my menu for some reason).
Earl grey ice cream on a butter cracker (again, not official, wasn’t listed on my menu for some reason).
Dark chocolate, orange, whipped cream (again, not official, wasn’t listed on my menu for some reason).
“Assortment of Desserts” – homemade caramels and pistachio candies, strawberry and lemon macarons, truffles, and housemade chocolates (selected exactly as they were at The French Laundry).
We were also served “Coffee and Beignets” exactly how it is prepared at The French Laundry – mini doughnuts with an espresso semifreddo.
And we were sent home with another tin full of delicious shortbread cookies.
Overall, the meal was exquisite. With such service and careful attention paid towards every single little detail. It is what I have come to know and expect of any Thomas Keller restaurant. Per Se is the perfect urban interpretation of the Keller legacy – smart, sophisticated, elegant, luxurious, abundant. I can’t say it enough – it has been a privilege to experience these impeccably charming culinary meccas.
I don’t want to pick a favorite of the Trifecta but if I had to, it would be The French Laundry. For so many reasons but it really comes down to preference. My experience there was so deeply personal – and since we all connect food to emotion, the entire experience was the most meaningful of the three to me. That said, we are going to Las Vegas for Christmas this year and will be having Christmas dinner at Bouchon. Here’s to starting the Trifecta all over again!