you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sublime Per Se

About a month ago during my trip back to the North East in the USA I had a chance to go to a few fantastic restaurants. One of them was Thomas Keller's gorgeous spot on Columbus circle. Per Se.

Keller is extremely famous. Creator of one of the world's best restaurants in California, The French Laundry, Keller has consistently produced some of the most amazing and delicious food that the culinary world has ever seen.

Per Se was amazing. The food was stellar. Keller's approach was so different. Not in crazy exotic ingredients, or in tricks and gimmicks. His gift is to make fantastic combinations where every element on the plate works together but maintains it's own glorious identity.

One difference I noticed is that many chef's create a main dish and then add things to the plate that support and draw attention to that main item. That is a perfectly wonderful approach. Think of it as main actors and supporting roles that add to and highlight the main character's role. That is NOT the way things work at Per Se. Each dish is like an ensemble cast, each ingredient plays it's own special role, and together a taste profile develops on the plate that is new, creative, and unique.

It is quite something.

The decor at Per Se was nice, not phenomenal. And the service was very good but not the best I had on this trip. However the food was amazing, and at the end of the day that is why I went there. I wish Keller had chosen a more modest address- more to his roots of making his first home in Yonteville ca. rather than right in the middle of a trendy neighborhood. I think his address in NYC makes it necessary to over charge for his course menus. Per Se is significantly more expensive than the other famous chef-restaurants in NYC. I believe food pilgrims would have come to find him anywhere in the city so It would have been nice if he had chosen something a bit more interesting in locations that would have been a bit less pricey. With Jean George just across the street it felt a little like keeping up with the jones's.

It was an incredible meal, and there are several taste elements that I can remember a month later as if I had just tasted today. wonderful.

Trivia note, Thomas Keller was the food adviser for the Pixar fill Ratatouille. He helped the animators understand how things work in a kitchen and on a plate and for restaurant professionals around the world the truth of those aspects of the film was a delightful surprise.

PS. the Christmas tree at Per Se was totally gorgeous!

1 comment:

Miki said...

looks fab!