Thomas Keller breaks silence after harsh NYT review

Two weeks ago, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells delivered a scathing review of acclaimed chef Thomas Keller and his New York City restaurant Per Se.

Demoting the restaurant from four stars down to two, he likened restaurant's dishes to "bong water" and railed against the poor service and efforts to upcharge diners.

The review sparked questions about why anyone would drop hundreds of dollars at the ultra-luxe restaurant and whether or not Per Se is still relevant.

Now, Keller, who also owns Napa Valley's esteemed French Laundry and several other fine dining establishments, has finally responded in open letter posted on his website to his restaurant guests.

He writes that he was disappointed by the review, but acknowledges the restaurant's shortcoming, stating “we believe we can do better for ourselves, our profession and most importantly our guests.”

Here's the full memo:

"To our guests:

At all of our restaurants, in our kitchens and dining rooms, we make every effort to provide you with the best possible experience. We consider it our professional responsibility to ensure that every one of you feels special and cared for. 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 not content resting on what we did yesterday. We believe we can do better for ourselves, our profession and most importantly our guests. We have the opportunity, the tools, the self-motivation and the dedication to do so.

When we fall short, we work even harder. 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."