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Per Se, Midtown West

Time Warner Center, 4th Floor
10 Columbus Circle
Midtown West
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 823 9335's insider take:

Can't get a reservation at Thomas Keller's quasi-mythic French Laundry in the Napa Valley? You probably won't land one here, either. You aren't even allowed to call until two months in advance of your requested date. (Try for lunch, or in July and August, when New Yorkers tend to ditch town. Tables for two are the first to book solid, so larger parties may have more luck.) The space hints at California rusticity with a fireplace, but the overall tone is sober (this is Serious Food, you know), and the pricey, French-influenced menus are strictly big city ($275 for nine courses, not including wine, with a smaller a la carte menu on offer in the lounge). A notorious perfectionist, Keller devises small-bite tasting menus that include plenty of lavish ingredients: You'll probably get the famous "oysters and pearls" (oysters with tapioca and caviar), lobster tail, and an endless stream of sweets. The staff is extraordinarily knowledgeable and relaxed, which is a good thing, since meals can last up to four hours. Only a chef of this caliber could expect time-stressed New Yorkers to sit still for that long. The surprise is that they seem to be doing just that.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.