PERLA – NYC
24 Minetta Lane (nr. Sixth Ave.) New York, NY 10012
Perla is a welcoming little spot on a tiny hidden street in Greenwich Village that features rustic Italian food has been getting a LOT of hype since its opening in the spring. It is related to the very popular group of restaurants headed up by Gabriel Stulman which includes Fedora, Jeffrey’s Grocery and Joseph Leonard. The space is long and narrow with brick walls and dark wood furniture and a nice warm vibe upon entering with the only natural lighting coming from the window at the front which opens completely in warm weather.
One night several weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to dinner at Perla by a friend who was entertaining some clients. With a big group we were able to order many of the items on the menu and sample all of them. While overall the meal was very solid, some dishes were far better than others and I think that dining really well here comes down to ordering properly. That said, I will definitely return and have also recommend Perla to friends.
Perla decided to create their own signature potato chip called chips all’Amatriciana that are served upon arrival. These chips are thinly sliced and dusted with a mixture of spices including garlic, chili flakes, some dehydrated tomato, guanciale and topped with a nice coating of freshly grated Pecorino Romano.
The chips just made us hungry for more so we were thrilled when a couple big platters of Island Creek oysters hit the table.
The steak tartare was interesting in that they went extremely light on the seasoning. You could really taste the fresh meat rather than just capers or mustard or salt. Topped with a tiny quail egg this dish tasted almost creamy.
We also had the crispy fried soft shell crab to start which was quite good from what I could tell as I only managed to snag a bit of a leg. Of course this is one of their seasonal dishes as soft shell crabs are really only available in the spring.
Next were the famed fois gras “peanut butter and jelly” sandwiches. As amazing as these sounded I was a bit disappointed with the product. Slightly bland and way too much bread for the amount of filling, I think they could have been a bit more generous with the main ingredient.
The pasta course consisted of 3 dishes. The cavatelli with duck ragu and fois gras had a deep rich flavor and the fresh pasta had a nice bite to it.
We also had black tagliatelle with peakytoe crab and cubanello peppers which was just a tiny bit spicy. I think it is risky to make a crab dish too spicy because it has such a delicate flavor but this one was nicely done.
The gnocchi with spicy tomato sauce and ricotta was very light and delicate. The sauce was exactly right consistency and stuck to each piece of fluffy potato pasta. Sadly fo me the dish was practically demolished before I even had a chance to snap a photo so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
One of the entrees that we had was a special striped bass that came highly recommended. I have to say this was very disappointing and was actually incredibly bland. Luckily it is not part of their permanent menu.
My main course was skate wing with artichokes and black truffle. I cringe whenever I get a dish that is served with artichokes that taste like they came out of a jar but these tender little bites definitely never made it anywhere close to a canning plant. The skate was seared to perfection and was golden brown and crispy on top and succulent on the inside. To make the rich fish even more special it was topped with shaved black truffle which added a whole new element.
Perla is a must-try and I think it will become an even more difficult reservation to get come fall…which is hard to believe because at the moment you will likely be offered a choice of 5:30 or 10:30pm. Good luck!