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Jan 14, 2008 07:28 AM

Perbacco - East Village - thoughts?

I was looking for an inexpensive yet tasty dinner in/around the East Village/Alphabet City and came across a couple positive posts for Perbacco, an Italian tapas restaurant. Though the posts were a bit dated, decided to give it a try. Went early (around 5PM) on a Sunday night and the place was empty (which was a good thing). It's a pretty small restaurant so I could imagine it being kind of a bother if the place was packed and you had to wait for a table. We were a party of 3 and ordered 5 small plates and 1 pasta dish- which was the perfect amount of food. The service was attentive (then again, we were the only ones there)--- after we placed our order, a basket of tasty breadsticks and slices of bread, along with a dish of small olives and oil were set in front of us. Our water glasses were always filled, and delivery of our plates was well-timed. The plates came out in pairs- first, the arancini, five pieces housed in a brown paper cone with a bright marinara sauce and the crostini with walnut, honey, pear and pecorino. The crostini was a little over-honeyed but tasty. Next came the homemade cured beef tenderloin carpaccio with arugula and parmesan cheese mousse (I forgot what the cheese mousse was after I placed the order- it looked like a cross between a sour cream and a chevre) and the lamb skewers. The carpaccio was more thickly sliced than I was used to, also a little more moist, but again, not necessarily a bad thing. The lamb skewers were small (3) but juicy and succulent. Last came, the potato gnocchetti with sausage, stewed leek and pecorino cheese and the polenta with fontina and thinly sliced truffle. The polenta was deliciously cheesy- a nice bit of comfort food- and still warm and bubbling when it was served. I think the gnocchetti could have been served a bit warmer, and that the sausage stood out more than the pasta itself. You could really smell/taste the fennel(? I think) in the sausage. We each spent about $25 pp (sharing the 6 plates, no drinks) including tax and tip. I would definitely come back for a 2nd visit when I'm in the mood for variety on a budget. I'm not sure I was wowed, but I'd give it another shot/try more from the menu, or sample one of the entrees. Has anyone else been recently?

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  1. i went a few months ago and really liked the food and service. Can't remember exactly what we had, but it was all good and I remmember loving dessert which was strawberries with a vinegratte dressing which sounded weird, but so delicious.

    It was not that busy when we went either, but we were on the late side, around 8pm or 9pm on a weeknight.

    Our bill was higher given that we had wine, but all in all I would definitely return when in the nabe.

    1. Finally got to Perbacco Friday night. It's a lively place. I sat at the bar (only a few stools and not much room). They only take cash and Amex (I left home without it . . .). Wine list is Italian. My server was Alex and service was very good. On to the food:

      I started with the creme brulee Parmigiano Reggiano with balsamic vinegar reduction on top. Very rich. Probably won't get it again, but it was good.

      I had homemade spaghetti with sardines, almonds. This was light , simple and delicious. I love sardines so I was very happy.

      I forget details of what I had for my entree but it was my favorite. The "special" was several small fish wrapped in something thin and green on a bed of "tomato soup" with oven roasted tomatoes. Very good.

      I would go back on a week night when it's less lively and crowded. Two glasses of wine, app, pasta course and entree were around $70 without tax and tip.

      The menu on is NOT the current one and their website said coming soon.

      1 Reply
      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        i expected something a bit more creative but my dinner at perbacco was solid overall. no major rush to go back but if i was in the east village and craving italian and not the dreck that they serve these days at max, id consider perbacco.

      2. Here's the NY Times Review. It was very unusual for Bruni to give 2 stars to a small east village restaurant (he usually gives as much credit for the architeture as the food)

        1. We ate there last night, a cold Spring Saturday night, while on a weekend in NY from Miami. I found the service warm, attentive, and engaging. The food was different, but quite good--clearly some thought has been put into every dish, as each dish seemed to represent something slightly different. A pasta with raisins, almond slivers, for example--a merluzzo over polenta in a pesto broth. The only dish that went slightly off was a special "chocolate foam" creatiion last night--kind of like a weak mousse. All in all, a solid, creative, warm, place. I think the two stars NY Times review is on the spot. Enjoyed it and I would return.