It is not wondrous 100 percent of the time, and it can be maddening: at moments too intent on culinary adventure or too highfalutin in its presentation and descriptions of dishes, one of which came with a choice of four salts from three continents. To get a reservation may well require a degree of planning and effort that verge on masochistic, and a multicourse, mini-portion extravaganza may well require four hours, which is more time than many diners have or want to spend.
But here is the thing: the return on that patience and that investment is more than a few mouthfuls of food that instantaneously bring a crazy smile to your face and lodge in your memory for days and even weeks to come.
Although we might be able to save up some cash for a special occasion, and are attempting to program our speed dial to take advantage of the two-month-in-advance reservation policy (which gives us some time to save up), Gothamist doesn't see Per Se in our near future, especially now that it is glimmering with its four-star rating. Luckily, we can enjoy the butter-poached lobster (mentioned prominently in the first sentence of the review) at home, thanks to Joe DeSalazar and the Gothamist Recipe.
Gothamist on Thomas Keller.
The New York Post's Steve Cuozzo on Per Se (awarding it three stars).
New York Magazine's Adam Platt on Per Se.
Per Se, 10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-9335. Five-course tasting menu, $125; nine-course vegetable tasting menu, $135; nine-course chefs tasting menu, $150.