REVIEW #1

Per Se

There is perhaps no other Manhattan restaurant in recent memory that has generated more anticipation prior to its opening than Per Se. In 2001, it was announced that Thomas Keller, the founder and chef of The French Laundry in Yountville, California, which was widely considered the best restaurant in the United States, would open a New York City counterpart in the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. 

Does the restaurant live up to the hype? In a word, yes. And Keller is now the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants. 

What strikes one most upon dining at Per Se is the sheer scale of the ambition. No area is left untouched in the restaurant’s quest to offer the perfect dining experience. On the fourth floor with large panoramic windows, the restaurant’s view creates a feeling of being perched on the treetops of Central Park. The modern dining room is imaginatively designed by Adam Tihany, with a working fireplace and elegant lighting. The wait staff are the best we have encountered in New York City — they are knowledgeable and flexible, adapting their formality and attentiveness to the perceived desires of the table. The French-New American food itself is brilliantly conceived, beautifully presented, and perfectly balanced. And Michel Couvreux, the sommelier, is one of the best in the business. At our very first dinner at Per Se, we expressed a preference for an aged Bordeaux with one of our meat dishes. Our sommelier entirely reconfigured the proposed pairings for that night, providing a completely customized drinking experience and sending a 1995 Léoville Barton our way. 

If it is your first time, we recommend that you select the nine-course chef’s tasting menu (rather than the vegetable tasting menu, sublime though it is) and have the sommelier pair your wines rather than purchasing individual bottles. 

Over the years, prices have steadily crept upwards, from $150 to $310 for the tasting menu. At few other restaurants would such inflation be entirely justified.

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INFORMATION

Upper West Side
10 Columbus Cir.
New York (at 60th St.)
212-823-9335
Mon-Thu, 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sun, 11:30am-1:30pm and 5:30pm-10pm
    Thomas Keller, Chef
    Eli Kaimeh, Chef de Cuisine
    Elwyn Boyles, Pastry Chef
    Michel Couvreux, Head Sommelier
    Adam Tihany, Designer

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