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A baked cauliflower dish served at the restaurant Per Se.
A baked cauliflower dish served at the restaurant Per Se.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Michelin-starred chef apologises after his restaurant is savaged in a review

“It is imperative that we improve and evolve every day. We constantly examine ourselves, our menu, our service and our standards.”
Jan 28th 2016, 11:48 AM 47,462 34

GETTING YOUR RESTAURANT a four-star rating in the New York Times is a big deal for Big Apple eateries.

Currently, just five restaurants hold that distinction.

That number was six until a couple of weeks ago. Per Se, in the city’s Columbus Circle area, had attained its four-star rating following a stellar 2004 review just weeks after it opened and another review in 2011.

In the years since, standards seem to have dipped. When NYT food critic Pete Wells went there for dinner at the start of the year, his four-hour meal came to $3,000 (€2,750) for four.

So, you would expect a fairly sensational experience, right?

Not so, says Wells:

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.

He concluded his review by giving the restaurant two stars, which is NYT for “very good”.

In response to the review, Per Se chef Thomas Keller, who holds seven Michelin stars, didn’t respond angrily, instead apologising.

TOP CHEF RETURNS Thomas Keller in the kitchen of Per Se Source: AP/Press Association Images

In an open letter he wrote:

“To us, it is imperative that we improve and evolve every day. We constantly examine ourselves, our menu, our service and our standards.”

“Regretfully, there are times when we do not meet those standards.

The fact that The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells’ dining experiences at Per Se did not live up to his expectations and to ours is greatly disappointing to me and to my team. We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards, but we make mistakes along the way. We are sorry we let you down.

“We are confident that the next time you visit Per Se or any of our other restaurants, our team will deliver a most memorable experience.”

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Paul Hosford

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