Proprietors/Executive Chef: Gabriel Stulman/Michael Toscano
Greenwich Village – 24 Minetta Lane, New York, NY
perla means pearl…not very original in Manhattan….and also not to be confused with lingerie ok? How many pearl something restaurants do you know in the city?
Newly restaurant that has opened in Greenwich Village, by none other than Michael Toscano (former Chef at Babbo & Manzo)… makes his debut as head chef at Perla. Warmly welcomed, this restaurant offers bar seating, chef’s table seating in the back by the kitchen and regular tables, with large comfortable and luscious cognac leather seats/booth in the bigger tables meant for parties of 4 or more. We had the luxury to choose bar seats or chef’s table seats…and we immediately grabbed chef’s table seats. Not for a tasting menu, but bar seats adjacent by the kitchen and wood fire oven… The kitchen was in our adjacent line of view and a prep chef was preparing fresh fish at the bar in front of us. It was exciting to get them to prepare all the food in front of you and after he prepared most of the fish and the meats in the wood fire oven….
Don’t miss out on the foie gras trezzamine…. it’s not on the menu, but on their chalk board along with other specials of the day. Foie gras terrine spread on white toast with rasberry jam and pistachio butter… ultimate heaven. Thought it would be rich, but the foie gras was thinly layered and sitting next to the pistachio butter & jam… sweet and delicate. My only criticism was that I wish the bread was toasted… I hate un-toasted bread…. so it tasted a bit on the drier side. But considering how wonderful all the other ingredients are, this is easily forgivable and I am able to overlook this. The menu is broken out by appetizers, pastas (primis), main entrees (secondis) and items from the wood burning oven (mainly sharable by two people).
For starters we had the appetizer, one pasta to share & the 24 hour steak, cheek & tongue to share between two people. More than enough food…with dessert to top it all off.. Nothing tasted too heavy, portions are moderate. Execution was just about flawless… nothing was too salty or empowering… all in all, one of those almost perfect meals I had in a long time, where I go a little fun taste of everything. (foie gras steak & pasta). Will want to try the seafood next time for sure and the duck everybody keeps raving about. So far, this Italian restaurant sits pretty high up on my list…next to Scarpetta.
Foies Gras trezzamine w/ cherry jam & pistachio butter. this was gold. i wished the butter was toasted…but we don’t always get what we want.
Garganelli pasta w/ tripe, guanciale, tomato & chile. Tripe is not empowering at all, but you can faintly taste it. The tomato, chile & guanciale blend beautifully, for a faint, smokey, tasty sauce. Loved this dish.
24 hour steak.. tender, buttery pieces of filet that just melt…barely had to chew. the beef tongue was interesting… definitely was marinaded and mixed in with something else, because it tasted like spam (in an unusual, good way…)both in taste & texture. Definitely wasn’t expecting that. The best was the beef cheek… it flaked with a touch of the fork. Everything was seasoned pretty well, minus the mushrooms…. The hand was a bit heavy with the salt..but luckily the meat offsets and balances the flavors quite well. I loved this dish. I am usually not a filet person, but that night, I sure was.
key lime pudding with blackberries & polenta cake. I really wanted chocolate…but my counterpart wanted panna cotta. Happy Medium? This delectable dessert that was worth all the calories. The proportion of polenta to key lime pudding was not nearly enough. Pudding was tart & light, while the polenta was savory and thick and helped to offset the textures…and the blackberries was the happy bridge b/t both parts. It was truly an amazing dessert… and glad we opted for something new for a change. Perfect for summer.
Beautiful restaurant…. would make a great first date impression without being so grandeur in gesture. And the food is just outstanding. I am also a sucker for any restaurant that has an open kitchen and a chef’s table. I love casual eats at the bar…whether the ambiance is fine dining or not.
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