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Perla

Perla, the new Italian restaurant owned by Gabe Stulman (Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey's Grocery, Fedora), opened last week at 24 Minetta Lane in the space formerly occupied by Bellavitae.

The chef is Michael Toscano, formerly of Babbo and Manzo, and the menu is rustic, hearty, and, based on my first visit, quite delicious. I liked the garganelli with tripe (simmered into the sauce so the texture wasn't discernible), guanciale (crisped like lardons), and tomato. Also enjoyed the duck breast and duck leg confit with cabbage and pancetta. I thought it was even better than the duck at Babbo and Scarpetta which I also like a lot.

The restaurant is already packed but you can get the full menu at the bar. Service is efficient and very friendly. It's probably not the place to go if you want a quiet dinner but for something new and lively Perla is worth a visit.

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Perla
24 Minetta Ln, New York, NY 10012

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    1. re: kathryn

      Hi all,

      Thought I'd revive this one to reflect a recent visit (Saturday night - 6:15pm).

      Having managed to secure a friend to babysit, my wife and I set out on a belated two years in NYC celebration, birth of our son, second date night in 9 months, completion of NYC marathon night out. We thought about many places, but we wanted something familiar and relaxed. Perla has always ticked all these boxes for us, so it was a natural choice.

      A few notes:

      1. The Tomohawk old fashioned has got to be my favorite cocktail right now. Perfect balance of spiciness and just overall an exceptional way to start the evening (I had 2 - one at the beginning and one at the end).

      2. the roasted cauliflower salad was excellent. The anchovies bought the perfect level of saltiness and the pine nuts added a great contrast in textures.

      3. Burrata with salmon roe was great, although I thought the burrata was a little on the cold side - I would have preferred a more room temperature presentation, but maybe this is just how its served.

      4. Agnolotti was perfect as usual.

      5. The veal head for 3 (for 2) was excellently done. Nicely presented to show us the head itself and then taken to the back with the head meat ala plancha to crispen it up. The brain was turned into a sauce and was like Brain mayonaisse in the best way imaginable.

      6. The Apple strudel was excellent and a perfect way to end the meal.

      A couple notes on that service:

      1. Daniel the manager came over to welcome us back and say thanks for being patrons of the restaurant since opening. He was actually finishing up that night to start something new/different so it was great to have the chance to say goodbye to him

      2. Our waitress (who seems to be our waitress each time we go and bears an uncanny resemblance to Kristen Bell) remembered us as the couple who sat at the chefs counter the day after we got married which was sweet of her.

      3. The meal finished with a complimentary digestif which rounded things off nicely.

      Once again, a fantastic meal at one of our favorite spots in this city full of amazing spots. Cannot recommend it highly enough.

      Thanks,
      Dan

      1. re: r32nissan

        On a recent visit I enjoyed the crispy testa with pig's ear and cannellini beans and the agnolotti with beef cheek and brown mushroom butter. I will have to try the veal head!

    2. You beat me to it! We popped in on Friday and sat at the back bar for cocktails and some of the smaller plates.

      Initial impressions: food is alright, cocktails good to very good, but I just didn't feel like the value was there compared to Joseph Leonard (which is our personal favorite out of all of GS's restaurants). We had the foie gras tramezzini (our favorite, I think), whey-fed pork, buffalo mozzarella with almonds and brown better, Brussels sprouts with ricotta and green onions, and the bolognese pasta.

      The tramezzini was tiny (as we sort of expected) and the other dishes were all relatively small for the cost. Buffalo mozzarella was nothing more than three chunks of fairly average mozzarella in a watery brown butter with slivered almonds on top. The pasta was by far the best thing.

      We weren't expecting huge portions or anything, but the check ended up $100+, pre-tip, with one cocktail each (2 people) and a few small plates, whereas I feel like we've had entire meals at Joseph Leonard for around there. Additionally, I do sort of feel like the server really pushed the menu format of three courses—an antipasti, a primi, and a secondi—even after I said we just wanted small plates and drinks.

      There was nothing wrong with any of the food, but I just left with the feeling that it wasn't worth I had just paid. I don't know if I'll be back with so many other good options in the neighborhood at the moment.

      1. Here's the menu (it's not on their web site, annoyingly):
        http://www.scribd.com/doc/86946527/Pe...

        1. Great! thanks for the review. Good location for me, and I like the dishes you mention

          4 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Anyone else been recently? Thinking about it for a date night spot.

            1. re: r32nissan

              It is way too noisy if you want to speak with your date.

              1. re: doriswallace

                Well...my fiance and I have been together for over 10 years so whilst conversation is important, food and atmosphere rank quite highly also. :)

                On that note, has anybody tried the roasted lambs head special? I was going to head there tonight but after calling and finding out the special was unavailable, I will try again when it is.

                1. re: r32nissan

                  I've gone to Perla on a few dates and the noise level is about the same as Babbo and Scarpetta. The only downside is the wait, but you can order food at the bar or chef's counter. It's a great place.

          2. Here is Time Out New York's review - 4 stars (out of 5)
            http://www.timeout.com/newyork/restau...

              1. re: peter j

                Interesting review. The reviewer complained a lot about the prices. But the prices aren't really that high. The meal will cost cheaper than any good sushi meal. Or cheaper than say, Il Mulino. The food does sound tempting. I'm not sure I like the crowd but hey, I'd be going to eat, not to share their Dom Perignon.

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  So anyone had a chance to try the lamb's head special yet? I'm pretty excited about it...alternatively, any recommendations on items to order? Thanks.

              2. went there this past saturday night. food was very very good-(well the steak a tad chewy.-but one problem-don't sit in the room that's closest to the kitchen-too hot on a summer night-the moment i walked in and hit the wall of heat, i knew i was in trouble-i should have requested a table in the room closet to the front door-but otherwise great especially the duck and beef tongue!

                 
                12 Replies
                1. re: jkrapala

                  Wow, i didn't know they had beef tongue. I have to go back , and of course sit in a cool area of the restaurant

                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                    Okay, so went back to Perla the day before July 4th for a celebration dinner with my wife (we found out we were pregnant) and a few additional comments.

                    The place continues to serve up excellent food and very good service. We were seated in the front section and managed to get a table straight away (we arrived quite early (6pm)) and the place proceeded to fill up quickly around us.

                    Dishes had:

                    1. wild green salad with gorganzola, pistachios and raspberrys (deliciously fresh and a great start to meal especially with the current wave of heat we are experiencing)
                    2. crispy pigs ears (favourite dish of the night. Wonderfully crispy and chewy/gelatinous - definitely a must order)
                    3. Garganelli with tripe and guanciale (at first, I was disappointed as I expected the tripe to be more pronounced - it is cooked and muted with vanilla as most tripe should be, but is then passed through a grinder and cooked through the sauce. However, as I continued to eat, the crispy morsels of guanciale and the wonderful tomato based sauce combined with the perfectly al dente pasta made this a hit).
                    4. Agnolotti (unbeliveably silky and wonderfully moreish. Made with short ribs and something I can't remember, my lips were smacking from the gelatinous goodness for ages - a good thing).
                    5. Beef tongue (the most tender piece of tongue I've ever had - beautifully presented and a great interpretation of a tongue dish).

                    A few points on the service.

                    1. As my wife was pregnant, they were very accomodating with following up with the kitchen to determine pasturization of any dairy and any items we should be aware of - something we appreciated greatly.
                    2. I had 2 cocktails, the first being the house's interpretation of a sazerac which was excellent (albiet a little smaller than I would make at home) and upon asking for a recommendation for something in a similar vein but different, was wonderfully surprised with an excellent concoction off menu (the name escapes me now, but it includes rum and sherry).
                    3. The waiter suggested a non-alcoholic beverage for my wife which Mr. toscano's wife had created for her previously, and beautifully named "the bump"
                    4. Unfortunately, the 2nd "bump" was served accidentally with alcohol in it (my wife only sipped it) and after profuse apologies, the removal of both drinks from the check, and a complimentary dessert (panacotta which we were told without asking, was pasturized), we didn't consider this to be a strike against the service in any way - these things happen.

                    Overall, another excellent meal at Perla, and one of the few places in the city we have returned to for repeat dinings (not because we do not like other places enough to return, but because there are so many places to try in this great city of ours).

                    1. re: r32nissan

                      I love the garganelli with tripe. Congrats on the good news!

                      1. re: r32nissan

                        Nice review. Makes me want to run there tonight! Congrats on the future chow pup!

                        1. re: r32nissan

                          Great report! One question: What is "moreish"? May your wife have an easy pregnancy and childbirth.

                          1. re: Pan

                            "Moreish" is a Britishism recently in vogue there that means that the food item makes you want more.

                            1. re: Sneakeater

                              Pretty confusing, considering it's a homophone of Moorish.

                              1. re: Pan

                                You mean like, what would you say if you went to a Moroccan restaurant where you didn't find the food compelling?

                              2. re: Sneakeater

                                Interesting. I'm actually from Australia originally and can't even recall how I picked up the phrase. Sneakeater hit the nail on the head with the response. :)

                                I'm actually in Ottawa right now and will be back home in a few days. Maybe dinner at Perla is in order. Fingers crossed the roast head specials will be on the menu this time

                      2. Had an amazing experience at Perla this weekend. Definitely some of the best food and service I've had in a while. Highly recommend it!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: abs28

                          I'm a big fan as well. The fazzoletti with chanterelles and garlic chives is currently my favorite pasta dish.