The kitchen could improve the bacon-wrapped cylinder of quail
simply by not placing it on top of a dismal green pulp of cooked
romaine lettuce, crunchy and mushy at once. Draining off the
gluey, oily liquid would have helped a mushroom potpie from
turning into a swampy mess. I don’t know what could have saved
limp, dispiriting yam dumplings, but it definitely wasn’t a
lukewarm matsutake mushroom bouillon as murky and appealing as
bong water. […]
Both dishes, though, came at an extra charge: $75 more for the
caviar and $175 for the risotto. The supplements at Per Se can
cause indignation, among other emotions. When my server asked,
“Would you like the foie gras” — $40 more — “or the salad?,” the
question had an air of menace. When the salad turned out to be a
pale, uncrisp fried eggplant raviolo next to droopy strips of red
pepper and carrot, it felt like extortion.
Some of those prices came down slightly when the baseline cost
went up. With or without supplemental charges, though, Per Se is
among the worst food deals in New York.
Per Se was one of only six restaurants with four stars from The Times; Wells knocked them back down to two stars.