You need to meet Perla. You know, that restaurant that EVERY restaurant critic and magazine has drooled over calling it one of of the best restaurants. I am a big fan of Gabe Stulman and his Lil Wisco restaurant group (Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s, Fedora, Chez Sardine) because of the unobtrusive, relaxed atmospheres. He pumps out one of a kind, memorable and unique dishes that other chefs/restaurateurs are not creating causing a strong attraction to all of his places. I loved it. I died. I burst out into song (basically) and the staff is so cute. Not to mention, with first step into Perla you can feel everyone’s beauty and coolness drifting through the air. However, it’s not like Meatpacking. No one is too cool for this place and this place isn’t too cool for anyone which makes it even more awesome. I love the welcoming bar at the front which is full of dudes that I wished I was on a date with. The maroon colored booths and banquettes make it feel like a pimped out study and the bar at the back is also great for parties of two. The open kitchen reveals the manpower behind the plates and you can watch the dishes come out and interact with the chefs. The entire experience is interactive and the service is great. The staff is young and fun to talk to. There are quirky decorations on the window sills like a gold plated lion, a globe and a hanging airplane.
Perla makes you feel as if you are at someone’s dinner party. They flatter you with complimentary tasters as soon as you sit down: think ricotta and honey toast and foie gras macarons. Yes, foie gras macarons. It’s a ridiculously crazy idea and I like it. It reminded me of an iced oatmeal cookie? We started off with the octopus which was good but underwhelming compared to the rest of the masterpieces laid before us. The Brussels Sprouts fall into the category of “Best Brussels in NYC” along with Saxon & Parole, The Smith and Westville’s. It’s sweet and tastes like candy. The Veal Sweetbreads with Tongue killed it. Although it literally looked like tongue around the sweetbread, this snack rocked and would be great late night. The next surprise were the pasta courses consisting of a simple Tajarin pasta with Black Truffles, Sage and Parmigiano that made you want to slam your face into the empty bowl and lick the last of the sauce at the end. The Black Spaghetti with Skate & Cauliflower was also a winner and I loved the seafood with the noodles. The Pappardelle with Veal Stew & Foie Gras was my third favorite and a big success for the table. When someone shaves foie gras over your pasta before your eyes, I guess it’s hard to forget with each bite. As if this amount of food wasn’t enough we then enjoyed the Beef Rib which was so incredibly tender and a tad sweet. It disappeared within minutes of landing on the table. The Artic Char was awesome too and the butternut squash made it even more desirable. The only thing that was a no no was the chocolate shortbread delivered with the check.
Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of this place and was plotting how I could come back for brunch the next day without being too excessive. This is the best meal and dining experience I’ve had in a long time, and I felt so proud and high upon exiting. I could eat here every night. Basically you need to run over now. It’s impossible for me to overhype Perla, it’s just that life changing.