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Archive for October, 2007

!!!PER SE!!!

My friend and I went to Per Se in celebrating of her birthday for a veryyyy expensive lunch.  And our consensus?  It was AWESOME.  I’d have to say that it was probably the most amazing experience I’ve ever had at a 5 star restaurant.  Not only was the food gastronomically spell-binding, but the two guys who worked our table were so entertaining.  There are probably more pictures than words, but I’m sure that doesn’t bother anyone.  If you’ve got $250 burning a hole in your pocket, dial as fast as you can to make a reservation at Per Se.  They’re always changing their menus [everyday I believe, and I’m guessing they recycle their dishes?] so I’m already wanting to go back again.  =X  My birthday is next month… hmmm…  =X

So first, here are a bunch of pictures of the actual place.  All very chic and minimalist, save for the tons of green in thee faux garden area before you get inside.

per se, outside 2
cute fake garden, eh?  nice photo op 😉

entryway
main hallway 

entryway
entryway to the main dining room

The menu was so comprehensive.  They had something for everyone.  At the end of the meal, it was like a transition into a dessert tasting.  They also have this really delicious beer [I swear he said beer] bread.  It didn’t taste like beer, and I just can’t describe it.. it’s like your typical baguette type bread- crunchy on the outside and soft on this inside.. but better.. and more flavorful yet not overbearing. 

Also, note the vibrant colors of the food.  Don’t they all just scream “eat me!” ?

Note that half courses aren’t included in the menu and the negative courses are the amuse bouches [or so I take them to be].  

Course -1:  Pão de Queijo.  Brazilian Cheese balls.  They’re like warm cheese puffs with ooey gooey warm cheese centers that melts in your mouth.  I usually encounter these at the churrascarias, where I can’t allow myself to eat too many of them because I have to save my stomach for the unending skewers of meat. 

cheese balls

Course -2: Salmon cones.  It’s salmon tartare in a pylo cone with creme fraiche.  The creme fraiche is stuck in the bottom, so you kind of have to try to eat the whole thing together in order to get the full experience, or you’re just going to end up with a lot of creme fraiche an cone- no salmon.

salmon cones

Course 1:  Cauliflower “Panna Cotta” – w/ Island Greek Oyster Glaze and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar.  I like eating caviar only because of the mother of pearl spoons I get to use.  It’s so fancy and girly.  The cauliflower threw me off in name, but wasn’t too bad in practice.  It was just like lightly flavored pudding with yummy salty caviar on top.  Caviar has such a distinct salty and fishy taste, that I’m glad is only offered in small portions because I definitely cannot eat a whole can of it [much less afford to buy one].

caviar

Course 1 1/2:  From the best of my recollection, this was fluke or some type of fish with caviar and a piece of grapefruit.  The grapefuit was sweet and complimented the fish well.  

sashimisashimi
Their platings are all very elaborate.  This is just one example. 

Course 2: Salad of Marinated Abalone Mushroom – Slow baked heirloom beets, grilled young red onion and garden mache with pickled shallot gastrique. 

abalone

Course 2a: “Peach Melba” – terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard duck foie gras, marinated Frog Hollow Farm’s peaches, peach jelly, red onion, cilantro shoots, “melba toast” and puffed carolina rice.  It was $30 extra for this slab of foie gras that my friend ordered, and I’m not a fan of the terrine, so she gulped it down all by herself.  She says she likes the complement of the sweetness of the peaches with the foie gras. 

peach melba

Bread Break 1:  The kick ass bread mentioned earlier is in the hero form in the picture below.  We were also given two types of butter, regular butter and French butter in the little tin.  One of them was salted; whichever one that was was the good one.

breads 1

Course 3. Crispy Skin Fillet of Barramundi – Sauteed Italian Eggplant, candied marcona almonds, golden sultanas, spanish capers and petite mint w/ madres curry “aigre-doux”.  While I enjoyed the different flavored paired with the fish to offer a sweet and savory taste, the fish was seared in a bit more oil than I would have liked.  It was heavier than expected, but still made a good impression.  I’m not used to sweet; it’s usually either salty or picked. 

fish
It’s a fish eye!  Get it?  Har Har.  Yea, I know, I suck.  =P

Course 4. Scottish Langoustines “A La Plancha”- handmade farfalle, globe artichokes, nicoise olive “petals”, grilled red endive and EVOO emulsion.  I didn’t eat this b/c from the looks of it – I am sure to be allergic to langostine.  It’s suppose to be similar to lobster, and it looks like shrimp.  I’m allergic to both!  It would be terrible if I ended up having an allergic reaction at Per Se, like I did at Jean George’s Dune in the Bahamas when I accidentally ate crab.  =T

langostine

Course 4a. Pan Seared Cod with fresh string beans and potatoes on a bed of forgotten identity sauce.  As an alternative to the langostine [don’t you just love that word?  langostine!  It’s such a fun word], I was given more fish- cod, this time.  The vibrant colors of the sauce and veggies in contrast to the white of the fish was very aesthetically pleasing.  The flavor of the cod and its veggie accompaniments made this a very light summery dish. 

cod

Course 5. All day braised Berkshire pork belly– compressed watermelon, young fennel, roquette leaves and pork jus.  Tell me this doesn’t look like a prettified piece of roast pork from Chinatown!  If there was any moment in the whole 2-2.5 hours we were there that I ever felt gyped, it would be the moment I got served this.  I do have to admit that the pork belly was really soft from the long hours of braising and it came apart really easily, and almost melts in your mouth, but no so much that it’s gross b/c it’s meat kind of way.  However, mine came with the hughest piece of fat inbetween the meat and the skin that I was disgusted.  Usually, I can just rip that part out and it would be fine, but this layer was THICK.  On the other hand, the watermelon was awesome save for the sprig of mint on top.  Compressed watermelon = a TON of juice in one mouthful. 

roast pork belly 

And it was soo salty!  Look at her reaction! 

salty pork

Course 6.  Rib-eye of Marcho Farm’s nature fed veal– “fricassee de ris et cervelle de veau”- herb-scented spatzle, watercress leaves and Tokyo turnips w/ brown butter veal sauce.  At first, I thought that the bits of white spots on there were spots of fat and I was not happy about that.  MORE FAT?!  But no.  I was just overreacting.  It was sea salt.  *whew!  Of course, the two big pieces were kind of expected.  I didn’t think there was anything special about this course.  The butter veal sauce was unremarkable because it tasted similar to any red meat sauce I’ve ever had [it was good but just nothing noteworthy is all].  Are turnips from Tokyo suppose to taste different?  I’m guessing yes, but I didn’t get that.  I know the Japanese pears kick American pears’ ass.  Soo juicy… *drools…  And is this spatzel just a fried version of the German spaetzle?  This didn’t have much flavor and frying it made it a bit soggy.  BTW, spaetzle is the shit.  Especially if it were to be served in this type meat sauce.

veal

Tea Break:  We were freezinggg so we stopped to get some tea to warm ourselves up.  I’m always having trouble retaining body heat and you saw how skinny my friend by that last picture, so you know that she doesn’t have any place to store heat.  =X  Eva, I still love you!  I’ve got to say that Per Se has an awesome tea menu, not because they have an especially good tea selection [it’s just the regular white tea, oolong, green, etc].  But the actual MENU is awesome in that the names crack me up.  “Drum Mountain White Cloud” and “Golden Monkey” are two examples.  Haha I think I ordered the Golden Monkey for the hell of it.   

Course 7. Petite ardi-gasna- salad of summer squash. “pain de campagne”- cherry tomatos and opal basil with saporoso vinegar reduction.  What can I say about this?  Cherry tomatoes?  Yum.  Basil?  Flavorful.  Vinegar?  Tastes like balsamic.

squash

Bread Break 2: Cranberry walnut, if I’m not mistaken..

cranberry bread

Course 8. hibiscus sorbet– mango coulis, dragon fruit and shaved coconut

There were two variations to this dessert b/c they thought my friend and I would appreciate trying two different things instead of just one.  =D  Aren’t they sweet?  Unfortunately, while they paid careful attention to my allergies, they forgot about my friend’s.  She can’t have coconut!  Well, the servers and the kitchen couldn’t remember if those were real coconut shavings or if they replaced it with something else, so they decided not to take that chance.  So what did they do with the other dessert?  They gave it to the fatty; in other words, me!  Desserts are pretty self explanatory.  The dragon fruit was sour as I expected, but the mango really hit the spot. 

coconut dessert 1

alternate dessert

She ended up with this.  Dragon fruit sorbet with mint jellies.

dessert 2

Course 9. Tentation au chocolat noisette et lait – milk chocolate “cremeux” and hazelnut “streusel” w/ condensed milk sorbet, “pain au lait” sauce and sweetened salty hazelnuts.  I thought that there would be too much chocolate in this dish for me so I didn’t order it.  I now wish I would have tried the milk sorbet though.  How creative.

chocolate

Course 9a. “degustation de fruits d’ete”- tristar strawberry “consumme” and “frangipane croustillante” w/ lemon curd ice cream.  Although I really love sorbets, I felt like this dish didn’t need the sorbet on top.  The fruits with the biscuit shortcake was enough.  The strawberry consumme was light and not overly sweet.  I didn’t think the sour lemon really went with this dish. 

fruits

Course 9 1/2:  Individual creme brulee.  Whoops!  I nearly forgot about this one last dessert that was not on the menu.  Actually, a LOT of things weren’t on the menu [not that I’m complaining, who can say no to free food?].  My friend and I each got individual creme brulees.  It was the cutest thing ever.  The sugar shell was thicker than I expected, hence, providing more sugar than I would’ve like for the custard inside.  Yet, the custard itself wasn’t too sweet, so I was able to include some of the shell while eating.  Usually, I just crack the shell and scope out the inside because the custard’s already too sweet for me.  As you can tell, I’m not one to order creme brulees much, if at all.  

creme brulee

Lastly:  Mignardises– preciousness.

chocolates

chocolates

My selection: Vanilla & coffee.  The vanilla way wayyy too sweet.  The coffee was good, but I couldn’t finish it.

chocolate inside chocolates

Our parting gift.  Macaroons!  Almond base instead of coconut so my friend wasn’t allergic!

macaroons

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