I suppose it never hurts to add crème fraîche when you’re looking for creaminess, but this bowl has changed my view of broccoli.
Ah ha, I know what you’re saying, that’s not wine. You’d be correct. That is Blue Apron Ale from the Brooklyn Brewery, a beer brewed exclusively for Keller.
Well, there is a bit of soft shell under that eggplant chip. In addition to the eggplant chip and the soft shell crab, there was a squash blossom pesto, and tomato marmalade. As I had quickly come to expect, the soft shell crab was perfectly cooked but what really caught my attention was the cold San Marzano tomato marmalade. It was improbably thick and the essence of all things good and tomato. In short, it was an amazing bit of crab but even better tomatoes.
A white truffle oil-infused custard with a ragout of black winter truffles and a chive potato chip
It was a variety of salts including black Hawaiian salt, blush salt, and others I can’t quite remember, but why bring a selection of salts?
To go with a slice of slow poached Hudson Valley moulard duck foie gras. There were other parts to this dish too, Virginia peanut brittle, cherry belle radishes, macerated blueberries and watercress, but it was all about the foie gras.
Actually, I’m being unfair, the macerated blueberries were a welcome touch of sweetness to each bite of foie gras which was then counterbalanced by a few grains of salt. It was all delightfully excessive.
As a testament to the clairvoyance of the wait staff at Per Se, I knew full well that these two pieces of toasted brioche wouldn’t be enough to try every salt and foie gras combination, but before I could raise my hand to ask for more bread, a fresh tray was brought to my table. I knew that Per Se was known for superb service but this was something else.
The Nasturtium caper emulsion was welcome touch of salinity that played quite well with the langoustines, haricots verts, and Eckerton Hill Farm’s tomatoes.
Like almost all sweetbreads, this had a near molten, creamy interior but this was wrapped in a wonderfully seared exterior and served with a sauce verjus that brought the whole dish together.
As you’d expect at this point, the meat was expertly cooked, but I was impressed with the combination of flavors on the plate. I usually enjoy my steaks solo just to relish the flavor of the beef, but the Shishito pepper, Honshimeji mushrooms, and Tamari jus brought an extra level of crispiness and meatiness to this plate.
Hailing from Kansas City, this cheese was smooth and pungent while the compressed summer melons, fennel bulb, garden mint, aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil gave ample room for flavor pairings.
Lemon “Genoise”, Tri-Star strawberries, sake granité and ginger sherbet all made for spectacular palette cleanser. From the tiny, perfectly ripe strawberries to the crispy sake granite, this was a cool and crisp as summer could possibly be.
Tcho chocolate “cremieux”, compressed bing cherries and maple bourbon ice cream,
I have absolutely no memory of what I choose and my notes are just chicken scratch, but they were completely on par with the rest of the meal.
Did I mention that I was also brought a variety of desserts?
More truffles and hard candy, it was all too much. There was no way I could even hope to finish it all but my waiter had already thought of that. While I was trying to eat just one more petit-four, he offered to box the rest up to-go and he asked if I would like a tour of the kitchen.
It was like a showroom but cleaner.
The kicker to the kitchen tour was the big screen above the kitchen floor, there you could see a live feed from the kitchen at The French Laundry. When I was brought to the kitchen, Chef Keller looked up to the camera and showed off his new magazine. It was a slightly surreal experience.