1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Per Se vs. Eleven Madison Park

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by hopkins_student, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. RSS

    RSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,042
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    No.1 Nonsuch Place
    I find just the opposite to be true. Never once during my meals at Per Se have I had to think about anything other than the food or my dining companion. They literally take care of everything else. Unless superior food is distracting to you, I just can't see how EMP is the better choice, especially since my meals at Per Se have been uniformly longer than those at EMP so I have had more time with my friends.
    I don't believe I said that EMP was the better choice. I depends upon what one seeks.

    Personally I find that when at Per Se, the food is so outstanding, and the presentation so extraordinary, I pay a tremendous amount of attention to what is on my plate. There are times I actually want it this way.

    I was recently at La Pergola in Rome, and the experience was similar to that at PS, where the focus was very much on the food and its presentation. I was there with friends from Atlanta & Honolulu and very much enjoyed their company, still the focus was very much on the food.

    I should add that I'm not suggesting that the focus can't be on food at EMP, it very much can be. But it's easier to see food as "background" to a special gathering while at EMP. That is almost impossible at PS.
     
  2. Lizard23

    Lizard23 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    I think it's fair to assume it is 18% to 20%.

    I completely agree with you and our philosophies seem to be in sync. In the end we are doing the same thing. i just find it easier to add 5% to the total bill (especially after much food and drink). I should note that I previously mentioned I added $50 and this was because all 3x the bills have been quite similar.
     
  3. gomestar

    gomestar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,383
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    These two restaurants are very different. Everything about both is structured and choreographed ... but to a much higher level at Per Se.

    If I were going to be with good friends and wanted to really enjoy the others' company as we dined, I'd choose EMP. If I wanted the focus to be targeted more on the food, I'd choose PS.


    +1.

    Just a different scene. I was actually at the PS Salon two or three weeks ago, it really is superb. Happy to report that it was, IMO, a step above EMP, but it doesn't mean I would still suggest it over EMP for all situations. Contrary.
     
  4. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,278
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Hmm I can't say I'd rush to Per Se over EMP. I enjoyed EMP a lot the last time I went, and I'm not the world's biggest Keller fan. Like matt, I have reservations against some of the things he does and even with my relatively carefree spending on dining, I feel like I can have better experiences here in Chicago than at a Keller establishment. I really do prefer Bouchon to his flagships, it's a wonderfully consistent franchise and in my opinion is the greatest credit to Thomas Keller.

    I'd rather go to Daniel for Per Se money, to be completely honest. Or JG.
     
  5. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,384
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Location:
    The wild and the pure.
    A while ago, when I actually considered opening my own restaurant, I was working with a FOH guy that I became friends with at the place where I worked in France. Our idea was to not accept gratuities and to pay staff a salary. This tipping bullshit is something that really, really bothers me. Great service should be taken for granted, and not something that should be rewarded with anything other than a return by the customer. Happy customers also tend to spend more anyway, and the included service charge would reflect that. I think that in a way, allowing tipping removes responsibility from the owner of the establishment, saying hey, if you don't like the service, don't tip our guy. It's kind of passing off accountability to your servers. My attitude is that impeccable service shouldn't be rewarded with anything but a return customer. There shouldn't be this sinister expectation of a fucking tip. I should note that I am an obscene tipper, and always was, even in some of my leaner times being a student. The restaurant should be sold and packaged as one cohesive unit. Not this divide between food and FOH like there is now. Everyone works together and sinks with the ship if there's a fuck up. I think it's a cop out.
    I agree with your logic, but the bottom line is that it is going to make people uncomfortable. Look at all of the threads on here about when it is OK to split checks, how to tell girls that something is too expensive, etc. The paying experiences is fraught with stress in this day where eating at some of these restaurants is a social marker. Making that experience even further from what is comfortable is just going to increase the anxiety. If you think it is worth it, knowing that your clients will be leaving the restaurant a bit stressed, fine, but it makes sense to do what you have said, to say "this is what we think is right, it is important to us," and not to pretend that it is being done to make it easy on the customer.
     
  6. gomestar

    gomestar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,383
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    I find just the opposite to be true. Never once during my meals at Per Se have I had to think about anything other than the food or my dining companion. They literally take care of everything else. Unless superior food is distracting to you, I just can't see how EMP is the better choice, especially since my meals at Per Se have been uniformly longer than those at EMP so I have had more time with my friends.

    for this situation from the OP I think Per Se is the ideal choice, but a 4-hour marathon meal that ends up at $300 w/o any wine or the menu upgrades is not the situation I am usually in with my friends. Most of the time it's a quick call to meet at Grammercy Tavern, Aldea, Tocqueville, or if we're feeling flush EMP where we can sit at the bar or a table if one is open, order a slew of snacks, and kill some Champs while catching up with each other.
     
  7. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    41,568
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    In Hiding
    I don't mind the service charge at all. My point is simply that to do it in this country, where it is unusual, and to say publicly that it is meant as a replacement for tipping, but then to secretly expect that an additional tip should also be left, is unreasonsable.

    If the point is to separate the rabble from those "in the know", just make the place a private club and be done with it. A lot of the best places in London are private in exactly this way.

    The French for all their hauteur make a lot more sense, if you ask me.
     
  8. gomestar

    gomestar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,383
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    I'd rather go to Daniel for Per Se money, to be completely honest. Or JG.

    The only thing that is a little 'hmmm' about Daniel is the age of other diners. Usually on the older side, but otherwise I love it there. My better half dines there frequently and I'm always jellis.
     
  9. RSS

    RSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,042
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    No.1 Nonsuch Place
    My point is simply that to do it in this country, where it is unusual, and to say publicly that it is meant as a replacement for tipping, but then to secretly expect that an additional tip should also be left, is unreasonsable.
    My other half agrees completely with you. It has been a topic of discussion on many occasions ... especially after visits to PS or TFL.
     
  10. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,278
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    I agree with your logic, but the bottom line is that it is going to make people uncomfortable. Look at all of the threads on here about when it is OK to split checks, how to tell girls that something is too expensive, etc. The paying experiences is fraught with stress in this day where eating at some of these restaurants is a social marker. Making that experience even further from what is comfortable is just going to increase the anxiety. If you think it is worth it, knowing that your clients will be leaving the restaurant a bit stressed, fine, but it makes sense to do what you have said, to say "this is what we think is right, it is important to us," and not to pretend that it is being done to make it easy on the customer.

    Well it's more about what I think than trying to make them feel comfortable. There would still be a service charge, but it would have been made clear that there is no gratuity. Best Buy, although a completely different example, does not put their salespeople on commission.

    Given the press that it would generate locally, I believe there would be ample opportunity to explain my stance in that regard. Great service is just expected. We hadn't given thought to how it would be definitively structured, but essentially it was aimed at getting rid of this open ended system of tipping. You pay what the bill says, period, no room for a tip. A few of these pop up restaurants sell tickets. You buy the "ticket" beforehand and that's it. Once you've paid, you're entitled to a certain experience. It puts pressure on the kitchen and FOH. I understand that it's a cultural thing, but I just really hate this tipping business.
     
  11. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,278
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    I don't mind the service charge at all. My point is simply that to do it in this country, where it is unusual, and to say publicly that it is meant as a replacement for tipping, but then to secretly expect that an additional tip should also be left, is unreasonsable. If the point is to separate the rabble from those "in the know", just make the place a private club and be done with it. A lot of the best places in London are private in exactly this way. The French for all their hauteur make a lot more sense, if you ask me.
    Yes, our idea is to make it rather explicitly clear, in as tactful manner as possible, that gratuities are not expected and in fact not a custom that we participate in. Having a service charge and then two lines for an additional amount, to me, is fucking bullshit.
     
  12. coolpapa

    coolpapa Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,663
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Location:
    Princeton

    If I'm with friends and family, I'd prefer EMP, if I'm with somebody of importance, Per Se.


    This made me laugh. I don't think my friends or family are of any importance either. [​IMG]
     
  13. RSS

    RSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,042
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    No.1 Nonsuch Place
    Having a service charge and then two lines for an additional amount, to me, is fucking bullshit.
    There are places where their are no additional lines ... and one leaves cash if they wish to leave an additional gratituity.

    But as for the additional lines, there have also been a couple of times -- when disappointed -- that I have put a ZERO on those additional lines.
     
  14. RSS

    RSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,042
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    No.1 Nonsuch Place
    Usually on the older side
    You don't like us ... the 'older side?'
     
  15. gomestar

    gomestar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,383
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
  16. RSS

    RSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,042
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    No.1 Nonsuch Place
    I completely agree with you and our philosophies seem to be in sync. In the end we are doing the same thing. i just find it easier to add 5% to the total bill (especially after much food and drink). I should note that I previously mentioned I added $50 and this was because all 3x the bills have been quite similar.
    Much would depend on the number in one's party. What is more, over time the price will certainly change. When I first dined at TFL, the prix fixe was in the $150 range. It's now approaching $300. I make my decision on a case by case basis.
     
  17. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,278
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    You don't like us ... the 'older side?'

    I really don't give a shit about that. Frankly I think young "foodies" are annoying as fuck. One thing I hate and I mean I HATE about going to Alinea or Per Se or L20 is that you have to sit around a bunch of yuppies or dinks and overhear their retarded conversation about food. As matt says, they're there to check off a list. I'm almost always with great company so my surroundings don't matter but sometimes you do overhear a loud group, and given that the dining rooms are small and rather quiet it isn't difficult for this to happen.

    Older, more experienced diners are there to just enjoy themselves. They just talk about regular shit with occasional quips about the food. They're over it and they don't have anything to prove. So ya, sign me up for Daniel and the blue hairs.
     
  18. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    41,568
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    In Hiding
    At La Grenouille the hair tends toward indigo.
     
  19. nmprisons

    nmprisons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,151
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Frankly I think young "foodies" are annoying as fuck. One thing I hate and I mean I HATE about going to Alinea or Per Se or L20 is that you have to sit around a bunch of yuppies or dinks and overhear their retarded conversation about food. As matt says, they're there to check off a list.

    This. I find it exponentially worse in New York than any other place I have lived. The god-damn camera flashing, name-dropping, stupid drink ordering, cell-phone answering "foodies" who just love the truffled foam make me want to wretch.
     
  20. gomestar

    gomestar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,383
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    I don't really see the foodie scene much at places like Daniel, or even EMP where I'd certainly expect them. Maybe I don't pay attention that much, but it's pretty blatant at places like Prune and Buttermilk Channel. And it is insufferable.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by