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"Unpretentious perfection" starts with the "superb" nine-course tasting menu at chef Thomas Keller's "flawless" French–New American in the Time Warner Center and continues with "inspiring" Central Park views and "approachable", "amazingly well-orchestrated" service (again voted No. 1 in NYC); granted, the $295 set price may be "astronomical", but overall this jackets-required destination is "hard to top" for a "bucket-list" indulgence.
Critics and savvy diners agree that Thomas Keller's Per Se is the best restaurant in the United States (with the possible exception of Keller's Napa Valley original, The French Laundry). And that's mainly due to Keller's unexpected riffs on traditional Continental cuisine, presented from an American viewpoint. Meals start with a salmon tartare "ice cream cone" that is a signature of the restaurant and hints at the whimsical plays on homey favorites that lie ahead. This includes oysters and pearls (a creamy sabayon of oyster, caviar and tapioca); a frozen butterscotch with caramelized popcorn and whipped earl grey tea; caviar served with avocado; ginger-almond financier with hibiscus gel and pear sorbet cake, and so much more. The simple bi-level dining room takes advantage of its views of Columbus Circle and Central Park, and the staff is among the most knowledgeable and engaging in the city. Diners should plan for a four-hour experience, and that the $295 price tag does not include tax, gratuity, or beverages. Alas, many of the best dishes — foie gras, wagyu beef — come with significant surcharges. But an after-dinner tour of the kitchen is always free.
1, A, B, C, D to 59 St - Columbus Circle
What to tell a cabbie
Take me to the Time Warner Center at 59th and Broadway.
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