Counting calories at Per Se

I’ve noted here before that mandated calorie counts are motivated more by contempt for fast food restaurants and the people who patronize them than by legitimate health concerns. After all, no one is talking about posting health warnings at trendy high end restaurants where duck fat and pork belly are standard ingredients. And how do these places compare? Charles Stuart Platkin visited Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York last year and sneaked out samples of his lunch there for testing in a lab. Here’s what he reports:

The single most caloric menu item was the foie gras, weighing in at 435.4 calories; followed by café Liégeois (basically a gourmet brownie with ice cream), with 185.8 calories. The single least caloric was the buttermilk sorbet, owing in part to its spoon-size portion (23 calories). All told, the nine courses tallied 1,230.8 calories, 59.7 grams of fat, and 101.7 grams of carbs. The total rises to 2,416.2 calories, 107.8 grams of fat, and 203.7 grams of carbs if you include the extras: a salmon amuse-bouche, wine, dinner rolls with butter, and chocolate candies. These might not seem like giant numbers, but that one lunch has 60 percent more fat than the average adult, on a 2,000-calorie regimen, should eat in a day, according to the FDA… It’s also roughly equal in calories to six slices of DiFara’s cheese pizza, ten Gray’s Papaya’s hot dogs, or, it seems appropriate to note, four and a half Big Macs.

Of course, if you can afford to eat at Per Se, you’re by definition smart and fashionable enough to enjoy the meal without being harassed about your waistline.

[Thanks to Barzelay for alerting me to the story!]

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