Originally Posted by Axelman 17
Short version of the Per Se:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The short version is that the wines worked out quite well. We ended up bringing three and purchasing four. I had been firmly in the camp that bringing such a high percentage of the wines, especially fairly unextraordinary bottles would not be appropriate. However, if the restaurant had any issues with our approach, they certainly didnt let on. The staff was completely amenable and gracious with our bottles from the start. I am going to put together a full write-up with pics but want to first track down the exact food/wine consumed. Only disappointment on the wine was an '82 bordeaux we brought that was totally lifeless.
As for the private room, I think it ended up being a good outcome. We are a pretty loud and gregarious group which I think could have caused issues in the sedate main room. We also didnt need to be shy about taking pictures, walking around, standing by the windows etc. The private room is all glass and faces into the main room as well as the park so you dont lose a sense of place within the restaurant by going that route.
The biggest disappointment was the food. I actually thought more courses were misses than hits (maybe 50/50). I am not as knowledgeable about food as many on this board but even to a novice like myself, there were clearly dishes that were off technically or missed the mark taste-wise. Will go into it in more detail in my write-up.
Thanks again for the help with the wines guys, extremely good intel.
Here is the full write-up:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Oysters and Pearls - Sabayon of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and sterling white sturgeon cavier
I know it is cliché and probably overplayed but this was my favorite dish of the night. I thought the textures worked beautifully and the contrasting richness of the sabayon and the saltiness of the cavier complimented each other nicely.
This was followed by the first service of breads/butter and their much maligned salt presentation. The bread throughout the meal was consistently excellent
White Asparagus “En Croute D’Amande” - Granny smith apples, green almonds, mache and red onion “Aigre-Doux”
This was by far the least effective dish of the night. I have never had anything like this before so maybe the concept of the dish was lost on me but it just didn’t taste good. The crust on the asparagus was extremely thick and dry, completely overpowered the asparagus. I was expecting a crust that was lighter and airier, like a tempura.
Columbia River Sturgeon - Green asparagus tempura, chanterelle mushrooms, fava beans and béarnaise reduction sauce
And here is the desired asparagus tempura. Excellent dish, not sure how sturgeon was prepared, may have been sous vide but it had a buttery richness that I don’t expect from sturgeon.
Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster - Kishu Mandarins, carmelized fennel and saffron-vanilla emulsion\
I thought this one missed the mark. Lobster was definitely a touch underdone. Emulsion was far too redolent of vanilla for my taste, I can understand wanting a hint of it but this was overpowering, did not seem balanced.
Four Story Hill Farm’s Poulard - New crop potatoes, ramp top subric, whole grain mustard puree and sauce gribiche
Chicken was sous vide and was a little underdone. Skin was served on the chicken and it was very floppy/floppy, not sure why they even bothered with the skin, I don’t see how you can get any real texture or substance to it when it is prepared this way. The ramp top subric was amazing, no idea how they prepared it but it was among the better things we ate
Elysian Fields Farm’s Carre D’Agneau - Petit Sale, garbanzo bean croquette, grilled celery hearts, meyer lemon supremes and lamb jus
Lamb was perfect, the whole dish was well executed though the garbanzo bean croquette (aka falafel) wasn’t really of interest to me. Don’t think I have ever had better lamb.
Marieke Gouda - Applewood smoked bacon, Persian cucumbers, jingle bell peppers and salsa verde
Cheese course. Very strange dish, a play on a BLT. I would have rather just had some spectacular cheeses but I guess that wouldn’t be sophisticated enough for Per Se. I could not make it through all the gouda. It was a big log of gouda.
Champagne Mango Sorbet - Young coconut cream, rambutan and coconut meringue (no pic)
Amazing dish, the perfect palette cleanser.
Toasted Popcorn - Salted caramel ganache, chocolate-almond crumble and toasted pain au lait ice cream
Nothing wrong with this, obligatory chocolate dessert. I don’t think the popcorn aspect of this dish really came through enough to merit inclusion in the title but a little additional crunch
Wave after wave of these. First was a selection of chocolates presented in a box that vaguely looked like a humidor. Probably 30 in total, all housemade, very impressive. Next was more truffles, macarons, etc. Lastly, we were given “Coffee and Doughnuts” which I think is a Keller signature dessert. Not sure quite why this became famous, didn’t seem to be anything special but was totally serviceable.
Pol Roger Multi-Vintage (purchased) - I am a Pol Roger virgin and was pleasantly surprised, excellent recommendation by those on the forum. Was a “steal” at 3x street price. Consumed primarily with the pearls and oysters, worked well.
Gruner Veltliner - FX Pichler Smargard "Loibner Berg" 2011 (purchased) - Another good selection, had the right amount of residual sugar
Sancerre, Pascal Jolivet, "Le Chene Marchand" 2011 (purchased) - Not a standout but totally fine
Chassagne Montrachet, Louis Latour 1 Cru, “Les Caillerets” 2006 (brought) - I believe we had this with the sturgeon and really enjoyed it. Rich but still crisp, good fruit, felt like the right amount of oak.
Barberesco, Cigliuti Vigne Erte 2000 (brought) - Definitely the best wine of the evening. Spicy, bright, but very smooth. Had this with the chicken which I thought was a good foil.
Chateau Les-Hautes-Conseillants (Pomerol) 1982 (brought) - This one was totally dead, we moved houses a few years back and I think a lot of the older bottles didn’t hold up in the move.