The original intent of what was my second foray into the city was to see There Will Be Blood, the critically acclaimed film by one of my favorite directors, PT Anderson, starring one of the absolute best actors, Daniel Day Lewis, working today.
This was my first moviegoing experience in the Big Apple and let me tell you, Going to the Show, as my ol’ man liked to call it, is a lot different here than it is in the ‘burg. If nothing else, the price of admission, $11.50 — gulp!! — is the first indication of how different what should be a universal act like going to the movies is different in New York.
Of course, I am going to the movies near Lincoln Center. And this location is one of only two in the entire country that is playing TWBB, as the film is being released in time to qualify for awards season. You may remember how excited I was to see ‘No Country’ — and that was just for a NYC-wide release. I think it’s pretty cool being in one of the only places you can see a certain movie.
And as great as the movie was — and it was a great, great film that would be the year’s best if it were not for the Coen brothers — it was far from being the highlight of my night. Better than the movie, the late-night caviar at… or the late, late night phone call from Shannan, was my dining experience at Per Se.
For those of you non-foodies, Per Se is Chef Thomas Keller’s four-star restaurant in the Time Warner Center. There are those critics who consider Keller’s flagship restaurant French Laundry and its sister Per Se THE best restaurant in the country. With apologies to Grant Achatz, these critics are more than correct.
I’m not exactly sure how I ended up at Per Se. After the movie, I was just on one of those long city walks that can take you anywhere you want, if you walk far enough. By the time I arrived at the Time Warner Center, I forgot how I got there and just remembered what was inside: perhaps the most important two restaurants (Masa being the other housed in the TWC) in NYC not owned by Danny Meyer.
I was feeling my oats, you know. Very Bourdainish and decided I, Peter Schorsch, lowly waiter from Saint Petersburg, Florida, would walk in to Per Se, if nothing else than to pay homage to this temple of fine dining. And that is exactly what I told the exquisitely appointed hosts when I walked through the famous door. I was a GM of a prestigious restaurant in Florida and was there to “pay my respects” to Per Se. I inquired if I could merely “peek” inside the dining room. I feared I was aasking the equivalent of popping my head into the Oval Office to say “howdy” to GW.
What happened next was simply magical. At least it would be to anyone whose favorite scent comes from fresh truffles.