The New York interpretation of what many consider America's finest restaurant, Napa Valley's French Laundry, Per Se is chef Thomas Keller's Broadway stage. The large dining room is understated and elegant, with touches of wood, towering florals, and sweeping windows with views of Central Park. Keller embraces seasonality and a witty playfulness that speaks to his confidence in the kitchen, and some of his dishes are now world renowned, such as the tiny cones of tuna tartare
topped with crème frâiche, and the "oysters and pearls"—tiny mollusks suspended in a creamy custard with tapioca. Dessert service is a multicourse celebration of all things sweet, including a choice of 27 house-made chocolates. Service is sublime, as you'd expect. An à la carte "salon" menu is available in the front bar room, but let's face it: if you manage to snag a reservation, there's nothing else to do but submit to the $295 prix-fixe. It's best to make reservations at least two months in advance.