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Thanksgiving at Perilla

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3 courses for $65--appetizer, first course, side, dessert---reasonable.

Except you have to share the side.

You have to share the side. ON THANKSGIVING.

When I confronted the waiter about this ridiculousness, he hemmed and hawed, averted his eyes, mumbled something about "the portions being large."

All well and good, I told him, except I wanted potatoes and my dining partner is a diabetic.

"Well, it's how the restaurant usually does it."

Except today is Thanksgiving. THANKSGIVING. At which point he acquiesced and said we could split portions.

So much for the home-y, welcoming touch. At $65 a pop.

I ordered a peekytoe crab and sea urchin appetizer. What I got were crab clumps swimming in a gloppy, briny soup. Beyond awful

Turkey. Tasteless, gristle-y. I've had better in diners. Gave over 1/2 of it to my partner. Got my mashed, though. Fine. Enjoyed his brussel sprouts side as well.

We couldn't wait to flee the place (and weren't about to spend a penny more) so we got our desserts to go. Will eat them soon but at this point, who cares? .

I've had too many crap experiences of this kind in mid-level Manhattan restauarants lately and they're a waste of time and money. It will be a long time before I do so again.

9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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  1. That's disappointing to hear. That's a place I would think would serve an interesting and delicious T-day meal. I must say, though, that the one time I dined at Perilla it was fantastic and I plan to go back soon.

    1. I've been to Perilla a number of times and it has always been fantastic and reasonably priced. Are you really complaining about spending $65 for three and a half courses in NYC on Thanksgiving? They accommodated your request and gave you two sides, so why are you complaining about that? If it was THAT big of a deal to you, why not just order an extra side anyway, aren't they less than $10?

      1 Reply
      1. re: heWho

        "Are you really complaining about spending $65 for three and a half courses in NYC on Thanksgiving?"

        Did you even read my post?

        "They accommodated your request and gave you two sides, so why are you complaining about that?"

        I'm complaining because I had to jump through hoops to get what I wanted. And if you don't see the absurdity of a restaurant requesting diners to share a side on Thanksgiving because it's easier for THEM, then nothing I can say to you would make any difference.

        "If it was THAT big of a deal to you, why not just order an extra side anyway, aren't they less than $10?"

        I don't care if it cost a dime. When you offer to pay for my side, I'll happily order another. See ya!

      2. I'm surprized about this as well. Never had a bad meal there, including NYE last year, which was a similar format.

        1. I am very sorry to hear about this experience. I know exactly what you're talking about, because I dined at Perilla both this Thanksgiving and last Thanksgiving, and both times found it extraordinary. The sides issue was one that I knew about before going this year (having been last year and not getting the farro risotto I loved so much so the in-laws could have both kinds of potatoes), so I had pre-prepared my emotional blackmail on the farro risotto front. For me, it is what it is--their policy under their pricing for the meal. I wish that they would formally offer to serve additional sides at a set price (as they do on their regular menu), but to me this is and was a small point. For you, it was a big point, for which I can't fault you. The turkey, short ribs and swordfish were all excellent. Appetizers were enjoyed by all. The sticky toffee pudding made me wish it was Thanksgiving every day of the year. The sides, including the farro risotto, were perhaps the best of all. I'll go back every year until they stop letting me--to me, it's actually the perfect option for a group of eaters with disparate tastes--the sides notwithstanding, the variety of entrees offered and the quality maintained make it my go-to feasting wonderland at the holidays..

          1 Reply
          1. re: planetjess

            I was also there and I have to agree with you on the having to share the sides. For a $65.00 price on a Turkey dinner which is CRAZY, at least offer sides per person.
            Come on now Harold.. are you going to spoil this great place by doing foolish things such as this !!!!!

            $65.00 for a turkey dinner is crazy as it is..

          2. To update this, here's the rundown of my experience at Perilla this Thanksgiving. I've been to Perilla for every Thanksgiving since they started doing Thanksgiving, so that's four years now. Still love it. Notes from this year:

            1. Our waiter was fantastic. He was bubbly and personable while not being overly familiar, answered a number of detailed questions, and went out of his way to help us find things that one of our party who has dietary restrictions could enjoy (down to checking ingredient labels on beverages). He engaged us throughout the meal about what we were enjoying more or less and why that might be, was extremely attentive and kept the pacing both prompt and leisurely.

            Floor manager also stopped by to welcome us back--I'm by no means a regular; I go three or four times a year plus thanksgiving, but she remembered us from past years and came by to thank us for coming again.

            They're also continuing to show good humor about Harold's "star factor" even several years on from Top Chef--a couple at a table next to us was new to the restaurant but asking excitedly if HaroldfromTopChef was in the kitchen, and the waitress engaged them in a goodhearted conversation about it.

            2. Amount of food served: One major improvement they have made since previous years was to the "sides" policy--it used to be that a certain number of "sides" for the Thanksgiving prix fixe was alotted to a table based on the number of diners. For four people, it was two sides, for years (per previous posts by me and others in this thread). This always caused some acrimony with my party, as someone always ended up not getting the side they wanted. This year, everyone got to choose a side. For four people, that was four sides, and each one of those sides was plenty for three or four, meaning that everyone could have some of everything, like a proper Thanksgiving. There was a ton of food served. The selected entree was basically the protein with a few fluourishes, like purees, sauces, some veg, etc., then you would be adding scoopingfulls of stuffing, potato puree, yams and/or brussels sprouts from the sides. The protein sizes served to us were normal sized. Not "twee" in any way, not massive, but absolutely normal for a full entree size protein, which, when added to the sides, was a feast-worthy amount of food. This is all what came *after* the first course. Every one of the first courses served was a very substantial portion. There was so much food, in fact, that none of us could take more than a bite or two of dessert, and the desserts we were given were very good.

            3. Food quality: There were some hits and some misses, though the misses were more like "changes we weren't sure we liked." Specifically, in the latter category, there have been serious changes made to the duck meatballs dish. This has been a signature dish for the restaurant since it opened, and is very familiar to any non-vegetarian who has eaten there multiple times. This dish is almost unrecognizable now. The formerly delicate orbs have just about tripled in size, and in level of spice. The waiter attributed this to a new prep chef who does things differently, but I hope truly that someone schools that prep chef in what this dish used to be. Was it bad? No. It was actually very tasty. However, it's not the dish we expected--the massive amounts of meat overwhelmed the ratio to pasta, broth and quail egg, and the heightened level of spice caught my husband off-guard. He doesn't like food that's more than mildly spicy, but had had the dish a number of times before with no issue. This time, he couldn't finish it. Luckily, I did.

            My cod with burgundy truffles was lovely, and my husband thought his short ribs were delicious (this from a guy who orders short ribs frequently and doesn't think the ones at Craft are up to snuff). My in-laws were very happy with their turkey. My brown butter carrot soup was extroardinarily delicate while comforting. Ginger bread pudding, apple crumble and various sorbets kept us attempting to shove more food in, though we had to admit defeat.

            The one actual disappointment for me was the stuffing. Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving staple, and I was thrilled that the way the ordering was set up, we could have two sides of the stuffing and I could monopolize one. It was decent, but yes, lacking in depth of flavor, and uneven in consistency between moist and somewhat dry. They could work on this for next year--I have great confidence they will.

            Bottle of malbec was delicious and reasonably priced.

            Upshot: I'll be back next year.

            9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

            1 Reply
            1. re: planetjess

              I also dined at Perilla for Thanksgiving and have to say it was somewhat disappointing but not a total bust. I called in advance because my dining partner is a vegetarian and I wanted to make sure there were options. I was told there would be at least one pasta/risotto and another vegetarian dish. Upon arrival we were told there was only a vegetable plate! Having dined there a few times in the past I figured they would put out all the stops so we went with it.

              Apps: I had the sea urchin and crab - I have to agree with the comments above; it was a bit of a mess. The carrot soup on the other hand was divine.

              Entrees: The turkey was quite good; moist with well seasoned gravy but the stuffing was eh? i didn't eat the vegetable plate..it looked very pretty but not what you would expect from Perilla for a Thanksgiving entree. I was told it tasted ok but nothing special.. a big disappointment.

              Sides: We were each offered a side; nothing was said about sharing. We both had the brussel sprouts which were fantastic.

              Dessert was gingerbread pudding; very good and something chocolate; can't recall but very rich and hard to finish.

              Service was pleasant, attentive but not intrusive. So overall, if not for the vegetarian entree, I would give this meal higher remarks. The person answering the phones should not have misinformed us. I live in the neighborhood and will be back; maybe even share my experience in person if the opportunity presents itself.

              9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014