Saturday, September 10, 2011

Holiday Memories: Per Se, NYC

In honour of today marking the start of NY Fashion Week, I thought I'd post about one of my memorable NYC meals from my US holiday a few months back.

Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant is famous not only for it's 3 michelin star rating, but for being notoriously hard to get a reservation for. Knowing this, I had a plan of action (and a back up plan!) to get a booking and was fortunate enough to get one by being persistent and calling on the dot of opening one month before my preferred dining date. Being in Australia, this meant staying up till 1am in the morning and staying on hold for 20 minutes but it was well worth it!

It was a beautifully sunny day and sitting perched in the middle of hectic NYC in a serene dining room overlooking Columbus Circle, it was almost like time stood still as we slowly ate through our courses. And boy were there many!

Our beautiful (and personalised!) menus
Of course the food was exquisite, each dish carefully tamed but extraordinary at the same time. It perhaps wasn't the most unique meal I've ever had but it was definitely blissful to be able to sit there and enjoy some beautiful food with fabulously chilled out but attentive service.

My favourite dish of the day was this one below, which was also one of the first and simplest.
This was the Charcoal Grilled Japanese Aji and it was sublime! Each grain of rice was perfect with no stickiness, and the Aji was crispy yet fresh!

Because I'm lazy to describe, I'll let you just take it all in with your eyes and show you a whole lot of pics.
Foie Gras Terrine
Scallops with cherries, avocado and soubise
Smoked columbia river sturgeon
Berkshire Pork
Now let me focus on the  main event - dessert of course!

Actual dessert was a rich and textural "Chocolate and Sour Cherry" dessert, with all the best dessert techniques in one dish - marquis, mint choc chip ice cream, cherry meringue stick, chocolate chunks and drizzled chocolate.
By this stage I was getting very full, but I couldn't leave a sliver of dessert on the plate could I?

Then there was all my favourite aspects of fine dining - the after-desserts!!! I really wish I was in less of a rush so I could take the time to enjoy everything but I was absolutely raring to head out and see the sights of NYC. Plus I'm notoriously known to have a small stomach so by this stage I couldn't even fathom stomaching all the tasty morsels which really disappointed me. I only got to try one of everything :( I so badly wanted to eat all the truffles and all the macarons.

Truffles, caramels, macarons and chocolate coated nuts
And then there was the white chocolate covered gelato (sublime! But still doesn't live up to my favourite version of this which I sampled at Gordon Ramsay in London), take-home shortbread biscuits and cinnamon 'doughnuts'. Insane selection right? I really wish I had asked to take them all home in a doggy bag because they were so tasty.
So let's just say Per Se was a once in a lifetime experience and I was glad to be able to have the opportunity to dine there. If you ever get the chance, you should run for it.

The day we went to Per Se also happened to be the monumental Gay and Lesbian parade marking the passing of gay marriage in NYC, so suffice to say I won't be forgetting that date anytime soon!

What are some of the most memorable meals you've had?

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