Spain

Arzak, Spain (***)

3 Michelin Stars

8th in the World

Enter Arzak, and meet Elena Arzak, who was very friendly and had a fairly good command of English.

Rice Vinegar with mussel

Our first amuse bouche. Mussel was very meaty and fresh, nicely cooked as well. Rice vinegar on the other hand, threw the whole thing off. Very very acidic and it had an unpleasant aftertaste. Bad

Crispy Fish Paste

This was surprisingly good. Consistency was much more delicate than Chinese fish cake, and flavours were more intense as well. Very crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Good

Lotus root with fish mousse.
Choritzo in tempura with tamarind.
Ball of mushroom with dust of corn.

Amuse bouche platter from outer space. A re-occuring play on textures. Soft interior and crisp exterior. The Lotus root was good, the rest were okay.

Figs with Foie.

Foie gras stuffed into a fig, sprinkled with sugar and then caramelized. The best dish of the night, by far. Flavours worked to well together. The sweetness of a fig and sugar complimented the creamy, unctuous foie gras that melted on your tongue, while the fig provided a little more bite. Delicious, and the server mentioned that the individual pulp sacs or orange and pomelo on the plate were obtained by freezing the fruit in liquid nitrogen and smashing it. Plucking each sac manually would require too much effort and time. Superb

Potatos, Lobster, and copaiba.

Potato was in the form of a crisp, lobster was nicely cooked but fairly underseasoned. Overall the dish didnt work, it was really a goopy mess of a dish. Very Bad

Egg with earthquake of soil

Poached egg with fried breadcrumbs and truffle shavings. This sounds like something I should like, it really does. But the fried breadcrumbs has soaked up so much oil, the dish became incredibly heavy to eat. The truffle, however, was very aromatic(Yes I do think truffle is aromatic and I would wear truffle cologne if they made it, and on that note, I would also like to smell like ham), and the egg was perfectly cooked. Okay

Monkfish with dehydrated bronzed onion.

Monkfish was nicely cooked and well seasoned. But the goopy sauces strewn all over the plate killed the fish completely. They were completely tasteless and didn’t seem to serve any purpose to the dish apart from aesthetic reasons. And Bronzed onion? Okay, I admit this caused quite a buzz at the table and some of us were actually wondering if this was edible, with the amount of bronze coloring applied on it. But all it tasted like, was an onion, thrown into an oven and roasted till dry. It tasted good, but was it necessary? Bad

Bonito in bonfire of scales and chives.

This was actually seared tuna, I can’t remember what the sauces were. But the sauce on the plate had good flavour and seasoning. Okay

Pigeon with Potatos, spherified potatoes, and spherified Balsamic vinegar.

So much of this meal was spent trying to figure out wtf we were eating. And this was a dish that exemplified that sentiment. Lets start with the tangible food. The pigeon was nicely seasoned and had a nice char on its exterior, it wasnt the most tender of meats, but pigeon is a game-y meat and expectations have to be realistic. Potato(The real potato) was actually very good. Very well seasoned, and had some nice heat to it.  Spherified potato was straight out weird. It tasted like the equivalent of cooking potatoes in a pot of water to obtain potato soup, then throwing in salt, sodium alginate, then spherifying, which is actually probably how they did it; it doesn’t sound that appetizing, because it wasnt. And finally, the spherified balsamic vinegar. Which actually makes sense, and has been done before in “molecular gastro” salads. But was the metallic colouring really necessary? It seemed to take away from the quality of the balsamic used, and they did use a good quality aged balsamic. Okay

Lamb with seaweed cake

Lamb was once again nicely cooked. There was a slab of butter on the lamb that already melted by the time the photo was taken, that added a richness to the already unctuous lamb. The seaweed cake was very good, slightly chewy but it had such a strong seaweed flavour without overpowering the tate of the lamb. Good

Cant Remember anything about this

Soup and chocolate between vineyards
Basil ice cream, watermelon soup, and pure liquid “goopy chocolate”. I was struggling quite badly through this dish. I love the individual flavour components. Watermelon is my favourite fruit, I love fresh basil in sauces and pastas, and chocolate, well, who doesn’t love chocolate. But this dish didn’t work when all these were combined together. The watermelon was probably the best part of the dish, the basil did not work with the chocolate, and the chocolate had the consistency of spherified melted chocolate, but they were way too big and it was a struggle when thick, heavy chocolate exploded with a single bite. Very bad

“roasted peach with sugar flowers”

The peach was very fresh, succulent, and had a nice bite to it. The rest of the dish tasted like simple syrup. Okay

Yogurt sponge cake

Even the desserts look like they come from space. The yoghurt sponge cake had good flavour but was completely undone by its consistency. Very starchy and dense, it was closer to bread than it was to a sponge cake. Bad

Moon Rocks

The dubious sounding dish was actually Orange flavoured creme, frozen on the outside(liquid nitro?), while still having a liquid center. The change in textures was very interesting, and it had a pleasant orange aftertaste. Good

Leave and meet Juan Marie Arzak, who is as eccentric as the meal we just had.

This was for me, a confusing and frustrating meal. Not at all what I would expect from a three Michelin starred restaurant, and one of the best restaurants in Spain. The food was at times so experimental and pre-mature, that we felt that we were guinea pigs for the restaurant. Much of the meat was well cooked, but it was often taken a step back by a component of a flavour profile that didnt need to be on the plate. It was the most disappointing meal of our Spain trip.

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Spain

Mugaritz, Spain (**)

2 Michelin Stars

4th in the World

Getting to Mugaritz isnt easy, the roads are winding, and a GPS would have a hard time pinpointing its exact location. But as you near the restaurant, there are signs that let you know you are getting close, and they are an indication of good, good things to come.

First thing that strikes you about Mugaritz is how beautiful it is. The lush countryside surrounding it, the garden that Mugaritz uses to grow some of its own herbs, fruits, and vegatables, and the outdoor sitting area where diners can relax before their meal. It sets the mood for a relaxed atmosphere, a high end meal in a non pretentious setting.

Snacks: Rocks with Garlic Mayo

A dish synonymous with Mugaritz, “Rocks” are actually potatos baked in an edible clay shell.  To complete the illusion, there are actual rocks at the bottom of the dish. They dont look to much like their inedible counterparts to be honest, but the amount of detail on the rocks is amazing. Taste wise, it was disappointing, the clay shell cracked(crumbled?) the moment you bit into it, and left your mouth with a very unpleasant powdery residue. It was almost impossible to eat without the garlic mayo. Bad

Just in case you didn’t believe that this was actually a potato.

The interior of Mugaritz is just as beautiful as it’s garden right outside. It was very inviting and the rustic furniture really fit into the setting of the restaurant.

Enter the kitchen to meet Andoni Luiz Aduriz, head chef of Mugaritz. He doesnt speak English but he is very friendly. Kitchen is surprisingly small.

Amuse Bouche:Cucumber with cucumber water.

I didnt really like the “clean-ness” of the dish, it was like drinking cucumber soaked water. Bad

Amuse Bouche: Grilled squid with almond paste. A little too chewy, and I wasnt sure about the combination of flavors. Okay.

Bacalao(Salted codfish) cheek meat, covered wit gelatinous bacalao jaw, served with an acacia honey emulsion.

The fish meat was not too salty, which is the experience i usually get when eating bacalao, it was silky smooth on that pillow of Bacalao jaw meat. The saltiness was cut perfectly with the honey emulsion. It was such a delicate piece of meat, but with strong flavors that amalgamate with one another perfectly. One of the best things Ive ever eaten

Roasted tomato salad and its own cool water.

The tomato was soaked in calcium water which made it so sweet it tasted like raisins, a taste experience that throws your tastebuds on wild journey, and on the right is a tomato sorbet which was so intense i couldnt finish it, I’m not a fan of tomatos, but the dish was good.

Ravioli with crab and fresh walnuts, in a clear, citrus scented consomme.

Ravioli was somewhat bland. The consomme, and therefore the dish, was overpowered by the citrus taste. Bad

Carpaccio accompanied by a sweet and sour dressing, topped with idiazabal cheese and vegetable spinters

Everything about it tells you its a regular beef carpaccio. Except that its not, its made from watermelon, dehydrated then grilled. It was amazing that even the consistency of the watermelon was similar to that of beef (Meaty and could be torn apart, apparently this texture can be obtained by sous-videing watermelon ). The cheese brought the dish to life, delicious, quirky, fun, and beautiful. Very good

Buttery Idiazabal cheese gnocci in salted iberian pork boullion.

Literally a melt in your mouth experience, the cheese flavor was subtle and never overpowering. Each gnocci had a different herb on it, almost as it each had a personality of its own. I thought that the Iberian pork boullion would overpower the cheese, but it was actually a very clean and its flavours managed to stay in the background while the cheese took the stage. Very good

Wild Turbot, under a salted seasoning of borage stalks and reduction of the bones.

Fish was nicely cooked and well seasoned, dish was beautiful to look at, but there were scales on the fish for everyone at the table. I couldnt really get past that. Bad

A Piece of milk fed veal, roasted and perfumed with vine cutting embers, and fragments of thyme, cinders, salt and crisp radishes.

Another of Mugaritz’s infamous creations. The meat is incredibly white because it is milk fed, and it is covered with black vegetable coloring before cooking. The “vine cutting embers” are actually breadsticks.  For all the excitement I had for the dish, visually it was stunning, but it just didnt taste good. The vegetable coloring didnt taste of anything, and the veal was poorly seasoned, albeit nicely cooked. Okay

Tradition, Ocean and land: Braised Iberian Pork tails and pan fried langoustines. Reduced braising juices infused with iberian jamon.

Crispy, chewy, salty, sweet. Possibly my favourite dish of the whole trip in Spain. Black out good, intense flavors in every bite. The saltiness from the iberian pork, the gelatinous texture made the flavours coat and “stick” in your mouth so that they lingered through the entire dish. Each bite of the langoustine was a burst of delicious and sweet sweet succulence that cut the saltiness and umami explosion in your mouth.  Superb

Red Fruits with an uncooked orange leaf soup.

I was very glad this came out right after the previous dish. It was light and refreshing. The herb in the dish threw me off a little, with its strong flavours in a somewhat mellow dish. Okay

Several spoonfuls of clashing contrasts: Celery Ice Cream with Candied Celery Root and Edible Flowers.

I didn’t expect to like this, Im not a big fan of celery, but the taste was fairly mild, and it didnt have the pungent aftertaste that I associate with uncooked celery. Celery root was suprisingly delicious. Whats not to love about candied anything. Very refreshing. Good

WARM ARTISAN TABLET with whipped honey and oats

Vanilla foam with a warm “tablet” made with honey and oats, used to mimick a bar of soap and soap bubbles. The tablet was surprisingly delicious, although it was somewhat tough to bite into. Very fun dish, but hey, any restaurant that serves 3 desserts without any chocolate in sight has to have something quirky up their sleeve. Good

I have to say, though, that because of negative reviews of some of the dishes that were on the seasonal menu, I had asked that two dishes to be swapped in (The cheese gnocci and the iberian pork tails), both were superb dishes. Service was excellent, although it got a little bit sluggish towards the end. Overall, this was one of the great meals of my life. Definitely deserving of a third Michelin star in my opinion

New York

Le Bernardin, New York (***)

3 Michelin Stars

15th in the World

Amuse Bouche: Crab Ceviche
We were presented with this even before we got our menus. Ceviches just work as an amuse, light, cold, citrus-y, refreshing.
All those cheesy talkshow hosts that say “Oh I can taste the sea!” Thats bullshit. Ive tasted the sea, it tastes salty and disgusting. But the crabmeat was incredibly fresh and sweet, I could taste the freshness, dont confuse the two. Good
Very nice way to start the meal

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Raw Course 1: Black Bass
Black bass tartare mediterranean style, olives, citrus, fennel and marjoram

I knew about this dish because it is ulterior epicures No. 1 dish of 2008. Considering the food that he eats, that has to count for something. I didnt have this appitizer, but I had a bite. And from what I could tell, the black bass was one of the meatiest raw fish I have ever eaten. And I mean this in a really good way. Good

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Raw Course 2: Tuna
Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin Tuna, Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette, Shaved Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

An incredible dish to behold, and just as tasty to eat. The rich, creamy foie, combined with the light, incredibly fresh, paperthin tuna(hold your fork under the tuna and you can actually see your fork), cut by the crisp-ness of the baguette. A perfect dish. Superb

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Barely Touched 2: Soft Shell crab
Peppered Soft Shell Crab; Coconut-Avocado Mousse, Herb Salad; Lime Vinaigrette

Moving on, this was THE most juicy, succilent, fried soft shell crabs Ive eaten. Usually when I bite into soft shell crabs, frying oil explodes in my mouth.

This was not the case here, the crab was incredibly meaty and juicy. Very good, albiet a somewhat heavy dish. Okay

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Barely Touched 1: LOBSTER
Warm Lobster Carpaccio; Heart of Palm; Orange Vinaigrette

Hands down, the sweetest lobster meat I have ever tasted. Thats all I wanted to say about this. Good

Lightly Cooked 2:BLACK BASS
Crispy Black Bass; Braised Celery and Parsnip Custard; Iberico Ham-Green Peppercorn Sauce

I can sum this sum this up very quickly: A perfectly cooked piece of fish, lying in a very “ham-my” sauce.

Fish had perfectly crisped skin, meat was incredibly soft. And the sauce… Sure, iberico ham is the best ham in the world, but its always a nice surprise to be reminded of how rich and intense its flavors are. Good

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Lightly Cooked 1: WILD STRIPED BASS – LANGOUSTINE
Baked Langoustine and Striped Bass; Confit Tomato Agnolotti; Bouillabaisse Consommé and Curry Emulsion

Baked Langoustine was fresh, plump, and very juicy. Striped bass succulent and well cooked, and the Bouillabaisse “had the right amount of fishiness”(not my words), and complimented both meats well, a very tasty way to cleanse the palate. The curry emulsion, however, did not taste like curry. Good

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Dessert 1: CHOCOLATE-PEANUT
Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Caramel Tart; Meyer Lemon Purée, Peanut Powder, Praline-Citrus Sorbet

I honestly dont remember much about it, apart from it being very sweet, the praline citrus sorbet was very tart and cut the richness of the dessert well, but it was a forgettable dessert. Okay

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Dessert 2: The Egg
Milk chocolate pot de creme, caramel sauce, caramel foam, and sea salt

This dessert is off the menu, but if you ever go to Le Bernardin, ASK FOR IT. Its not a light dessert, chocolate and cream will fill you up really fast. But trust me, it is well worth it. There are not many things that are as decadent, or as sinful, presented in such an innocent looking manner. But this, is well worth your calories. Very Good

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Petit fours

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Overall, it was a good meal. Eric Ripert does handle his seafood very well, everything was perfectly cooked, flavors were on point. But there was something lacking about the meal, it might be the very posh interior, or maybe it was the waiter with his thick french accent, but overall the food felt like it was the end product of a process that had been repeated over and over, it somehow lacked that extra oomph that makes a meal truly memorable.

New York

Per Se, New York (***)

3 Michelin Stars

Voted best restaurant in America 2009

I havent been blogging for a long time, and I’ve been putting this off because I know this is going to be a long post, but Per Se really deserves a writeup, plus I just finished a midterm and I dont have much to do. So, first of all…

Getting there… 2 steps: Book as far in advance as possible, Per Se accepts reservations as far as 2 months in advance, and thats exactly when I called the restaurant, and the time slot they gave me was 5.45pm on a Monday. Funny, actually it’s hard to tell that America is in a recession, but oh well, good things come to those who…… compromise? And of course, the second step would be a plane ticket to New York. I should also mention that when you put down a reservation, they take your credit card information, because if you do not cancel within 72 hours of your reservation, you are automatically charged $175 per head.

Per Se restaurant is owned by Thomas Keller, whose flagship restaurant is the French Laundry in Napa Valley, California. Both restaurants currently have 3 Michelin stars, and Keller is currently the only chef in America who holds that accolade.

Per Se is located at the top floor of the Time Warner building, a busy, modern shopping mall. Such was the surprise when I called the restaurant to ask for the easiest way to get to the restaurant from the mall. “Take the elevator up to the fourth floor, turn right, and you will see a garden witha  big blue door.” What? A garden, on the top floor, in a shoppingmall? To mimick the French Laundry, there is an artificial garden right outside of per se, which ironically, has real plants in it. The entrance to Per Se is a big blue door, a replica of the entrance to the French Laundry. Alas, more irony, the big blue door at Per Se doesnt actually open. But right from the beginning, you get the feel that although Per Se and the French Laundry are on opposite ends of America, they are both very much the same, and this would come up later in the meal.

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Through the sliding glass doors to the side of the big blue door, you are greeted by a sleek wall with a “Per Se” logo on it, a reminder that you are not in the vineyards of California, you are in New York. (Im making this stuff up)

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You are immediately greeted and your bags are taken(Dont worry if you want to carry any bags in, they bring you a stool for any bags you may have). Then you are led to the dining room. The tables next to the window have a great view overlooking central park, but we were given a cosy L-shaped booth seat.

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Then we were presented with a menu, where you have 2 choices, a 9 course chefs tasting menu, or a 9 course vegetable tasting menu(Both $275). We both chose the former. Then we start with the food:

Amuse Bouche 1: Gruyère Gougères

A lighter than air puff filled with creamy cheese that had a hint of sweetness. Dissappeared as quickly as it came. Salty-sweet goodness. Okay

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Amuse Bouche 2: Salmon Coronets – Black Sesame Tuile, Sweetbread Crème Fraîche

Lovely saltiness from the salmon that lingered on the mouth, salmon had a very strong flavor. Sweetness of the Sesame tuile came through right after, and tasted good with the sweetbread creme fraiche. Light and lovely way to start the meal. Good

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We were then presented with a tiny spoon, I asked the server what it was made of and I was told it was Mother of Pearl. When you are presented with cutlery like that, you know good things are coming.

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Chefs Tasting Menu 01: “Oysters and Pearls” – “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar

And it was good. Very good. In fact, this is one of the best things Ive ever tasted, 2 perfect(perfect), warm oysters that imparted a delicious smoky combination of flavors, a orgasm in the mouth. An Oysgasm. It was topped with caviar, served atop a sabayon so rich and decadent I’ve heard it described as “a buttery mayonnaise”. And it didn’t disappoint. A taste that I will never forget. Superb

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Chefs Tasting Menu 02: “Salad of compressed Summer Melons” – Fennel Bulb “Batons”, Pickled Holland Peppers, Watercress leaves and Nasturium Caper dressing with aged balsamic sorbet

When I first entered the restaurant, I told the server to inform be if anything was cooked sous vide, because I was interested in the technique. He told me that the vegetable and the melon components in this dish were vacuum packed sous vide(not cooked though) to impart new consistencies and flavors.

The Sorbet was made using a 40-year old aged balsamic vinegar that added a nice refreshing component to the dish. Melon was fresh and sweet. But the picked holland peppers left a very acidic taste in my mouth that lingered.

My least favourite dish of the night. Bad

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We were then presented with 2 Kinds of butter: A sweet butter made by the Straus Family Creamery in California, and a Salted butter made by fleur de sel from Vermont, exclusively for Thomas Keller(Salted butter was better, better butter, ha). Why was this served? To be eaten… With a single soft roll. Not just any soft roll. The best soft roll I have ever eaten.

Yeast in bread form doesnt usually get me excited. But dont be fooled by the picture. This was the epitome of a soft roll. Crisp on the outside, but one pull and a silky soft, warm interior is revealed. Amazingly good.

I also took a sourdough bread, and a Pretzel stick(very good) from bread service

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Chefs Tasting Menu 03: “Herb Roasted Fillet of Chatham Bay Cod”
Squash Blossom “Croustillant”, Toybox tomatoes, garlic scrapes, and creamed pea tendrils with nicoise olive oil

The cod was prepared to look like a scallop, a nice and playful illusion. Cod was well cooked, meat was soft but had a good bite, although a little under-seasoned . And Garlic scapes(The flower stem produced by the garlic plant) were incredibly sweet. Very well executed dish. Okay

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Chefs Tasting Menu 04: “Pan Seared Day Boat Sea Scallop”  “Nuage de Chou-Fleur”, La Ratte potatoes, Globe Artichokes, Bluefoot Mushrooms and Mustard Cress with pickled Mustard Seed “Ravigote”

Of course, what followed was an actual scallop. One swipe of the knife, and a perfectly cooked scallop is revealed. Crisp skin on the outside, Lightly cooked on the inside which left a somewhat chewy but delicious core. Pickled mustard seed sauce was sweet-salty, and provided a mild spicy kick. My favourite main of the night. Good

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Chefs Tasting Menu 05: “All Day Braised Meili Farm’s Pork Shoulder”
Ragout of Brentwood Corn Kernels and Rainbow Swiss Chard with shaved Summer Truffles

I hate to say this, but the first thing I ate of this dish was the corn. And it’s the only thing I remember about this dish- the corn kernels. Easily the best corn I have ever taste. It has a unbelieveable crunch and sweetness to them. The pork, well, it was good. truffles dont really do much for me. But the corn… Okay

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Chefs Tasting Menu 06: “Snake River Farms Calotte De Boeuf Grillee”
French Breakfast Radishes, Lemon Cucumbers and Glazed Greenmarket Carrots with “Vinaigrette Bordelaise”

Buttery beef fat the moment you start chewing, and the perfect red wine sauce to compliment it. Whats not to love. Good_DSC3403-as-Smart-Object-1

Chefs Tasting Menu 07: “Catskill”
Toasted Pine Nuts, Belgian Endive, Thompson grapes, and Cilantro Shoots with Cilantro syrup

Cheese course.Very creamy and soft, but the richness is very nicely cut by the grapes. I was asking about the cheese and the server told me that the dish is named ‘Catskill’, after the location the cheese is shipped in from. He was talking about how the French Laundry uses the freshest ingredients because they have a garden right outside the restaurant, and Per Se does not have similar privilleges; I then proceeded to say, “Oh, well you guys beat them this year.” The server looked at me in horror and immediately took a step back and said, “well, we are a family”. So much for friendly competition. Good

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Chefs Tasting Menu 08: “Blueberry Sorbet”
Blueberry “flapjack” with madagascar vanilla fudge and blueberry crisp

Hands down the best sorbet I have ever eaten. My friend turned to me and said “You can taste the earth that the blueberry plant grew in”. Im not that crazy, but I knew what she meant, you could taste every blueberry that went into the sorbet. This is what sorbets should taste like. Very Good

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We were then served 2 different desserts each

Chefs Tasting Menu 09a: “Mud Pie”
Dark chocolate mud cake, Liquid Caramel, Chocolate “Cremeux” and Caramel Parfait with Sassafras Ice cream

Chefs Tasting Menu 09b: “Peaches and Cream”
Rose-Scented Frog Hollow Farm’s Peaches, Mascarpone Mousse, and Sugar Wafers with peach Vacherin

I was unfortunately served Peaches and Cream, a good but somewhat boring dessert. Multiple individual tiny components laid out on the plate- peaches done several ways, but whether you eat everything seperately or combined, it never popped. Bad

The mud pie, on the other hand, was delicious. I only got 2 bites, but the liquid caramel center defied all logic and was actually not too sweet and never overpowered the dark chocolate, a superb balance between both ingredients, very well executed. Good

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This was the end of the 9 course tasting menu, the rest of the dishes were mignardises. And the next dish served was a

Creme Brulee

Not sure if a creme brulee can be considered a mignardise, per se (hahahaaa). But it didnt matter, Im very glad I got this. Perfectly burnt sugar atop one of the lightest custards Ive ever tasted. It was rich in flavor but somehow it never ever bloated me up like most creme brulees do. Good

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More mignardises: Petit fours, Caramel Sweets, Almond Nougat, Chocolate truffles, sweets, chocolate covered hazelnuts

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At this point. We were pretty much done with our meal, but I had read about a dessert and I assumed that it was going to served to us some point during the meal, but it never was. So I asked about it, the server immediately told us he could put in a special request to the kitchen, it would just take 10 minutes. And 10 minutes later, we were served…

Coffee and Donuts

I am very glad I asked for this, and bear in mind that at this point my belly was on the verge of blowing up, thats saying alot. This was a perfect donut,perfect. It was perfectly fried, very very moist on the inside. It almost had a cake-like consistency, it was that soft, covered in sugar and cinnamon. Unfortunately, the “coffee” was actually a Cappuccino Semifreddo, and I was not ready for more ice cream. Nevertheless, it seemed rude not to finish, and I eventually did. Happy but very bloated end to the meal. Very Good

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Then I was presented with the bill

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After which, we were asked if we would like a tour of the kitchen. Of course, we agreed. The server told us that the Maitre d’ would come around and show us the way to the kitchen. This was right in the middle of service, and the Maitre d’ was somewhat rushing us, but he pointed out several important sections of the kitchen.

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He pointed to a large television screen at the top right hand corner of the photo, and told us that it was hooked up to a live feed at theFrench Laundry in California, and the French Laundry had the same thing for Per Se. I asked if this was so that Thomas Keller could keep an eye on Per Se, and the Maitre d’ quickly reiterated once again that Per Se and the French Laundry are a family. Is noone that works at Per Se secretly happy that they overtook the French Laundry? Is noone going to cave in and admit it?

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Finesse: Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship._DSC3435-as-Smart-Object-1

Its  not easy to sum up a meal at Per Se. Its more of a dining experience than a meal. The food is excellent; yes, not every dish is a winner, but you leave knowing you have been fed well.

The service is by far the best I have ever received. Every server was knowledgeable about the food, the ingredients, and how it was all prepared; not to mention attentive and very friendly. Did I also mention that if, for whatever reason you are left alone at the table, a server immediately approaches you to strike up conversation. While we were having dinner there was a lone diner who constantly had at least one server chatting with him while he was waiting for the next course, and trust me, he was in the restaurant for over 3 hours. Service is very personalized, and they are very accomodating to special requests(I requested the menu to be printed without prices, and I ended up taking back the menu, signed by the head chef)

Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion, or you simply have too much money to spare, Per Se is definitely worth a visit. Just remember to book early

Per Se Restaurant

http://www.perseny.com/

(212) 823-9335