NYC: Per Se (July 2012 #2): 30-Course Meal!
Exec Chef: Thomas Keller
Chef de Cuisine: Eli Kaimeh
Supervising Chef for Lunch: Ugh, I forgot :(.
Date: July 29, 2012
“Lunch” (it actually lasted six hours haha)
30-Course “Super-Extended” Tasting!
I called a few days in advance and spoke with a Maître d’, Greg Ryan, about trying out a super-extended, 30-course tasting. My friends Miles and Carlin are the two people I know who can eat the most. I wanted to finish EVERYTHING, so I chose the big guns hahaha.
This was the view from our table:
Here’s the menu that we received after the meal.
Gruyere Cheese Gougeres.
Victor: This is one of the two amuses-bouche that they will always serve at Per Se (and I think French Laundry, too).
Salmon Cornets (with crème fraîche)
Victor: It’s small, but it’s loaded with intense flavor. This is one of Keller’s most famous dishes.
CHILLED ENGLISH CUCUMBER SOUP
Sungold Tomatoes and Bonito Gelée
HASS AVOCADO SORBET
“Ajo Blanco,” Picholine Olive, and Nasturtium Capers
Victor: The avocado sorbet was hidden under the foam, and it was amazing. It wasn’t too rich, but it still tasted intensely like avocado. All the textures worked together well, and the dish was very refreshing.
Sucrine Lettuce and Greek Bottarga
Monty’s comment: “I’ve seen bigger salads at the Olive Garden”
STERLING WHITE STURGEON CAVIAR
Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Mangalitsa Lardo, Toasted Brioche, and Chive Blossoms
Victor: Yeaaaaaaaaah, this one wasn’t really fair. “Hey, let’s just get a bunch of luxury ingredients and put them all in one dish!”
ISLAND CREEK OYSTER “COCKTAIL”
Victor: This was basically a supercharged oyster! It was FANTASTIC (and I wish all oysters tasted like this :(…).
MAKOMBU-CURED ATLANTIC FLUKE
Scarlett Turnips and Raspberry Vinegar
Victor: This one was just okay. The raspberry was too overpowering.
Compressed Summer Melon, Coconut Gelée, Petite Basil, and Sake Granité
Victor: The sake granité here is genius. All the ingredients meshed REALLY well in this dish, and the sake granité took this to the next level.
MAINE SWORDFISH “AMANDINE”
Belgian Endive, Navel Orange, and Brown Butter “Gastrique”
Victor: Apparently, this was the first time Per Se’s ever served swordfish! I think they serve it somewhat regularly as of September 25, 2012. I had it again while eating that day, and the Maître d’, Greg Ryan, mentioned that they started really serving it a lot in the past month or so.
SAUTEED FILLET OF PACIFIC AYU
Greenmarket Soy Beans, Red Radish, Mizuna, and Shishito Pepper “Bouillon”
CHARCOAL GRILLED IWASHI
Frogs Hollow Farm’s Peaches, Cauliflower Florettes, and White Sesame
SPANISH MACKEREL “EN BRIOCHE”
Jamón Serrano Ham, Potato Confit, Meyer Lemon, and “Sauce Romesco”
Victor: This course was beautiful. (I also looove Jamón ham. Jamón ibérico de bellota ham owns my heart!)
SCOTTISH LANGOUSTINE “CEVICHE”
Wagyu “Tataki,” Tamari-Braised Beef Tendon, Scallion, and Kanzuri “Mayonnaise”
Victor: The wagyu pretty much saved the dish here; if it weren’t for the wagyu, the dish would just be “really good”.
MARINATED RABBIT KIDNEY
“Tabouleh,” Fairy Tale Eggplant, and Italian Parsley
Top left: Salted butter from Animal Farm in Orwell, Vermont.
Bottom right: Unsalted butter from Strauss Family Creamery in Petaluma, California.
CRISPY SQUIRE HILL FARM’S HEN EGG
Buttermilk Biscuit “en Cocotte” and Pork Jowl Gravy
Victor: In the beginning of the meal, we mentioned that we hadn’t had breakfast. They made this to simulate a breakfast for us!
They called this a “Golden Egg”.
Victor: These are the buttermilk biscuits! They were really good… but also really heavy.
BLACK TRUFFLE-STUDDED “RIS DE VEAU” (Sweetbread of lamb!)
Greenmarket Blackberries, Wilted Spinach, and Toasted Oats
This is before they actually served it.
Victor: This dish will go down as one of my favorite dishes of all time. It was the first dish to really bring back memories (kind of like when the food critic in “Ratatouille” tries out the ratatouille dish and thinks of his childhood). My mom used to make oatmeal a lot for breakfast, and this dish brought me back to that time!
Six kinds of salts; they usually serve this with the foie gras.
SALAD OF GREENMARKET VEGETABLES
Victor: Refreshing. This was great timing.
HERB ROASTED ATLANTIC HALIBUT SHANK
Lobster Mushrooms, Garlic Confit, Young Fennel, Brentwood Corn, and Spicy Lobster
They showed this to us before serving it.
BUTTER POACHED NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER “BLANQUETTE”
(Added sweetbreads and also shaved foie gras pastrami over it!)
Victor: Shaved… foie gras… pastrami. WHAT?
YUKON GOLD POTATO “GNOCCHI”
English Peas, “Fiore Sardo,” and Shaved Australian Black Truffles
DIAMOND H RANCH QUAIL “EN CREPINETTE”
Greenmarket Chard, Red Jacket Farm’s Apricot, Caramelized Pearl Onions, and Bacon “Lardons”
ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM’S “SELLE D’AGNEAU” (Lamb)
“Petit Salé,” Summer Squash, and “Salsa Verde”
Lamb… before they served it.
“CHERRIES AND CREAM”
Champlain Valley’s “Triple Cream,” Compressed Bing Cherries, Tellicherry Pepper Sablé and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Victor: We all liked this course while eating it until my friend Miles decided to say, “This vaguely reminds me of the taste of manure.” The rest of us were like, “…” while Miles just went on to finish it and then go, “I still liked it.”
Whipped Lemon Verbena
Victor: This was great. Everything went well together, and it was a small amount with a TON of flavor.
WATERMELON AND OLIVE OIL
Victor: This was one of my favorite courses. Watermelon and olive oil make for a surprisingly wonderful combination. Also, that olive oil is supposed to be from the best olive-oil maker in the world.
Victor: I got some green tea to help reduce the blood-glucose spike. I usually get green tea while I eat desserts to help offset the sugar. (So that’s a health tip for some of you!)
Tristar Strawberries with Whipped Coconut and Green Tea Ice Cream
Miles (making his intelligent comments as always): “This course needs more plates to truly be transcendent.”
PLUM AND CHAMPAGNE “FLOAT:”
Plum Compote and Champagne Granité
Greek Yogurt “Panna Cotta,” Chamomile “Cordial,” Cornbread and Gooseberry Sorbet
“COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS”
Cinnamon-Sugared Brioche Doughnuts with Cappuccino Semifreddo
Victor: They always serve this as part of their mignardises. Usually, they give a bunch of donuts, but they decided to just give one of the old version and one of the new version to each of us (probably because they were worried that a set would be too much).
“GATEAU MARJOLAINE DE FERNAND POINT”
They showed us the cake before cutting it.
This was a seven-layer cake with vanilla-chocolate ice cream on top ^_^.
24 Chocolates (Beginning of the Mignardises):
Victor: As part of their mignardises, they show a box of 24 chocolates. Most people just eat two or three, but the three of us made it a point to finish everything haha :(. This… destroyed us.
Top (left to right):
-Maple pecan (this is a staff favorite!)
-Rocher with hazelnut
-Caramel white chocolate
-Chinese black tea
-Dulce de leche
Middle (left to right):
-Arnold Palmer (this is a classic at Per Se, and it’s definitely one of the best ones!)
Bottom (left to right):
-Passion fruit cashew
Tour d’argent with (More) Mignardises:
Middle: Macarons (I think passion fruit and something else)
Victor: Apparently, the three-tiered tray is called a tour d’argent (“silver tower”).
Hazelnuts with Cocoa Powder:
Victor: We actually only ate half of this, so technically we didn’t finish all 100% of the meal. Still.. I think the three of us agree that we effectively finished the meal hahaha.
Victor: We got to see the kitchen, which was pretty awesome!
These are the tools they use to shave the top of the egg to create that one egg dish that has truffles (HEN EGG CUSTARD, Ragout of Australian Black Truffles). You’ll see that dish in some of the other Per Se posts!
This was a quote above the entrance of the kitchen.