Perigee - a disappointment (LONG)
I was there on Friday with my bf, for an anniversary dinner. We went with the 7 course menu, with wine pairings. Total cost came to $570. Definitely not worth that amount of money.
We did enjoy our meal, and the experience, but there was nothing that really blew us away, and a few things that really bothered me.
My meal started with a tazmanian trout dish, which was by far my favourite for the night. I then had a crispy braised octopus salad, roasted breast of squab, terrine of foie gras, aged prime rib of beef, cheese course which was made up of a blue cheese (I forget what exactly) and then dessert was chocolate and raisin filled dumplings.
The trout was amazing, paired with fingerling potatoes, onions and rapini. I'm not sure if the great flavour came only from the fish or how it was cooked, but I loved it. The octopus salad was good, inventive but not too flavourful. It was served with charred corn and roasted peppers on baby romaine. There wasn't much overall flavour except for the char on the corn. The squab, again, tasted more of char than anything else. It was served with romano beans and onion purée. The terrine of foie gras was like butter, good, but for me a bit overpowering in its decadence. I enjoyed the popover they served it with. The prime rib was served with a tangy zucchini side, which I felt was a weird match up to the wonderful beef. The cheese came with a to die for date mousse, my second favourite after the trout. And finally, dessert was good but didn't blow me away.
After much discussion, we chose to go with the wine pairings. People responded to my question saying that the service was iffy, some had a good experience, others terrible. Ours was so-so. The wines were dropped off with a recitation of the type of grape, the vineyard, year and region that it came from. But there was no explanation as to why the wine was paired with the dish, if it would enhance certain flavours or cut the richness etc. Other experiences I've had led me to believe that the extra information is the norm. I found the delivery of the wine somewhat terse and unfriendly.
In particular, after a couple arrived and sad next to us that many staff in the restaurant seemed to know, the service dropped off. At one point, our main courses arrived, and our wine hadn't been served yet. Not so terrible, except that the wine steward was standing right next to us chatting to the couple. It took him a few minutes to realize we were missing our wine, at which point he excused himself from the couple, gave us our wine, raced through his explanation, then went back to the couple and apologized to them!!! I was pretty livid after that. It didn't help that he then proceeded to serve all of the wines after our courses arrived for the remainder of the evening.
They did give us complimentary champagne for an anniversary toast, and the chef and staff were all very friendly in the kitchen. But the fact that I found only one dish outstanding of 7, and paid top dollar for the food, is a huge disappointment to me.
We both walked out of the restaurant feeling disappointed that we had spent the money, and will not be back to this restaurant. In contrast, we went to Splendido last year and were blown away by the majority of our meal. The wine service was amazing, and overall it was a much better experience for the cost.
I was at Perigee on Wednesday with my wife and some friends, and we had the opposite experience. We enjoyed it unanimously, and I heard no complaints from our party regarding the food or service.
Every single one of my courses was fantastic; the details are fuzzy, but I remember courses based around pickerel, wild boar, seared veal, foi gras, and scallops. The boar and foi gras were new to me, and blew away my expectations. I'm usually not a scallop fan, but these ones were fantastic, melting in my mouth with a smokey flavour. If all scallops were like these, I would definitely be a convert.
None of us had the wine pairings, we just ordered drinks on the side as needed. For those who had wine, the server offered suggestions to match with the course about to arrive when they ordered the wine. Perhaps this is not ideal from a wine-food pairing perspective, but none of us really wanted to drink 5 or 7 glasses of wine on a week night. Our focus was admittedly the food, not wine.
So without the wine pairings, the tab came in at less than $150 per person. I thought that was very reasonable, considering the number of unusual foods I was able to try in one sitting, the overall quality, the entertainment of the open-kitchen concept, and the friendly personal descriptions of each dish by chef Pat Riley. The other servers were all friendly, efficient, and helpful as well.
Perhaps it comes down to expectations; admittedly this is not my "normal" dining experience, so maybe I was more easily impressed than someone who is more jaded by frequent experiences at similar restaurants. Based on my visit, though, I'd definitely recommend Perigee to anyone who asked.