Per Se, New York

Ever since Per Se opened, I had longed to go there but I never did. It seemed a little intimidating and frankly I wasn’t sure my palette would appreciate the food. After training my palette over the last few years at places like Gary Danko, 11 Madison, Gramercy Tavern and many others I was finally up for the challenge. Oh, yes, and an invitation made the difference to get me there. Without the invitation I probably would have still been waiting to go (THANK YOU!).

The anticipation had been building for days and I was a little worried that it may not live up to my considerable expectations and imagination. What a shame it would have been if my expectations, not reality spoilt the experience! Well, I’m happy to report that it was quite simply the best meal I have ever eaten and the whole experience was pure perfection.

The first thing that struck me as we walked in was the beautiful simplicity & classiness of the restaurant. The restaurant is furnished in a nice, spacious, bright, simple contemporary style in earth tomes with an amazing view overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. There are only about 16 tables and they are nicely spaced apart so you don’t feel like you’re having dinner with the diners on the tables next to you. Though I did manage to chat with the young ladies on the table next to me. Perfect!

Service was perfect too. Every single staff member from the moment you walk in is so welcoming and friendly. I had expected an aloofness and seriousness, but no – the staff are friendly and just smiling all the time. Anything you ask for is taken care of. It made me feel like they really cared about my pleasure. A special call out has to go to Andrew who assisted us with dinner. The best description for him is “dining consultant”. He navigated us through the tasting menu and helped us select four different wines to pair with the different courses. All fabulous choices. He was friendly, a good conversationalist and throughout dinner he was close enough to tend to our needs. He really added to the experience.

The star of the show is most definately the food. Every course, and we had 9, was consistently good. From the first course of caviar and oysters follwed by the best foie gras I have eaten to the fish flown in from Japan (by Fedex) to the veal heart and tongue (don’t knock it – amazing!) to the mud pie, it was all to die for. Everything had it’s own distinctive flavor profile but it all seemed to fit together so well. Nothing clashed. I don’t think my mouth and brain have had so many food ecstasies in a three hour period, ever! The amazing thing is that after dinner, you feel completely satisfied but feel like you’ve eaten just enough and not a bite too much. Did I say it was perfect!

I have to mention even the restrooms. Inidividual, large, bright and clean. Do they clean them everytime after someone goes in? Won’t be forgetting them in a hurry!

So now that I’ve experienced what I consider perfection where do I go from here? Maybe a culinary tour of Michelin 3 star restaurants. That may be too expensive a habit but definately fun!

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