It’s not every day that someone surprises you with a reservation to Per Se, one of Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurants (although some critics would disagree), which is, for some reason, located in a very nonexclusive building complex in Columbus Circle. More than a decade ago, Jimmy Fallon’s then-girlfriend Nancy Juvonen was one of those lucky people to snag a day-of res, but unbeknownst to her it came at the worst possible time: Fallon was planning to propose to her that evening, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to do it over citrus-cured Montauk fluke and black winter truffles. “I was dying to go to Per Se. It was like, Oh my gosh, this is a big deal; I really do have to go to Per Se,” he recalled. “But I don’t want to get engaged at the restaurant. I wanted to get engaged at, like, Gramercy Park or something that will always be around, a classic. I didn’t want to go to a restaurant because what if in 30 years the restaurant changes hands, and now it’s a laser-tag place. ‘Kids, this is where your mom an I got engaged, at the laser-tag house.’”
Instead of trying to force a proposal after their meal, Fallon chose to wait a few weeks until he and Juvonen traveled to be with her family at a lake house in New Hampshire. He brought her down to a dock, queued up some Harry Nilsson, and became a blubbery mess. It was an easy yes. “And then the whole family started cheering from inside the house,” Juvonen added. Oh, and the ring? Neil Lane, before The Bachelor began to ruin his image.