10 Columbus Circle (60th), NYC
So, this does not fit with all of the other entries on this “GrubHub” food blog. This meal, in in no way, should be considered “Grub” and I don’t think the establishment would want to be referred so cavalierly as the “Hub”…….but, nonetheless, it deserves some attention.
Everyone knows that we are foodies, so it comes as no surprise that we were given the fantastic gift of a gift certificate to Per Se for our wedding. As you can tell from this website, my husband and I usually frequent the hole-in-the-wall joints; the places where the food is hearty and comforting and the spaces eclectic and diverse, but every once in a while it is a treat to dine in one of New York’s high class eateries. So, for our one year anniversary we got all dressed up and headed out to Per Se.
The location is within the Time Warner Building in Columbus Circle, and basically within a mall. It is an unusual location for such a high class restaurant, but there are many on the top level, including Masa. We arrived a bit early, so we found ourselves wandering around Williams Sonoma and such before heading up to our 1pm lunch reservation. Nonetheless, once you are through the sliding glass doors which lead you into the all-white, open, zen-like space of Per Se, you simply leave the blatant commercialism behind you. There’s a lovely garden space where they have fountains and flowers and then, of course, there are the floor to ceiling windows which overlook Central Park and Columbus Circle. We were there during the middle of November when the leaves were shades of auburn and crimson. It was simply spectacular.
Now, I am the type of person who breaks out in hives at pomposity, but I must say that the “down-to-earth” service and the vernacular of the waiters immediately put me at ease. They joked with us and made us feel welcome…..and they smiled! The menu was explained to us by one of the cheerful waiters who knew every detail about the food, which as we found out later, they come in early in the day to study the menu, since it changes daily!
And then we were off: We had warm brie oozing from delicate puff pastries, and salmon tartare on top of creme freche placed in these super-tasty sesame cones. We had a heart of palm salad, caviar atop sea urchin custard, small lobsters bathing in deliciousness, and pork belly perfectly grilled; a lovely white fish with sesame paste and tempura scallions and spectacular cheddar cheese with a beet soup, all the while sampling fresh baked breads ranging from pear through a wheat that was simply divine. Then the main of lamb came and we were in heaven, it was succulent and perfect. Then the desserts began. We had sorbet and poundcake and reveled in the beauty of the chocolate cake with candied grapefruit, lapped up the creme brulee and the pot de creme and then gasped at the homemade chocolates, taffies, and cocoa dusted almonds. Along with the bill came two bags of macarons (which I am solely dedicated to recreating this holiday season, although the recipe is outrageous! )
Now, all of these dishes were incredible….they somehow managed to hit upon every taste bud on the tongue. The flavors were spectacular, yet none of them were overpowering. They blended together and created a symphony in our mouths and we enjoyed every second of our dining experience. I’m not sure we would ever have gone there, had we not been treated, as the set menu runs $250 per person, not including wine, of course, or the many supplements. But, I must say, if you are a foodie and you had to decide between one night in a B&B and some so-so meals to celebrate your special occasion, or one 4 hour culinary extravaganza….consider Per Se!