Per Se: Jackets required, huh?

I'm in the New York area at the moment, doing some family things, required government-oriented paperwork and so on. Whenever I'm here I do like to treat myself to at least one interesting restaurant meal. So, this time around I thought of going to Per Se, the famed Thomas Keller establishment. I've never been to a Thomas Keller establishment.

I went to their pretty but so user-unfriendly Flash-only website (see my rant against this deplorable practice) and, after having to reload the site because it was coming up blank a few times, was dismayed to find that they require jackets (though not ties) and 'no tennis shoes' (I guess they mean shoes, how quaint) for lunch and dinner. I am travelling light and only have shoes of the 'tennis' variety, and my planned dining partner (who is a much more exacting and well-travelled gourmet than I am) is rather firmly anti-jacket, so it looks like Per Se is out for us. Bummer.

Now, I do go to some very good restaurants from time to time, in both Switzerland and France, with multiple Michelin stars and all that. In the past year or so I've been to several such places, including my favorite in Provence, l'Oustau de Baumaniere. I can't remember the last time there was a jacket-required notice at any of them. The clientele was still neatly dressed, but not necessarily wearing a jacket.

So, what's with this jacket required thing? Is it necessary anymore? Is it a U.S. thing, or perhaps an Anglo-Saxon thing? I think some London restaurants may still say this, though arguably the best 3-star restaurant in the UK, The Fat Duck (which is not in London) does not.

What do you think?

(Also, if you want to suggest a must-go-to restaurant in New York that I should check out that's not Per Se, bring it on!)

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