Back in October, some friends and I went to eat at Per Se, Thomas Keller's outpost in the Time Warner Center. It was, hands down, the best food I have ever eaten--as a whole experience. (That is to say that I have had some pretty transcendent pork tacos from a shopping cart in Jackson Heights, but that's another story.) What was most remarkable about the meal was how easy it was. Truly unhurried, relaxing, incredibly polished service. Flawless food with impeccable details and additions. An amazing view of Columbus Circle and Central Park.
I emailed the restaurant to ask for a copy of the menu, since there was clearly no way I was going to remember everything we ate. And drank. But, um, I do remember a 1985 Sauternes....plus the half bottle of champagne we started with, and two more bottles. (I don't remember what the wines were....except that they were perfect.) Per Se offers two tasting menus: one meat, one veggie. There was also two amuses, plus an assortment of bread things that came around in a basket as we wished. But for the main idea, here's what the meat-eaters had:
--"Oysters and Pearls": "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar.
--Hudson Valley Moulad Duck Foie Gras Poele: Hobbs Shore’s Pancetta "Melba," White Wine Poached Honey Crisp Apples and Braised Tuscan Kale with Tellicherry Pepper "Mignonnette"
--Sauteed Fillet of Florida Pompano: Razor Clams, Compressed English Cucumbers, Piquillo Peppers, Petite Onions and Cilantro Shoots with Pimenton "Vierge"
--Scottish Langoustines "a la plancha": French Breakfast Radishes, Haricots Verts, Globe Artichokes and Sweet Carrots with Parsley "Pudding"
--Four Story Hill Farm's "Supreme de Pigeon": "Confit de Cuisse," Buckwheat Crêpe, Brussels Sprouts and Chestnut Purée with "Jus de Pigeon"
--Rib-Eye of Marcho Farms Veal "Roti a la Broche": Yukon Gold Potato and Chanterelle Mushroom Gratin with Hakurei Turnips, Creamed Turnip Greens and "Sauce Périgourdine"
--Consider Bardwell Farm's "Dorset": "Sablé aux Quatre Épices," Butternut Squash Confit, Belgian Endive and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Blis Maple Syrup Vinaigrette
--Pear Sorbet: "Silver Dollar" Pancakes, Bosc Pear Compote, Anise "Bavarois" and Almond Crisp
--"Tea & Biscuits": "Millionaire’s Shortbread," Sweet Tea Panna Cotta and Chocolate "Crémeux" with Darjeeling Ice Cream
--"Peanut Butter & Jelly": Peanut Butter Mousse, Concord Grape Jam, Peanut "Génoise"
and Grape Sorbet with Dried Milk Tuile