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At the end of December we had the privilege of dining at Per Se, arguably one of the best restaurants in the world. Distilling an experience like Per Se down to an accolade would be to lose everything that Per Se is. I make a point on this site to write about simple food, and while the cuisine at Per Se is anything but simple my comments will endeavor to that point: If you are passionate about food, you need to dine at Per Se.
That's it. Get there.
There are two types of diners at places like Per Se and The French Laundry. Without mincing words, the cost is on par with what one would expect from a world class experience. There is an attraction to that type of opulence for some people. But if you are one of those people who will wait in line at a street cart for the best hot dog in Chicago or risk admonishment from a cabbie to head into the seedy part of Barcelona for the best fried pork rinds, then Per Se is still your kind of place. This is as good as food gets and the passion that the kitchen pours into their work only becomes more apparent when you engage the staff. Just ask if your course was cooked Sous Vide or in the Revolution oven and you will find yourself among friends.
Below, I have attached scanned images of our three menus. The Vegetarian menu - which may be the hardest test of a chef, the Chef's Tasting Menu - an all around sample and the Offal Menu - my choice and while the ingredients may be different for some, the end result was by far my favorite... The menus will speak for themselves and will hopefully serve as further invitation for anyone interested to begin saving, start planning and make a food pilgrimage.
What cannot be represented here and is undoubtedly part of what makes Per Se special is the staff. As a continuing student of customer service- a true art- these ladies and gentlemen make being world class look easy. They are at once disarmingly casual and staunchly professional. They make you feel at home without even knowing they are there.