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Pete Wells Thinks Per Se Is 'Among the Worst Food Deals in New York'

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The Times critic encounters many service stumbles and wan dishes during his meals.

[The dining room at Per Se]
[The dining room at Per Se]
Daniel Krieger

Times critic Pete Wells eats rubbery cheese, chewy lobster, cold oatmeal, and grainy chestnut puree during this three meals at Per Se. He also notes that the pricey supplements "can cause indignation," and the service embodies "oblivious sleepwalking" at times. Thomas Keller's fine dining restaurant has received four-star ratings from the Times on two separate occasions. But now the restaurant has lost its luster. Wells writes:

The classics would suffer if you changed one element. With the notable exception of some desserts that Elwyn Boyles, Anna Bolz and their pastry team elegantly wove together, I couldn’t say that about many other recent dishes.

The kitchen could improve the bacon-wrapped cylinder of quail simply by not placing it on top of a dismal green pulp of cooked romaine lettuce, crunchy and mushy at once. Draining off the gluey, oily liquid would have helped a mushroom potpie from turning into a swampy mess. I don’t know what could have saved limp, dispiriting yam dumplings, but it definitely wasn’t a lukewarm matsutake mushroom bouillon as murky and appealing as bong water.

He loves the sea bass, the agnolotti, the risotto, the caviar over bonito jelly, and the roasted sunchokes with beets. The critic does, however, find that the service can be "oddly unaccommodating" at times, and at $325, you don't always get your money's worth. Wells writes: "With or without supplemental charges, though, Per Se is among the worst food deals in New York." Two stars.

In fall 2014, Ryan Sutton also awarded two stars to Thomas Keller's restaurant in the Time Warner Center.

Per Se

10 Columbus Circle, Manhattan, NY 10019 (212) 823-9335 Visit Website