Sam Sifton’s final restaurant review: Per Se
A meal at the restaurant at the end of September brought pan-roasted Massachusetts cod, with applewood smoked bacon, briny littleneck clams, pickled garlic, celery and shoots of parsley. “Clam chowder” was the description on the menu, as “shiny glass” might have advertised a diamond. The cod had a sweetness beneath its crisp, salty exterior that was distinct from that of the clams, which claimed the texture of the bacon. It was a pure distillation of autumn east of the Bourne Bridge, a Hopper painting made edible, seafood squared.
I’ve never eaten at a restaurant of such a high caliber as Per Se or French Laundry, but it’s a major goal of mine. As a person in constant search of impossible perfection, I wonder what this kind of experience feels like. Is the best restaurant in the world ‘good enough’?