You Sadden The IFA: Per Se

Oysters and Pearls at Per Se

Oysters and Pearls at Per Se

By Ezra Klein

It’s a funny thing: I almost don’t think I have the standing to criticize Per Se. I mean, who am I? Some blogger. And not even a food blogger, really. A political blogger. Who contributes to a food blog on the side. A dilettante, in other words. And he’s Thomas fucking Keller. He’ll take care of the butter poached lobster. I’ll worry about health care financing.

But let me say it clearly: My meal at Per Se was not good enough. Not good enough for the hype. And not good enough for the price. Komi, where I ate last week, wasn’t just better. It was a lot better. If you’d fed me the two meals blindfolded, I’d have assumed Komi was the $275 and Per Se was the $125.

Per Se just felt…tired. The famed oysters and pearls — a spoonful of caviar alongside two sweet oysters atop a rich tapioca sabayon — were warm and rich and fatty. But it tasted like decadence more than ingredients. Our waiter walked over to explain that the legend is that Keller has never tasted the dish. “Caviar and oysters together?” Keller supposedly said. “I don’t need to taste it. How can it not be good?” The waiter didn’t believe the tale. Neither do I. But it was a telling myth for the staff to purposefully propagate: It portrayed Keller as so talented, and armed with such incredible ingredients, that he didn’t really have to try. The chef didn’t sweat this one out. He was beyond that. And that got at something essential about the meal: It didn’t seem to be trying.

That’s not to take too much away from the dinner. Many of the dishes were cooked beautifully. The plates were artfully composed. The view was gorgeous. For $85, it would have been a wonderful experience. But for $275? It wasn’t going far enough. It wasn’t inventing anything, or surprising you. A number of the plates were duds. The asparagus was stringy and cold. If it was trying to evoke “brunch buffet,” it succeeded. One of my tablemates complained that my dessert tasted like a car air freshener (I didn’t think it quite that bad — but I thought it bad). The duck was oddly lukewarm. My cheese course came with cold potatoes and haricot verts that tasted like something you pick up at Whole Foods and bring to a picnic. The olives and Meyer lemon beneath the halibut overpowered an underseasoned fish.

And most of the best dishes were simply adept. A perfectly-cooked cut of steak. A rich mound of butter-poached lobster. I could imagine tasting them in many fine restaurants. The meal had little joy, no arc, and compared to Komi, no build. You can’t tell a story about eating at Per Se. You can only give a description. For all that, I recognize that Per Se does not attempt to be experimental. But compared to the last dinner I had at Chez Panisse, where simple French preparations yielded transcendent results, it also fails to make the most of traditionalism.

This wouldn’t be worth making a big deal over for $100. And it’s not to ignore the meal’s true highlights: Perfect breads and pastries, butter poached morels alongside pillowy gnocchi, sous vide beets atop jellied bitters. I can’t speak to the wine list, but the wine I had was awe-inspiring. But for $275 not including wine? The restaurant owes its diners more. Those prices promise magic, not competence. At this point, it felt like a mecca that knew itself to be such. It seemed more concerned with not disappointing its patrons than with actually inspiring them. And given the cost, that was maybe the most disappointing decision of all.

For all that, I enjoyed going. I had great food amidst wonderful company. And maybe Per Se had a bit of an off night. But if I had been paying, I wouldn’t have simply been disappointed. I would have been angry.

33 responses to “You Sadden The IFA: Per Se

  1. Good review, but having eaten at both Per Se and Komi, I respectfully and strongly disagree.

  2. I agree with Robert. I don’t know what you were expecting or what you received that I didn’t at Per Se but I had one of the very best meals of my life there. I don’t have any regrets over the price, it was a special experience.

  3. First of all, you’re right; you’re not educated enough about food to criticize a dish like oysters and pearls (which is perfect, and not just decadent). In fact, the IFA, while amusing, is all very amateurish. Please, no more posts about Ben Miller’s kitchen efforts. He’s clearly still not a good cook.

    However (and I am a chef myself), you can’t compare the price of Komi to the price of Per Se. Even if the food were comparably good (and I think they’re much closer than the above poster), you also have to consider the dining room, the quality of service, the wine list, etc. However, the real difference comes from the fact that a lot of Per Se’s price comes from the branding of the Keller name. Like in fashion, a brand can become justification for exhorbitant prices. Even restaurants like Cyrus, Le Bernardin, and Jean-Georges don’t charge as much because they don’t have the Keller brand, even though the quality of the food is comparable. Comparing Per Se to Komi in terms of price simply isn’t fair. Also, bear in mind that Per Se doesn’t really make money.

  4. The above post actually proves the point. *Of course* you can compare prices across different restaurants. That’s how price signals work! The fact that Per Se has different inputs is wholly immaterial to a customer’s decision. (In 2005, incidentally, they charged $125 for their 9-course — they’ve jacked up to what they feel the market will bear). The question is whether, for a diner, the difference is worth it. Whether the Keller premium is a product of hype or a product of quality.

    And here’s the nice thing about dining: Rhetorical humility aside, if I can be served a dish like oysters and pearls, I can criticize it. The point of reviews, after all, is to guide the purchasing decisions of other laymen. The implication of the intro is exactly what’s in your comment: The Keller brand gives the place a certain mystique, and a certain price advantage. It did not, to my palette, earn it.

    Maybe it was an off night. But at those prices, I don’t think you’re permitted off nights.

  5. In agreement with the previous three posters.

    I hate to say this, but I don’t get this blog. The media attention garnered on this endeavor is even more baffling.

    You all, while a step above average, are amateurs. You aren’t great cooks. You have posts deriding Per Se that don’t get Per Se. You have articles about how overrated ramps are. Another talks about making ricotta, but it isn’t about ricotta. The recipes are pedestrian. Your claim to fame seems to be an overuse of dried red pepper flakes.

    Yet you write as if you know what you are talking about. You “almost” aren’t qualified to criticize Per Se? What remotely qualifies you to review any restaurant, let alone that restaurant, let alone after but one visit?

    I am not saying you aren’t a true critic simply because you don’t like Per Se. You may life and love and hate as you wish. But you need to understand before you write about it.

    This whole enterprise makes me question if you know what you are talking about in your day job’s blog. I sure hope so. For the record, I read several IFA author’s primary blogs and other writings and I love you guys. But while you might be into food, you aren’t real cooks or proper critics. Stick to what you [hopefully] know.

  6. What remotely qualifies you to review any restaurant, let alone that restaurant, let alone after but one visit?

    What in god’s name qualifies you to qualify them? They eat three times a day. They love food. They made a blog. Don’t like it, don’t read it, moron.

  7. I’m actually finding this line of criticism interesting, and would like to draw it out a bit. I could imagine a couple responses to this sort of post. One is that the kitchen had an off night. The second is that my tastes aren’t necessarily generalizable. The third is that Per Se is generally patronized by those for whom money really isn’t much of an object (probably truer in the boom years than now).

    But the question of *standing* is more interesting. The implication is that Per Se requires a certain level of background knowledge to be truly appreciated. Which might, of course, be accurate. Knowing classical French cooking might substantially enhance a diner’s ability to understand Keller’s vision.

    But that’s not really Per Se’s business model. They know — and they know we know — that the business cannot float atop the checks of chefs and professional epicureans. The doors need to be thrown open to the world. The chairs need to be filled with, well, amateurs. People who like fine meals. In this case, people who like fine meals and have the money, or save the money, to purchase them. And that opens a different set of questions: Namely, if you’re one of those people, should you go to Per Se?

    The argument of my post was that, based on last night’s dinner, the meal does not match the expense. As some of the other commenters have noted, that wasn’t their take, and so be it. But it seems like there’s also an argument here that if you’re one of those people, you can’t properly appreciate Per Se, and shouldn’t comment on it. But that sort of insulation from amateur commentary requires a very different business model. One where the Keller brand doesn’t market itself to foodies like, well, me.

    At the end of the day, I actually thought The Tops hit on something important. My problem with Per Se was less the food than the price of the food. The Keller premium, if you will. It was the thought that I might well have saved up money and taken a loved one up on the train, and past those blue doors, and put down $700 for a meal that didn’t fundamentally impress me — or her. That’s a lot of money to lose. And it’s the point of the post.

    The Keller brand is based on an argument that his cooking is so superior that exorbitant expense is worth it. Maybe it is. Or maybe it usually is. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s not. But the answer — for his business model and for proudly amateur sites like this one — cannot be that it only is if you have the training to appreciate it.

  8. Price is a weird beast at restaurants of that level. Within the past ten years, Keller did in fact charge something like $80 or $90 for a meal at the French Laundry. Now everyone’s heard of him and wants to eat there, so the price goes up.

    It’s sort of like fine art prices, in that the cost doesn’t have the same relation to quality that, say, plasma TVs do. There’s a fixed, and pretty small, number of people they can serve each night, so lowering the price would just make it even harder to get a reservation than it is now.

    Also: both Komi and Per Se both within a week? You’re going to get spoiled, my friend.

  9. I don’t tend to read comments on blogs. But I clicked here just to say how much I’ve enjoyed Ezra’s reviews these past two weeks. I am interested in food, but don’t enjoy fine dining. I do, however, enjoy reading about fine dining and to me this blog is much more accessible, precisely for the reason some have criticized it, than many other food blogs out there.

    Further, I think those dismissing Ezra’s reviews are, well, missing the point. A reviewer only has as much credibility as his audience gives him. For some who read this blog Ezra, and other writers, have no credibility. That’s fine. They should dismiss this review.

    But to suggest that because Ezra doesn’t have certain qualifications makes him unqualified to write about his opinion, is silly. Ezra’s shortcomings and strengths are clear from that post and you can decide for yourself if it has merit. But clearly he is qualified, by dint of his dining experience, to write his opinion of the restaurant.

  10. You didn’t get my point about the Keller brand and ‘value.’ I wasn’t defending the prices, or saying that Per Se was good value. I was explaining why simply evaluating the food at the $275 price point and comparing to a Komi (or any other tasting-menu type experience) is unfair, just from the perspective of the food. I agree that Per Se (I’m assuming; I’ve never been, but I’ve been to the Laundry) leaves the non-millionaire a little wanting, in a way that Le Bernardin, Komi, or Citronelle perhaps don’t as much. However, the consumption value, in this case, isn’t just about food, service, location, decoration, dishware, etc. It is, like fine art, about the experience of tasting a highly-regarded genius chef’s food. I think you can talk about value from a personal level, in which case I understand your sentiment. But you also have to analyze it from a more general public perspective. If we’re really talking about value, the only thing that’s really of great value across the board is a shopping trip to Costco. But I agree. I’d much rather go to Komi twice. In fact, I’ve been promoting Johnny Monis’ food since back in the day when they still had an a la carte menu.

    As for the dissing of the IFA, I must say that most of my hate wasn’t directed as Ezra. However, I do think that this isn’t a typical blog. Many of the writers are known for their work in other spheres, which gives them a certain influence that must be used carefully. It’s foolish to think that people who have no clue about food don’t read this blog even though they may read the IFA writers’ other blogs. Ben Miller and Amanda Mattos, for example, have posted utter nonsense, and are NOT good cooks. Yet the name of the blog, and the blogging cred of some of its contributors, pumps up the value of this blog in a dishonest way. As a chef, I know that uninformed bloggers can have a distorting effect that is bad for the food industry. People are fetishizing food and chefs instead of understanding the basic theories of cooking and the proper metrics by which to evaluate food. Blogs like this only increase this problem. When I read Ezra Klein saying oysters and pearls’ only value is in its outrageous luxury, it’s a little annoying to those of us that understand how brilliantly balanced and refined that dish is on so many levels. I’m not saying food isn’t for everyone. I just wish people would get some experience and really build a sound knowledge base before starting a blog.

    Seriously. Stop the recipes. Stop posting so much. Take a step back. Learn from people who know how to cook. And focus on your other blogs, which are much more interesting. Don’t be like Noam Chomsky, who is a great linguist but a terrible political analyst.

    Oh, and it’s spelled PALATE, not palette.

  11. Well, it’s good we agree on Komi. I will say that I think your conception of a brand’s worth is interesting here. You’re saying — and I understand this — that Keller charges a premium based on his reputation. And I agree with that. I’m not sure how much, exactly, it’s worth for me to say I ate at Per Se and have people recognize the restaurant. But it’s worth something. I agree with that.

    The question is whether the brand is justified. During my visit, to my — what’s the word? — palate, it wasn’t. Komi, to me, was better on every level. And that’s the information contained in the post. Your critique is that you want me to write about this from the chef’s perspective. Explain why he charges what he does. But I come from the consumer’s perspective. And since money is fungible, the appropriate question is relative value.

    As for your other points, I’m sympathetic to your frustration. This blog had an easier time attaining resonance because some of its authors have preexisting audiences. And as a professional, I’m sure it’s annoying to watch hobbyists trample through the kitchen.

    But this blog isn’t trying to be a professional food site. We don’t post many recipes. We don’t try to. For better or for worse, we’re not in competition with the professional cooking sphere. This blog is about something that may be more recognizable to non-chefs — food as a hobby, as the end to a long day, as something that brings you and your friends together, as something that requires very little training in order to generate quite a bit of joy.

    Which is why it’s more than a bit defensive to call anything posted on this blog “nonsense.” A recipe you didn’t like? A preference you disagreed with? An opinion you didn’t share? No one pays for this site (well, I pay for the URL. But no one pays to read). No one pays for our food. No one views us as definitive. As a chef, you want this blog up the standards of a restaurant kitchen. Or at least to know what it means to be a restaurant kitchen. But that’s just not what we do. Never will be. This blog, for better or worse, delights in its amateurism, in its crappy dishes, in its mediocre pictures. We all have realms of life where we pursue perfection. For most of us, our home kitchen is one of the few places where we simply pursue peace.

    All that said, you’re a very good writer, and a chef’s perspective is valuable. I don’t think your take on Oysters and Pearls obviates mine. There’s plenty of fine art I wouldn’t want hanging on my wall. But I still like understanding why the critics judge it “fine.” Sometimes people say “start your own blog” in an accusatory fashion, and this isn’t meant as that. But have you considered starting your own blog? I, for one, would read it.

  12. I don’t often respond to others’ comments, but there are many blogs out there, of all kinds. There are several blogs that I have visited a few times, or added to my reader, only to find out that they don’t really interest me, or I don’t care for them, so I remove them from my reader/stop visiting them. These blogs that I referenced far outnumber the ones I regularly read. I do not post comments telling them how to change the blog so that I will like it more or insult its authors – I go find what I’m interested in somewhere else.

    There are several food blogs out there, and thus, a great diversity in approaches. They can’t all conform to the approach that you would find most legitimate/interesting/appropriate.

    The irony of the response to this post, is that I would gather that many of the people that read this blog are not the type that would go to Per Se (unless someone else were paying). As someone who will never pay the money to go there, it is interesting to hear about a layperson’s experience of the restaurant.

  13. The comments to this post inhabit a grey area between the love of food and food snobbery, yet I understand the whole point of this blog to be solely about the love of food. If one’s taste has been trained to recognize formal food perfection, I hope that doesn’t rob one of the sheer joy derived from eating tasty, wholesome food, a fantastic gift granted to all of us, professional and amateur alike.

  14. Oh my. Please keep the IFA blog just as it is. Love the posts from ALL of you. You help keep my day sane.

  15. The tone of some of the posts here, as one or two others have said, seems to contradict the whole point of this blog. I notice as of this moment that this one item has attracted 14 comments including two unprovoked personal attacks on other members of the blog – and by the way, how do you know they aren’t good cooks, have you ever eaten their food? You refer to yourself as a chef; you should read Marcella Hazen on the distinction between a cook and a chef. They aren’t pretending to be formally trained chefs with long years of experience and they aren’t in it for anything else other than to satisfy themselves and feed their friends and be part of a community that enjoys making and talkng about food, which is, happily, not something the rest of us have to leave to the professionals. By contrast, Ben Miller’s piece on “Why I Cook” has attracted no comments at all, but it would be instructive to read what he has to say there. He points out that he started cooking less than three years ago and his initial successes consisted of not poisoning himself, so he is clearly not trying to compete with the professionals. Here’s the last paragraph:

    “Like any hobby or activity, cooking is something people pursue for their own personal reasons, which can change over time. For me, it started as learning a life skill has become a source of enjoyment and personal growth. And yes, it’s also generated a competitive edge for me in the kitchen. But I’m not going to use that competitive urge to participate in a cookoff with a large numbers of strangers on stage. I’m willing to stick with my hardest critic: myself.”

  16. $275?????????????????????

    next time, you have $275 to spend on a couple of stringy, cold asparagus and sad lobster who lost his life to have his tail on a plate in a restaurant where the only thing not getting “scalloped” are the scallops…..just send that check on to the nearest food bank.
    they can use the money, and you can hunt for some specials in your market and fix everything to your liking for a whole lot less money.
    for heaven’s sakes, you can make a thanksgiving meal for ten people with all of the trimmings and it wont cost that much.

  17. any person who is over twenty years of age, and has eaten three meals a day, is qualified to give their opinion on food.
    anyone that has eaten over 20,000 meals in their life qualifies as an expert as to what does or does not taste good to them.
    remember the food critic in ratatouille?
    just roll up your sleeves and try the jellied bitters and other oddities, and tell us what you think!!!!
    eating three times a day gives you your advanced degree in food tasting!
    i would like to take a ten year old there,and have them eat some of the things that were mentioned and read their review of the $275 meal!!!!! it would be “real” and a heck of a good read!!!!!!

  18. what are jellied bitters, anyway??

    i tried to look them up and cant find out what they are.
    “jellied bitters”……i cant even conjure an image of a jellied bitter.

  19. Have you ever been to CityZen? Because I had the nearly exact same reaction. It was not good enough, certainly not for the price or the reputation. The food was overwrought and heavy, there was no delicacy or subtlety to the flavors to me – I guess there’s something to be said for simplicity in knowing what something will taste like from the description on the menu, but that’s not why you spend hundreds of dollars on a meal.

    To the critics of this blog – get over yourselves. Clearly this blog is not trying to be haute cuisine and the authors do not portray themselves as anything more than amateurs who like food, like cooking and like talking about both. It’s amusing and interesting not necessarily for its insights but for its humor and humility.

  20. Quick thoughts:
    1) Ezra, it sounds like that part of your unhappiness with Per Se might have been its failure to live up to your expectations (you keep coming back to how for $275, it should have been better than a $125 meal.) What’s interesting, perhaps, is what the price point is meant to signify here which is likely NOT just “the food is of the highest quality.”
    2) I think the question of the IFA’s potentially out-sized influence is an intriguing one.
    3) It needs to be said. Sichuan peppercorns in a marinara sauce does not create fusion Sichuan-Italian cuisine, just a spicy tomato sauce.
    4) I like the posts about learning to cook and new recipes, in particular because I am never going to be the sort of person who goes to Per Se regularly enough to have opinions about whether the kitchen is having an off night, but I might make fresh bagels or pretzels.

  21. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Internet Drama Edition « ModernDomestic

  22. I think it’s probably fair to review a restaurant like Per Se after a single meal. Hardly anyone has the wherewithal to go there on a regular enough basis to see how the whole menu fits together, so the reviewer who goes to Per Se once is actually having a similar experience to most of the restaurant’s patrons.

  23. Ezra,

    I appreciate the compliments on my writing. I do, in fact, have a blog, but I don’t want to start a blog war type of thing, so I don’t list it.

    About Per Se: I guess I didn’t explain myself very well, but I’m not at all expecting reviews from the point of a chef. Chefs have plenty of insider information, and of course, they don’t need a layman’s point of view from that end. Rather, I’d say it’s a bit unfair to re-evaluate the cost of the meal post facto. You knew what you were paying for going into it. You knew that there are restaurants all over the country that serve at least comparable fare (I happen to think Manresa, Le Bernardin and Charlie Trotter’s are better, but that’s personal preference). However, when I ate at the Laundry, I didn’t evaluate my experience as one $150 more expensive than Manresa. I won’t pretend it didn’t affect my judgment, but I tried to just compare the food at both restaurants at the same level. You seem like a smart guy, and I’m guessing you knew going into it that you were paying the Keller premium. To talk about these things in terms of absolute per-dollar value is fine, I guess, but I think it’s better to put it in perspective. For example, people who buy Kate Spade bags don’t bemoan the price tag later, saying they could have gotten an equally stylish bag from an up-and-coming designer. The brand was so much of what they were buying, they should have known. Enough has been written about Keller’s restaurants for people to know that there are at least ten other restaurants in this country doing equally good, or very close, food, for much less. In a strange, but I think appropriate, parallel, I think it’s disingenuous for Americans to say how much cheaper the food in Thailand or Mexico is, and to use price in their comparisons to Thai and Mexican food in America. Though I know it’s not quite analogous, if we’re going to evaluate the food at a certain place, the relative value of it has to taken into account the information we had going into it.

    For my response to the nature of the blog, I’ll post on the latest defense posted to day by K.

  24. drcripptic

    for what it’s worth i ate a per se back in 2006, and i, too, was dramatically under-whelmed. both my brother and i thought that while the meal had strengths, there were some glaring, horrible failures (like the essentially inedible cheese course). also, would have to agree with the arc, not great.

    on the other hand the dinner i had at the french laundry is vying for the top spot amongst the various meals of my life. so i’m not sure its keller that’s overrated so much as his new york efforts.

    like any art or craft, food is complicated enough that study and experience enhance appreciation. but, you know, restaurants like per se are supposed to be the experiences that make you you understand more about what is possible with food. and when they fail, it is the chef and his team that have failed, not the diner.

    ps the ifa is great, precisely because it’s unprofessional, relaxed and populated by dilettante. that’s what makes it fun. and we all need more fun in our lives.

  25. The challenge of restaurants that have built a reputation and a name for themselves is that they either have to consistently live up to it or relentlessly strive for new, fresh ideas to draw repeat clientele. Consistency in general is challenging, I would say especially in the food service industry – chefs’ temperaments change, waitstaff have off nights, the sommelier’s wife just left him, whatever.

    That said, a few points:

    1. $275 is a lot of money for a 9-course experience without wine pairings, but it’s hardly out of the ordinary these days.

    2. I think that anyone paying $275, without wine, for a 9-course experience has a right to some expectations. The right to have those expectations fulfilled, of course, is at the discretion of the restaurant, and is subject to change without notice.

    3. The IFA-ers maintain this site as a hobby. It serves as an informal space for friends to share their experiences, both failures and successes, with the world. Subjectivity is a beautiful thing. If you don’t agree, don’t read. I personally find IFA anywhere from informative to funny to a little irritating, but I keep coming back because overall I like the perspective.

    4. I have to admit, my inner word geek cringed a little at the use of palette versus palate, but Ezra gets a bye from me. Heat of the moment and all that.

    5. Separate but related: I recommend Ruth Reichl’s book Garlic and Sapphires, about her years as the NYT restaurant critic. Fun read.

  26. I think the essence of our dispute is that I think the Keller brand was a promise of perfection. I wouldn’t pay $275 for a meal by a chef I wasn’t confident in (well, I probably wouldn’t pay $275 for any meal as I work in a dying industry). The message of the Keller brand is that it justifies the Keller premium. My dinner didn’t. That’s the point of the post.

  27. Dining at a restaurant such as Per Se is not comparable to buying a handbag.

    A handbag purchase, in marketing terms, is a purchase relying on ‘search’ product variables. You can learn every important fact about a handbag *before* your purchase (except possibly others’ reactions to said handbag, but even those can be estimated). You can learn about the materials, see the quality of craftsmanship (and I guess you could even taste it prior to purchase).

    With a restaurant, the product/service is based on ‘experience,’ which can only be evaluated post-purchase. You can read the menu, but you must trust the chefs to actually give you the quality experience. Like Ezra states, he’s not handing over $275 to eat IFA cooking, but could, prior to the meal, entertain the thought of Keller creating a ~$275 dining experience.

    This comparison was much more difficult to palette than seeing a homonym pop up in a blog comment.

  28. I think people’s problem with this review is not that Per Se can’t be criticized or that it can’t have an off night or whatever. Of course, a $275 meal is to be held to the highest standards, and you are free to dislike a Per Se meal.

    The problem with this review is that its criticisms aren’t particularly credible. Sentences like the following, for example, do not build confidence: “My cheese course came with cold potatoes and haricot verts that tasted like something you pick up at Whole Foods and bring to a picnic”.

    Well, no. There may well have been something to criticize about that dish, but that the garnishes tasted like something from Whole Foods is probably not it. It is no good to say in response that that’s how it tasted *to you*. If so, then you are either wrong, or someone had snuck me into Per Se to cook that night.

    Or how about this sentence: “One of my tablemates complained that my dessert tasted like a car air freshener (I didn’t think it quite that bad — but I thought it bad)”. Again – really? That’s just not a plausible description of a Per Se dessert. It’s like someone writing that cutting taxing always produces more tax revenue and then being puzzled when people disagree.

  29. Pingback: French Laundry, Yountville CA « Belly Love

  30. Pingback: NYC Dining Scrapbook or How I Found The World’s Best Cookie « Capital Spice

  31. I know I’m coming in late here, but according to what I’ve read (Michael Ruhlman), Keller is allergic to oysters which is why he has never tasted “Oysters and Pearls.” I think the server should tell the truth and not some fairy story.

    I’ve eaten at Per Se twice and it was amazing, so there I must disagree.

    I do love the blog though, keep up the good work.

  32. RM: Why is it not credible that green beans and potatoes couldn’t taste “like” something from Whole Foods?

    The best green bean in the world is still merely a green bean, and I don’t think Keller has some magical source of pixie-dust-coated ones that are ineffably better than the ones Whole Foods purchases, processes, and sells.

    There’s an excellent chance they’re indistinguishable at the raw ingredient level, in fact.

    So I find it utterly plausible that a dish that had been, say, left sitting too long because of an off night by the waitstaff or kitchen could taste very much like something you could purchase at Whole Foods.

    Per Se can have an off night, because not only can any restaurant have one, every restaurant does.

  33. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Internet Drama Edition | ModernDomestic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s