June 4, 2015
"Where should we meet for a drink near Columbus Circle?" we asked each other, ticking off the possibilities. We thought about Porter House, Stone Rose, Jean Georges. We considered going up to Lincoln or Bar Boulud. But it was just a drink, and so in the end we opted for Per Se. After all, the price of a glass of wine doesn't vary all that much from place to place.
It was early, and the entire salon was filled with the late afternoon light. The sedate room was hushed, and I relaxed into a pillow-strewn sofa. The wine, served in almost weightless glasses, was cool and crisp. I was instantly happy to be in this calm oasis. And that was before they brought out hot, tiny gougeres that evaporated in the mouth like so much cheese-scented air, or that beautiful sorbet of marcona almonds above, in its elegant pluot wrap.
The flavors were so seductive we each ordered a little something more. Why not?
Out came a beautiful mousse of foie gras, surrounded by cherries in a pistachio scented gastrique. That green tuile on top? A crisp little bite of matcha, Japanese green tea. The silken mousse arrived with this sextet of salts and little puffs of warm brioche. Sheer luxury.
My companion chose these gorgeous ricotta anolini, strewn with a spring pea custard. Such an extraordinarily delicate dish.
….and this remarkably intense truffle custard, nestled into an egg shell.
This is sumptuous indulgence on a very grand scale. You wouldn't want to get accustomed to eating like this. But every once in a while it's wonderful to be reminded that, somewhere in the world, some people are living the luxe life. It's nice to know you can join them if you're so inclined, for a short, sparkling interlude.
To me it was like going to a spa: the effects of this little sojourn have buoyed me up all week.
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