Apiary or Perilla for a birthday dinner?
I have a reservation for Apiary for my birthday next month, but I'm somewhat torn between there and Perilla. We went to Perilla in late 2007 and enjoyed it, and I've heard nothing but good things about Apiary, so can anyone who has been to either lately make a recommendation? Any insight would be appreciated - I'm torn! Alternatively, other recommendations with similar cuisine and price range would be great, but I'd love to decide between those two as well.
I haven't been to Apiary, so I can't comment, but I've never had less than a very good meal at Perilla and have had several excellent ones. I'm no longer in the neighborhood regularly, and I still eat there every couple of months. I think it has a really nice atmosphere; after, perhaps, a first visit, decor at a restaurant only matters to me if it is very very good or very very bad, and Perilla's is neither, IMO. If you were a Perilla fan in the past and end up going to Apiary this time, I'd be interested to know how you think they compare.
From most recent visit/memory, if you do end up going to Perilla, I'd recommend the lamb belly (if you're over the duck meatballs), the duck, pork trio or hanger steak, and my favorite farro risotto on the side.
I'm a big Apiary fan, and think Scott Bryan has definitely taken the kitchen up a notch. Visited Perilla maybe a month or two after it opened and I do not plan to go back - it was "OK" in every respect, but nothing really grabbed me. I also didn't love the decor (or the decor at Apiary, for that matter).
I've had some dishes at Apiary, on the other hand, that I thought were pretty outstanding. Have been three times and not had a bad meal.
I am not native to NYC but I visit once or twice a year. On my most recent visit a couple weeks ago I went to Apiary (mainly because, like you, I had heard all good things) and it was not very good. I got the prix fixe, my dining companions ordered a la carte. I tasted pretty much everything on the table and none of it was worth going back there to eat again. I would *really* not recommend it for a special occasion.
Also, the service (with the exception of the bartender) sucked.
Whitney, funny I asked the same question recently with a slight variation: Apizz vs. Perilla and chose Perilla (not going until next week). I had also been thinking about August (which I've heard great things about) and Scarpetta. Have you looked into Blue Hill? We went there last year and were very impressed (altho I think since the Obamas went it may be hard to get a reservation).
But on a similar note, any good places around that area to go for a drink before dinner? It's for dh's birthday and he likes classic cocktails as well as interesting or unusual beers. I mean, it's the West Village, so obviously there are a billion places, I'm just not up on the area anymore.
I did consider Blue Hill, but I'd prefer to keep entrees in the $20s if possible. I've been to and loved Perilla, but I'm also anxious to try Apiary, so I'm a bit torn on this one.
I'm not the biggest drinker (and wasn't of age when I lived in the West Village) but Blind Tiger on Bleecker is often recommended for interesting or unusual beers.
I had my birthday dinner for 6 @ Apiary last night, and it was outstanding. There is a reason Scott Bryan got 3 stars @ Veritas, and I assure you, he has not forgotten how to cook.:-)
Highlights were the duck (both preparations), pork chop, the chicken (one of the best I've had) and the scallop appetizer.
Service was excellent, from the bar to the waitstaff, to the sommelier.
We will be back, and in greater numbers!