For various reasons, this month's FSC turned into a congratulatory dinner with Brigham and Broek. Broek got her dream job and Per Se is the very best place in NYC to celebrate for any reason.
Yes, Per Se is one of the most expensive restaurants in the city and yes, it is completely worth it. Would I do it again? I would love to but not anytime soon. This dinner was an absolute treat and I loved being there with Broek and Brigham (click here for his very complete take on the dinner). I was amused by how much we didn't speak when the courses arrived because we were so taken back by the food.
The restaurant is in the Time Warner Center but it doesn't feel like it's in a mall. I was trying to take a picture of the flowers because they were beautiful but Brig's excitement is obvious in this picture. I know Brig will be posting about this dinner as well and I hope I'm not stealing any of his thunder. We talked a lot about this meal and the cost but how willing we were to save up for this meal because it's a rare experience. There are a couple of supplements on the menu if one chooses to pay a little bit more for the more expensive option during a course. I asked if he had already decided if he would pay the supplement and he wrote, "No, I miiiiight do one if I seriously like what I hear maybe but I need
to recognize a difference between paying the price of an airplane ticket
for my dinner and paying the price of an entire vacation." May be my favorite quote this year.
Our view outside to Columbus Circle. We could see Columbus looking south throughout the meal. I'm sad that I didn't take any pictures of Broek. She was there and as beautiful as always.
The service was impeccable. It was so well choreographed and precise. But kindness was overwhelmingly evident. As we were being shown our table, the manager asked me about my day. I told him about my trip to the podiatrist that day and I have to wear a special shoe and then stopped myself because I was oversharing. He was empathetic and offered to show us the kitchen after our meal. I was ecstatic.
Throughout the meal, the servers talked to us about the food and our experience. They were sincere and interested and it made the meal that much better.
Our courses started with an amuse bouche - hot cheese rolls. I know there is a better name for them but they are the best way to start a meal.
These are salmon in cones with crème fraîche which is the best way to eat salmon.
Our official courses started with "Oysters and Pearls" - Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters with Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar. I love good caviar.
Our first bread course was brought out which were Parker House rolls which I've been eating all my life at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thank you Mom for feeding me what Thomas Keller fed me. The six different salts were for Brigham's duck foie gras. This was one of the supplements that he splurged on. The salts ranged from fleur de sel to Jurassic salt from a cave in Utah.
Broek and I had the Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm - Compressed Summer Melons, Crispy Squash Blossoms, Piquillo Pepper Relish, Spearmint and Hass Avocado. It's gorgeous and the components worked so well with one another. I loved the spiciness of the relish with the melons.
This is Brigham's Terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras - Macerated Blackberries, Celery Branch Ribbons, Black Walnut Coulis, Toasted Oats and Tellicherry Peppercorn Aigre-Doux. It was served with brioche rolls and Brig made both of us foie gras sliders with the salt.
Our third course was Day Boat Florida Swordfish - Eckerton Hill Farm's Sungold Tomatoes, Picholine Olives, Pickled Garlic, Basil Nuage and Rouille. It was served with potato chips which was perfect. I don't typically like swordfish but it was well paired with the tomatoes.
More bread came out throughout the meal. We could have had as much as we could eat. This went for the chocolate truffles as well but more on that later. I loved the pretzel and french bread rolls.
The fourth course is one I can't stop thinking about. I don't like lobster. But I do like this dish - Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster - Mangalitsa Lardo, Ragout of Greenmarket Beans, Parmesan Crisp, Pea Tendrils and Mousseline de Crustaces. Put lardo on my lobster every time and I will love it.
Brig and I had the Epaule de Lapin - Spatzle, Savoy Cabbage Puree, Tokyo Turnips and Whole Grain Mustard Jus. We had the rabbit. It was the best rabbit I've ever had.
Broek ate the Herb Roasted Thomas Farm's Squab - Garden State Sweet Corn, Poached Bing Cherries, Braised Swiss Chard and Sauce Perigoudine. We were all oohing and ahhing over the plate.
Our sixth course was Rib-Eye of Marcho Farms' Nature Fed Veal - Fork Crushed Globe Artichokes, Lobster Mushrooms, Fairy Tale Eggplant and Sauce Gremolata. The meat was sous vide and so very tender. I was feeling so full at this point but we still had three courses.
Our cheese course was Pyrenees Brebis - Peach Membrillo, Belgian Endive, Marcona Almond Tuile, Garden Mache and Aged Balsamic Vinegar. This is a mild, creamy cheese paired really well with the fruit and vinegar.
It was around 8:30 at this point (we arrived at 5:30) and the fire started.
Our dessert was brought out and shown to us before it was served. It's this gorgeous hazelnut cake taken from a recipe that is over 100 years old. It's perfection but more on that later.
We skipped the green tea ice cream on our menu and asked for the Gooseberry Ice Cream offered on the vegetable tasting menu. This gooseberry ice cream has me craving the fruit everyday since the meal.
And this is the famous cake, Gateau Marjolaine De Fernand Point - Glace Vanille-Chocolat. It has layers of vanilla, chocolate, cake and hazelnuts. It has the perfect balance between sweetness and salt. It's like the best chocolate chip cookie I've ever eaten.
I was done at this point but the desserts kept coming.
You can see Brig taking a picture as well. I don't even remember the flavor of these truffles but they were good.
And this plate was full of truffles - 6 to 7 different varieties and we picked through them. My favorite was this cinnamon truffle.
And for the finale, this was brought out with fudge on the top level (white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate), macaroons in the middle (lemonade and passion fruit) and more truffles on the bottom (root beer and lemonade). The bowl was full of chocolate covered hazelnuts. We were also given a bag of more caramels, divinity and chocolates to enjoy at home. If we would have asked for more of any of this, they would have brought it out. We were overwhelmed with food at this point.
This is when we toured the kitchen. It's a beautiful space. We saw the live feed from the kitchen of French Laundry in CA. We met the pastry chef and complemented him on the hazelnut cake. It was a once in a lifetime experience.