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Quince or La Folie? [ San Francisco ]

I've eaten at La Folie a half-dozen times and at Quince once. Last summer I ate at both in the same week and found the food at La Folie far more satisfying and memorable.

Here are photos from those meals:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/82765022@N03/sets/72157635006680375/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/8276502...

Apr 13, 2014
degustingdiary in San Francisco Bay Area

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

I'm afraid not. The GM simply apologized, asked for my address and sent what he sent, thereby reducing to zero the probability that I will ever consider returning to Per Se or TFL.

Nov 05, 2013
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

From urban dictionary: "to intentionally ignore a person in order to appear superior."

Nov 05, 2013
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se's surprisingly disappointing desserts

kosmose,

Don't hold your breath.

I had a most disappointing extended tasting menu last summer (see the thread here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855519), where both the black truffles and dry-aged wagyu were suspiciously absent, despite being on the menu we were handed as we exited the restaurant.

At the urging of chowhounders, I sent a message to Per Se via their website and eventually spoke to the general manager about the experience. About a month after our confab, I received a mother of pearl spoon and a picture book called One Day at Per Se. I found it to be a grossly inadequate attempt at a remedy. For the sake of comparison, ulterior epicure experienced a few service hiccups at The French Laundry and ended up receiving a comp on an extended tasting menu at Per Se. I guess I just had the misfortune of not being an important enough patron.

It probably goes without saying, but I haven't been back since.

Nov 04, 2013
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Salon and Daniel prix fixe or Eleven Madison Park Tasting Menu?

Easy choice (at least for me): EMP.

Nov 04, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

EMP's Vegan Tasting Menu

I was in town with two friends, one of whom is a vegan, and despite my best efforts, I was unable to locate any photos of what a vegan meal at EMP would include. Attached are a sample of some of the dishes she was presented with the full set here: http://degustingdiary.blogspot.com/20...

Hope this helps the vegans out there looking to splurge!

Aug 19, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Three-Day Trip Report

Same thing I wore to EMP and Jean-Georges: slacks, a button-down shirt and a blazer (and a couple days without a shave).

Aug 16, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Three-Day Trip Report

Just got back from a three-day trip that included revisiting some of my favorites and trying some new restaurants.

**The NoMad**

Food: okay
Highlights: basil-fennel-lemon soda and Milk and Honey
Service: okay
Pr(return): low

Let me explain, in brief, and keep in mind that EMP is my favorite restaurant in New York. Humm and Guidara's NoMad, alas, just left me so sad: fifteen minutes passed from the time I was seated to the time water was poured; a confit of suckling pig with a impressively bronzed crust lacked even a tincture of salt, and it was served with an unpitted cherry (tsk, tsk); and an affogato had so much granita that it watered down the entire dessert. Fortunately, EMP is only blocks away and can cascade over any unsavory memory with alacrity.

**Eleven Madison Park**

All one can do at a restaurant like EMP is sit back with unalloyed admiration and marvel at the scope of their accomplishments, and that's exactly what we did.

Food: world-class
Highlights: the smoked couscous, the mosaic of foie gras and the smoked corn (but honestly you cannot go wrong here; just about anything they put in front of you will be revelatory)
Service: world-class
Pr(return): 1 (at this point a jaunt to New York without a trip to EMP just wouldn't seem right)

**Empellon Cocina**

Food: very good
My photos of said food: terrible (I use a snap and shoot, folks, and their tenebrous dining room didn't make my camera's life especially easy)
Highlights: (1) lobster with Tetilla cheese and tortillas and (2) shrimp with crispy masa and sea urchin mousse
Service: very good (better than I expected, and better than it needs to be)
Pr(return): high

**Marea**

Food: very good, though neither dish was faultless. Despite coating each bite of lobster with a healthy carapace of burrata, I was still left staring at a large mound on the plate. As for the fusilli, it was delicious, but the portion was Flinstonian: after a half-dozen bites, the bottom of the bowl remained elusive, leaving me wondering if there was some sort of self-replenishing mechanism at play.

Highlights: predictably, the fusilli

Service: good

Pr(return): low (why, you might ask? See ambiance below)

Ambiance: stuffy. Until lunch at Marea, I never understood what people meant when they referred to a restaurant as stuffy. Well, now I do. It was as if they were embarrassed to have okayed my reservation. They seated me at Table 1, a table that hugs the set of stairs leading into the dining room, a table where no guest walking down those steps into the dining room would have to see the scruffy tatterdemalion who made it through their sieve of affluence. Indeed, my disheveled disposition may explain why I was never offered a look at either the wine or cocktail lists--did they think I had already been drinking at noon on a Wednesday?--and why no one was seated within a two-table proximity of me. I can tell when I'm unwanted, so I didn't bother looking at the dessert menu. Instead, I ambled across Columbus Circle over to Jean-Georges where I enjoyed two desserts!

**Jean-Georges**

Food: excellent
Highlights: ruby shrimp with uni and the strawberry-themed dessert
Service: very good
Pr(return): high

http://degustingdiary.blogspot.com/

Aug 16, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Brilliant dinner at Corton

Glad to read you enjoyed dinner, ellenost. While my second dinner there in June was a bit of a letdown, I agree on the mignardises, especially their huge canelé. I'm interested to see who's going to fill the huge lacuna Shawn Gawle leaves.

Aug 11, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

Hi all,

I just want to provide an update: I ended up contacting Per Se the day after ellenost, DGresh and RGR suggested I do so, spoke with the GM about the extended tasting menu dinner and today in the mail received a One Day at Per Se picture book and a mother of pearl spoon for which I have little use, seeing as how I only eat caviar at two and three-star Michelin restaurants.

Obviously it's not on the same level as getting an extended tasting dinner comped, as RGR's friend was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of, but nevertheless I appreciated the gesture.

Aug 03, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Providence for a First-Timer

I second perk's suggestion to contact Donato. I've eaten at Providence a half-dozen times from 2008-2011. The front-of-house was always middling, especially when compared to three-star Michelin restaurants in the Bay Area and New York. After a comically awful experience last June, I finally decided to speak with Donato. He was apologetic and said if we ever decided to visit again--we haven't--he would take care of us.

Jul 31, 2012
degustingdiary in Los Angeles Area

Dish Recommendations at Marea and Empellon Cocina

Wow, thanks, Riverman! I was planning on adding one course to their $45 two-course business lunch, but you've made that decision far more challenging.

Can I ask what about Empellon Cocina you dislike?

Jul 30, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Dish Recommendations at Marea and Empellon Cocina

Thanks, Cheeryvisage! The crab-uni spaghetti sounds delicious.

Jul 30, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Dish Recommendations at Marea and Empellon Cocina

Hi,

I'll be in New York for a short stint in mid-August and will be eating at Marea (for lunch) and Empellon Cocina (for dinner). Aside from the lobster-burrata salad and fusilli, are there any other dishes at Marea worth trying? Similar question regarding Empellon Cocina: aside from the lobster with Tetilla, what are the other must-trys?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Jul 30, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

"Game Changer" restaurants for an NYC trip

Others may disagree, but I would suggest skipping wd~50 and Le Bernardin. The Bay Area has a number of restaurants that deliver more exciting and more delicious food: Coi, benu, Atelier Crenn, Meadowood etc.

There's nothing like EMP on either coast, so whether it's for lunch or dinner, it should be a treat (though I prefer lunch given the lighting and $70 markdown on the tasting menu).

Jul 19, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

A question or two or three or four about dining at Providence, Los Angeles

Q1: you can certainly call ahead, request an extended menu and specify your per person budget

Q2: yes. Indeed, I would recommend adding the spot prawn dish to whatever menu you select

Jul 13, 2012
degustingdiary in Los Angeles Area

Per Se advice (beverages, menu)

To your menu dilemma, they don't need to be mutually exclusive. If, for example, you want to replace the first course on that evening's vegetable menu with oysters and pearls, the kitchen will have no problem accommodating such a request. Having eaten at Per Se twice last month--one extended menu and one vegetable menu--I found the vegetable more exciting. But that may just be an artifact of my affinity for vegetable-heavy tasting menus.

Jul 12, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Recommendations for a Three-Day Trip in June

Last report of The Modern Dining Room. The rest of the photos are on my blog: http://degustingdiary.blogspot.com/. Thanks again for your help in making my trip so memorable.

I didn't expect The Modern to reach the three-star altitudes I had witnessed earlier in the week. And it didn't. The lemon verbena and cinnamon-laced popcorn was stale. The yuzu marinade on four formidable langoustines masked any trace of top-of-the-sea freshness the crustaceans once bore; that plate also had a bewildering abundance of cucumber, far more than I knew what to do with.

But there were also moments rich with excitement: a tantalizing cloud of applewood smoke filled the air as a server removed the plate's carapace, revealing a smoky, caviar-laden sturgeon-sauerkraut amalgam in a flaky tart shell. And that was soon followed by a delicately poached farm egg that explodes across the bowl upon knife pressure as if it were in a Tarantino film. Now I'm not one to profess a meretricious devotion to egg dishes, but the one-sided salt onslaught--parmesan, olive tapenade and Iberico ham--paired with the egg worked wonderfully. Dessert became a delightful ordeal, a hedonistic treadmill, highlighted by a towering pineapple-citrus macaron that went on being a joy for ten minutes.

Service was stellar throughout with my section of the dining room managed deftly by Erin, blonde and bespectacled, with an endearing awkwardness, the kind characteristic of many academics. I'm convinced I had one of the best seats in the restaurant: looked after by Erin, overlooking the MOMA sculpture garden, far away from the blaring bar and next to an investment banker on a date--with nary a chance of amatory success-- with a woman palpably oozing boredom as the hours passed; when not enmeshed in the complexities of a course, I was sustained--nourished at times--by the catastrophe-prone confabs of these two. I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried.

Jun 28, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Dining Dilemma

I had two meals at Per Se and two meals at EMP in mid-June. Both are world-class establishments, though--for what it's worth--I enjoyed the overall dining experience at EMP more.

If for any reason you decide to go the "couple less expensive meals" route, I would replace Le Bernardin with Jean-Georges, that is, if your intention is to remain in 3-star Michelin altitude.

Jun 27, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

Hah, sorry for the confusion. I meant if one had $330 to spend, one could have two meals at EMP for the same price as one meal at Per Se.

Enjoy your lunch!

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

Thanks for relaying that story, RGR. I'm slammed at work until the week's end, but I just might have to muster up the moxie and write them just make sure they know what happened and to prevent it from happening to anyone else!

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

ellenost: cross-referencing your mental notes with the actual menu sound like a good idea. But hopefully, when you return, there won't be any egregious oversights.

PorkBelly: thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep Brooklyn Fare in mind for my next New York trip, whenever that is.

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

Agreed! For instance, one could enjoy the tasting menu during lunch at EMP twice for the same price as the 9-course at Per Se.

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

"Royally annoyed" accurately sums up my reaction, ellenost. I guess my hesitation with writing a letter or contacting the restaurant is that I don't envision a remedy: I live in Michigan and--if I'm lucky--visit New York once a year for 3-4 days. I just hope my write-up alerts folks to the fact that spending $500 at Per Se doesn't guarantee a great meal and that the vegetable menu can provide a handful of thrills.

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

Noted. There weren't any scrambled egg dishes on the menu during the week in which I dined.

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

foodwhisperer: Thanks. Many dishes, particularly on the vegetable side, were exquisite.

gourmandish: Happy to help. I do hope there was something redeeming about your TFL meal. Have fun on your upcoming trip!

Jun 26, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

Charm approach! That's great, but I'm not sure I could pull it off. When the maitre d' stopped by our table, he said having an AMEX was the surest way of securing a reservation or imploring a Napa resort to handle the tedium. Ultimately, though, as I noted in the write-up, it'll be a while before I return to either TFL or Per Se.

Jun 25, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

EMP Duck

Yeah, I requested it when I made the reservation and--like Spiritchaser said--it served as the main course of our tasting menu.

Jun 25, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

Per Se Report: Vegetable Tasting > Extended Tasting

It was a tricky experience to describe, as I didn't want to come across as querulous.

As for TFL, I can understand why it's your favorite restaurant in the world; my lunch there was wonderful, though I do wish their reservation system wasn't so cumbrous.

Jun 25, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan

EMP Duck

Just as nmprisons described it for me at lunch a little over a week ago.

Jun 25, 2012
degustingdiary in Manhattan