Number 30: Understated luxury coupled with outstanding contemporary French cooking in NYC
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Per Se has featured in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for its entire life. The East Coast satellite of Thomas Keller’s iconic French Laundry in Yountville, California, it represents the urban ideal of an American luxury restaurant offering a synthesis of culinary art and superlative service.
Per Se’s large dining room is unflashy, contemporary and elegant, with stained woods, stone and muted tones, and sweeping windows offering uninterrupted views of Columbus Circle and Central Park. The food is as understated yet immaculate as the décor. Menus embrace seasonality and show a witty playfulness that punctuates the confidence in the kitchen, now under the matured stewardship of Eli Kaimeh, who has been Per Se’s chef de cuisine since 2010.
Keller’s world-renowned signature dishes remain: oysters and pearls – a sabayon of pearl tapioca with oysters and caviar; or salad of Hawaiian hearts of peach palm. But Per Se’s nine-course Chef’s Tasting Menu of modern American cuisine with French influences (also available as a vegetarian menu) never stands still and dishes are constantly evolving.
An à la carte ‘salon’ menu is available in the front bar room, allowing diners to sample Per Se’s finest dishes, as well as a five-course dessert tasting menu created by pastry chef Elwyn Boyles. His exquisite creations include spiced butternut squash ice cream, vanilla crêpes, Blis maple syrup and pretzel chips.