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Perry Street


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It's a place where frisée provided a bed not for bacon and a poached egg, but for pickled peach and crystallized wasabi, which both suggested the way he likes to tether sweetness to tartness or to heat.
The current crop of appetizers includes red snapper sashimi and, separately, asparagus with a grilled shiitake vinaigrette. The current entrees include steamed black bass with a basil vinaigrette and sautéed fluke with a green tomato pickle.

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, of Jean Georges, 66, Spice Market and V Steakhouse, presents his newest offering in the Vongerichten restaurant empire: Perry St., deep in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Perry St. (Frank Bruni)

Discussion relating to Jean Georges and Nougatine can be found here.

For a thread on Spice Market, click here.

Discussion relating to V Steakhouse can be found here.

Click here for related discussion regarding Chef Vongerichten's track record.

A discussion of Mr. Bruni's style of reviewing and the star system can be found here.

Soba

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've had a reliable report that's quite favorable. It's second hand, so I won't go into detail, but two diners who ate there on Friday, thought I'd like it and encouraged me to try it.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I've had a reliable report that's quite favorable. It's second hand, so I won't go into detail, but two diners who ate there on Friday, thought I'd like it and encouraged me to try it.

it's fine.. ate there friday night.. called in the morning and secured a table for nine o'clock.. overall- nothing amazing, nothing that made me close my eyes and dream i was in heaven, but the lamb chops were great..

raspberry/tomato gaspacho amuse..

we split the pepper crab dumplings which were good, the seared tuna surrounded by a rice cracker which was dry, tasteless, and a waste of the tuna (all but inedible) and the hamachi sashimi which was perfect- light, tasty, flavorful..

she had the arctc char which was good.. the tomato water bath surrounding it was ok, a bit overpowering in my mind, but i'm not huge on tomatoes.. i liked the couscous and cockles side this came with..

i had the previously mentioned lamb chops, cooked amazingly well, nice crumb crust.. don't recall the accompaniments..

the chocolate pudding with candied violets was good.. nice chocolate and the violet was interesting.. the peppermint donuts with ice cream is poorly conceived or executed.. the donuts weren't really all that fresh tasting, and were extremely medicinal in their flavor.. maybe they just didn't work for either of us..

while i can't comment on the quality of the offerings, nor the markup, the pricing on the wine list was remarkably reasonable, with a number of the bottles in the $40 - 80 range..

the service was extremely proficient.. well trained in the mechanics, although the tuna went back with 80% of the dish still on the plate and the char and the donuts went significantly untouched and no one bothered to inquire whether anything was amiss.. with the exception of the greeters, everyone was pretty devoid of emotion..

the place is small.. tiny bar seating about a dozen people and a lounge for about two dozen.. couldn't tell you how many it seats (52- just read Bruni's review), but it's really not that many.. nice layout of tables and banquets.. extremely modern design, great lighting and lamps, and the light level was nicely dim.. no direct light anywhere in the place- everyone looks beautiful, which is likely the idea.. JG was in house- he spent a solid 20-30 minutes in the lounge with some friends and at least half of our meal sitting at a large table with others.. he's likely around to be seen for a while, no one should have an expectation that he's cooking in any of his places anymore..

overall, a decent meal for me.. i think Cafe Gray's opening was better.. the menu here is rather limited to nine appetizers, almost half of which are salads, and nine entrees, none of which appeared to be all that special..

Bruni says it's comfortable and back to basics.. i think it's JG coasting by on reputation.. maybe it's for those who are tired of the theatrics of high end dining, JG style.. regardless, went in with high expectations which weren't fully realized..

Edited by juuceman (log)
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I should have noted that both of my reporters are industry insiders who known to Jean-Georges, but outside of a complementry coupe or desesrt and perhaps warmer service, I don't think that made a great deal of difference in their meal in a place this size. More worth mentioning is that although this is the same couple who insisted I get to Berasategui in San Sebastian years ago, their preference is probably for excellence in execution before creativity. They noted that the menu was fairly tame. They also commented on the wine list saying it was short, but had a reasonable selection below $60. I think they even noted a few bottles under $40, which seemes reasonable these days for a place like this.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 3 weeks later...
An appetizer of bluefin tuna in a fried crust of Japanese rice crackers came with a salmon-colored, scallion-studded mayonnaise flavored with dashi, sriracha and various citrus juices. The controlled fire sparked by the scallions and sriracha blazed stronger in the middle of each bite than at the beginning and stronger still at the end. But it never singed.
Given the winnowed options, there are too many disappointing dishes. An heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad was beautiful to behold but merely pleasant to eat. Steamed black bass was dressed in a basil vinaigrette so tart it suggested some kind of accident behind the scenes. So I tried this entree again on a subsequent night: still too tart, though appreciably less so.

Perry Street (Frank Bruni)

...it's an extremely pleasing restaurant in part because it's not too ambitious.  Here the focus really is on the food.

Click on the box entitled "Jean-Georges' Empire" on the article's web page to hear an online audio presentation by Frank Bruni on Chef Vongerichten's career.

Related discussion regarding Mr. Bruni's style of reviewing and the star system can be found here.

Soba

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I had dinner at Perry St. last night - called at 7pm and got an 11pm reservation. They said if we arrived sooner we could be seated sooner and we were - having gotten there at about 10:45 the restaurant was more than half-empty. I believe they just started serving til 11:30 this week.

My date and I sat in the front row of tables in front of the small bar where a majority of parties were seated. As in the Times review, there was still only one kind of bread, of which we were each brought a roll. They did offer more rolls more than once in the course of the evening though. And as in the previous review on here, the amuse is still a raspberry gazpacho which I wish had a place on the menu.

We ordered five appetizers, no entrees. My date started with the tomato and mozzerella salad, a small hunk of mozzerella and thick sliced and stacked red and green tomatoes as well as smaller sliced cherry tomatoes. I had the dill broth with, I think it was summer vegetables. The chopped vegetables arrive in the bowl, a staffer pours the broth from a kettle, just enough to surround without sinking them. So I wasn't quite sure if it was meant to flavor them or be digested, but a minute or so later our waitress apologized and brought a spoon. The wedge of lime on the side of the bowl was actually a perfect complement to the flavor of the broth.

Next we shared the sashimi, crab dumplings and seared tuna. The tuna was perfectly edible and had a crispy outer coating it great contrast to the texture of the fish. I can't remember the sauce on the side, it was creamy yellow and looked like it had diced celery in it. The fish just didn't absorb it. Absolutely nothing stood out about the sashimi. The dumplings were great though, four of them arrived in a bowl under a pile of pea pods. They were a perfect temperature and had a perfect peppery aftertaste. Maybe a little too much soy sauce in the bowl though.

For dessert, we shared the donuts with some sort of fruit compote. I believe the donuts were peppermint. They were horrible and if they can improve on them - they're warm and powdery but also dense and tasteless and putting the spread on them dissolves all the powder - then maybe they could replace the chocolate that comes with the check. By no means are they worth the $9 price of all the other desserts.

My date also ordered the cheesecake - a much improved upon take on the beard papa cheesecake stick - flat, at least six inches long, and topped with a row of strawberries, a large serving of an intense strawberry sorbet at one end and a smaller scoop of cream at the other. I ordered the chocolate pudding, also very much worth the price. A large bowl with a chocolate shell on top of one half, whipped cream on top of the other half, and fortunately I was able to finish the whole thing to find the spongy chocolate cake bottom layer.

The chocolates with the check were two pieces of dark chocolate covered ginger which could not have been smaller and two pieces of dark chocolate with a vanilla filling.

We had two cocktails, I don't remember mine but the gin fizz on the cocktail menu was so medicinal it was undrinkable.

Overall, the staff was unbelievably friendly and the service, except for the spoon, was excellent. They make a presentation of how the food is brought out but the important thing is it was brought out rather quickly and the only courses I wouldn't order again are the sashimi and the doughnuts. The tuna and the dumplings, the cheesecake and the pudding are all worth trying. Our check was $125 before tip.

The entire atmosphere of the room from the music to the decor, and not just the curtains, go a long way in transporting you from feeling you're dining on the West Side Highway.

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When was the last time you felt that old maxim “The diner is king”? Certainly not at Perry St. where you can feel how that sentiment has faded like a great wine on your palate in a bad year. Now that new New York restaurants have moved down in class from Per Se to what I think will be the most ambitious new restaurant we will visit for some indefinite period of time, it is time to proclaim for now, at least, the end of new high-class dining in New York. My wife said how Perry St. was a variant on Joel Robuchon’s Atelier restaurants, which is a way of saying how that model of restaurant is about to define the most ambitious new dining we will be offered, which, for those of you who know these Ateliers, isn’t saying much about feeling special.

At Perry St. the accoutrements are minimal as is the décor, even if Richard Meier cooked them up. The menu is somewhat limited (but believe it or not, no tasting menus !!!!!!!) and as writers have failed to notice, tells you the bare bones about the dishes, making you ask are the fish dishes and any meat and chicken dishes on the bone?; where does the produce come from?; even how are they cooked. Almost no esoteric ingredients either, as if to limit the time the order taker needs to spend with the customers to explain what they are. Our waitress seemed the most interested in getting us to order more San Pellegrino, checking with us every five minutes even when there was lots of it left in our glasses. Finally she backed off when I told her that she was probably pushing me because management told her bottled water had the best percentage mark-up of anything in the restaurant. Also barebones is the wine list that can dispense with the need for a sommelier. At least what is there is fairly priced and, given that you need only a bottle or two, serviceable and not without interest. Also, however, it may be a recognition that the style of the food is often not conducive to serious wine drinking. Additionally, other than a small cup of an ersatz gazpacho that, even though rather sweet, was enjoyable and challenging to my taste buds, and two little pieces of chocolate at the end of the meal, no generosity was in evidence. In fact when a waitress asked us if there was anything she could get us, I said to her “such as?”,she walked away in silent mindlessness after having obviously posed a mindless question.

The cooking here is the best aspect of the restaurant. It’s only relative, though. Like French Art Nouveau or Art Deco, it’s the gustatory equivalent of decoration at the surface: textures piled on, pretty presentation at the expense of any rusticity and naturalness; and very little succulence coming from most of the produce itself. Nothing I got to taste stopped my fork between my mouth and the table. My rice cracker crusted tuna fought off the “scallion-studded mayonnaise flavored with dashi, sriracha and various citrus juices” to quote Frank Bruni’s review, half the details of which didn’t come from the menu. (and does anyone know what kind of tuna we’re talking about?). The sauce was nice, the tuna without much flavor, and a battle between the two when I put them on the same fork. I liked the black pepper crab dumplings more than my wife who thought her appetizer of frisee, goat cheese and pickled peach was the best of the three appetizers.

The best aspect of the best aspect is a certain respect for the produce. I don’t think there are any special, exclusive or secret sources here, just grabbing from the same larder of lots of other area up-scale restaurants. Yet, my rib lamb chops, if a bit more cooked than I requested (rare/medium-rare), were first rate (and from Colorado as our waitress told me after she ran to the kitchen to find out for me), as was our friend’s boneless rabbit. Too bad the gratuitous, overly hot spiciness made our Nicolas Potel 2001 Volnay Close des Chenes inappropriate with the dish. Only my wife’s lobster failed to enthrall us, due more to its being overcooked and lost in the ginger vinaigrette.

We tried one dessert, the highly-touted chocolate pudding. Next to a good, even standard-issue mousse au chocolate, it was closer to the commercial stuff from a box.

With a $95.00 bottle of wine (more than what the cuisine justifies, but not wanting to put a damper on the celebration of our friend’s birthday), I’ll be seeing a $340.00 charge for the three of us on the next Amex bill. It’s a lot to pay for a place that, as my wife noticed, is cold and devoid of any joie de vivre. Better get used to it, as they say.

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When was the last time you felt that old maxim “The diner is king”?  Certainly not at Perry St. where you can feel how that sentiment has faded like a great wine on your palate in a bad year. Now that new New York restaurants have moved down in class from Per Se to what I think will be the most ambitious new restaurant  we will visit for some indefinite period of time, it is time to proclaim for now, at least, the end of new high-class dining in New York.

This may be a bit unjust. Restaurants like Per Se can't open every day — the economy can't sustain them. Overall, the 2005-06 season is shapes up to be about as busy a restuarant-opening year as there has been for some time. With new high-end entries coming from Charlie Trotter, Gordon Ramsay, and Mario Batali, one can hardly say that the era of high-class dining has ended.

That quibble aside, Robert, if you'd like to review New York restaurants professionally, there's hope the New York Times may soon have a vacancy.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Oakapple, the New York Times roundup went in one ear and out the other, so to speak. But let's wait and see what happens when these retaurants actually do open. How long have we been waiting for the Charlie Trotter in the Time-Warner building? Three years? Four years?

God knows I have been on my high horse in the France and Italy forums about the shifting dining paradigm, so I won't go into it here.

Is your remark about the NY Times restaurant reviewing positon based on fact, rumor or wishful thinking?

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. . . Restaurants like Per Se can't open every day — the economy can't sustain them. Overall, the 2005-06 season is shapes up to be about as busy a restuarant-opening year as there has been for some time. With new high-end entries coming from Charlie Trotter, Gordon Ramsay, and Mario Batali, one can hardly say that the era of high-class dining has ended.

. . . .

Few restaurants open aiming for four stars. Perry Street was certainly not one of them and that should come as no surprise. A little as the economy can sustain a small group of such restaurants, it would seem foolhardy for one chef to try and have two of them. It would make better sense to capitalize on the name and open a restaurant with a lower overhead. I suspect the profit margin is slimmer at the top as well, though I'm not saying chefs are shortchanging diners at the lower range. I think most people Cafe Boulud as better value than Daniel, for instance. Well see how Perry Street shakes out in regard to Jean Georges.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Comfort Food New York City Entry #23

Restaurants trade in an emotional economy. Some generate joy; others, excitement; a seductive few, lust; and a bulging contingent, anger. Perry Street, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's latest outpost, radiates calm. Three of us (the other two once having interviewed Jean-Georges) visited Perry Street for a late lunch during one of the flooding rain storms in mid-October.

My experiences with Jean-Georges's empire have not been auspicious. I scorn the annoying Spice Market (although there were some staff transitions at that moment), and I had been underwhelmed by the $20.05 lunch at Nougatine. Indeed, the last time I had been impressed by a Jean-Georges restaurant was at the opening of the then-upscale Vong in Chicago.

Our afternoon changed my outlook, although drying out from our October floods may have contributed. The restaurant, designed by Richard Meier, is located in the architect's Perry Street Towers on the Western edges of the Village, another workingman's area of Old Gotham gone upscale. The space has the quiet minimalism that one expects in a Meier construction. The room is not opulent with simple wood tables with brown paper table mats. However, the tranquil whites and grays provides an aura of placid composure. I was particularly impressed by the off-white window scrims, separating the room from the busy road beyond without hiding that world. This is a room that calls for a return. Our servers were congenial, knowledgeable, and unobtrusive.

The dishes, too, radiated a confident composure. This is not comfort food as that phrase is often used, but they do comfort. The selections are not flashy with clashing flavors, but the combinations are thoughtful and demure. The taste register is not subtle, just spot-on. These dishes don't shout, but neither do they whisper. If not works of transcendence - offerings from a four-star temple - their pleasure invites a quick return.

Our amuse was the finest opening I have had in New York. We were served a small bowl filled with a celery root soup on which floated iced maple vinaigrette. The sharp maple-balsamic beautiful complimented and provoked a new assessment of the foamy herbal-vegetable base of the liquor. That the soup was served in a small rectangular bowl, lacking implements, required that in using the bowl as implement, we "tasted" the steam along with the soup.

We began with a trio of entrees. I often find that I envy my partners' choices, but this afternoon I had the edge. I began with the Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna with a Sriracha-Citrus Emulsion (and not a jarring smear, either - just a serene pool). Sriracha is a novel term - it is a Thai garlic-pepper sauce. Combined with citrus, it sparked the sashimi grade cylinders of naked tuna. The rice crackers added a texture that the soft fish and silky emulsion lacked. Not sweet-and-sour, this appetizer was mild-and-hot - and a delight.

The second appetizer was Warm Pumpkin Confit with Brown Butter-Soy Vinaigrette and Herbs. I was surprised at the solidity of the pumpkin confit, expecting a quivering dumpling, more like a quenelle. However, anything foodstuff can be preserved in oil, capturing it in amber. The pumpkin triangle captured the moment of the season, and, here as in the amuse, the tang of vinegar built upon the starchy modesty of the pumpkin.

Our third appetizer - Dill Broth with Vegetables and Lime - brought back disconcerting memories of a nasty lime pasta at Spice Market, but much is proper at Perry Street that is unbecoming elsewhere. I couldn't taste a poultry or meat base to the broth (perhaps there was), but I believe that the flavor was from vegetables and herbs alone. Although this soup might not be on my dance card next visit, the lime added to the vegetables rather than upturning them. The diced, sliced vegetables - of which there must have been a saucier's dozen - were covered by a satisfying dill broth.

My entree was "Warm Shrimp with Julienne Green Apple, Crystallized Wasabi and Coconut." The quiet row of plump, fresh shrimp was matched by a lightly transparent coconut jus on a bed of green apple matchsticks. Were that to have been the dish I would have been fully satisfied. However, the dish was made memorable by what Chef Vongerichten describes as "crystallized wasabi" and what I think of as "Pop Rocks for Adults." The wasabi was held by light green sugar buttons. I have a sentimental regard for Pop Rocks because of some writing on that small matter a quarter of century ago, but sentiment or not, these zippy beads revealed a chef's creative heart.

Our second entree, while satisfactory, was a simpler, less memorable presentation. The Grilled Paillard of Veal, Beefsteak Tomato, Wild Arugula and Black Olive was well-made, but was fundamentally beef-and-salad. Tucking into my chubby shrimp, I was not envious.

We shared a single dessert: Chocolate Pudding, Crystallized Violet and Fresh Cream. Although some of the desserts seemed on paper more creative (Baked Hazelnut Frangipane, Oatmeal Souffle), I can only eat chocolate at lunch. Here the pudding was as good as a chocolate pudding has a right to be, but it remained pudding. The rectangular bowl was bisected with two triangles, one of snowy white cream, abutting a purple rock garden of violet pebbles. A candied violet decorated the cream. Below the pudding was a thin layer of chocolate cake. If not explosive, the mixture - a riff on comfort food - proved a happy ending.

By the end of lunch I regretted departing - only in part because of the contrast between the torrent outside and the peace within. If Perry Street is not everything, it is something - and that's quite enough.

Perry Street

176 Perry Street (near West Street)

Manhattan (West Village)

212-352-1900

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

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It's interesting to note that Jean Georges (the flagship restaurant) is also serving the celery root soup as an amuse. Having recently seen the fall menu at the flagship, the overlaps between these two restaurants seem well constructed. Perry Street's Jean Georges "lite" vibe that others have alluded to seems to be establishing itself quite well.

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[...]We began with a trio of entrees. I often find that I envy my partners' choices, but this afternoon I had the edge. I began with the Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna with a Sriracha-Citrus Emulsion (and not a jarring smear, either - just a serene pool). Sriracha is a novel term[...]

Not so novel for many eGullet Society members! :wink:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 2 months later...

I went to Perry St. for a very enjoyable lunch today, transit strike notwithstanding. Anyway, I found my visit to be very similar to gaf's account from earlier this autumn. The thought behind and execution of all the dishes we had was very good, if not quite excellent or transcedent. I found myself remarking that the ideas put forth in Perry St.'s cuisine are quintessentially Jean Georges but still accessible to the competent home cook. With that said, I'm excited to duplicate the flash-fried snapper skin, bonito mayonaise, and yuzu cured pickles in dishes of my own.

For starters I sampled the red snapper sashimi, pepper crab dumplings, and pumpkin confit. All three dishes were different but all displayed great range of sweet and acidic flavors--a Jean George trademark.

Entrees included a roasted arctic char with steamed maitake mushrooms and an imaginative tuna burger. The steamed maitakes were a welcome change from the roasted and sauteed versions that appear on most menus. The tuna burger was surprisingly satisfying, evoking flavors of Japan in an undeniably Western application.

Dessert was the oatmeal souffle, a dish that consisted of a light, oatmeal-flavored souffle topping over a small bowl of cooked apples. Nothing ground-breaking here but, again, very satisfying--familiar flavors, reimagined.

Service was competent but relaxed. The space is immediately serene and relaxing while still maintaining an air of minimalist elegance.

I wish, however, that they offered tasting menus. This is the only thing that might keep me from coming back sooner.

It is worth nothing that lunch here is quite a bit more expensive than the $12/plate deal at Jean Georges (the flagship). If one craves a taste of Jean Georges' cuisine as it was meant to be enjoyed but doesn't want to deal with much of the pomp and circumstance of the Columbus Circle restaurant, then Perry St. is an admirable dining choice.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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  • 2 months later...

I visited Perry St with two friends on Wednesday. My review comes with a significant caveat. Earlier in the day, I came down with a high fever. I had already cancelled my dinner with these friends on an earlier occasion, so I was determined to keep the date. However, I was frankly miserable, for reasons having nothing to do with the food or the service.

Perry St is cool, quiet, and elegant. There are some nods to informality (e.g., the paper placemats and the lack of tablecloths), but it is still one of the more refined dining experiences you can have in this part of town. The lounge and bar area are both large and extremely comfortable, and they serve the full menu.

I tried the chicken soup ($10.50), which Ed Levine praised in this week's Times:

In the best chicken soups, the meat is added at the end of the cooking process. At Perry St., the sous-chef, Paul Eschbach, actually cooks the chicken sous vide (by vacuum-sealing it in a plastic pouch and cooking it in a water bath) separately with dill, butter, salt and pepper, and then puts it in the soup at the last second.
The chicken broth was actually added tableside. The soup bowl contained an array of fresh vegetables (carrots, radishes, greens), and the server poured the broth on top of that. The soup was fresh and tangy.

At Perry St, the menu is spare: just eight appetizers and eight entrees are offered. Our server advised that only two of the entrees have been on the menu since the place opened. One of those is the crunchy rabbit ($31), which Frank Bruni had liked, so I gave it a try. It looked like a wrap sandwich, but was warm with a crisp breading on the exterior with a splash of avocado puree on the side. Here too, a broth was added tableside. I finished only half of it, due to my fever. Two different staff members asked if there was any problem with it. There wasn't; I just wasn't up to finishing.

My only significant complaint is the bread service. There is wonderful, fresh butter at the table, but the bread rolls tasted like they were baked eighteen hours ago. At its price point, Perry St needs to do a better job with the bread.

We didn't drink (except that I had a cocktail to start). The total was about $150 for three, before tip.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I think Oakapple might have just had bad luck with the bread; I ate at Perry St with a friend last week and we both, simultaneously, remarked that the bread was terrific. Kind of ciabatta-y: very light but nonetheless chewy. And impeccably fresh, with a good crisp crust.

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I think Oakapple might have just had bad luck with the bread; I ate at Perry St with a friend last week and we both, simultaneously, remarked that the bread was terrific. Kind of ciabatta-y: very light but nonetheless chewy. And impeccably fresh, with a good crisp crust.

Curiously, Frank Bruni had also complained about the bread. I didn't re-read his review before going, so I wasn't predisposed against it. Perhaps they have good days and bad.
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  • 4 months later...

Perry Street seems to have fallen off the eGullet radar — it has had no reports here since my visit in February. I went again last night. It was a very light crowd, with much of the clientele probably being out of town for the July 4 holiday.

We found the seating pattern mysterious. Twice, the host seated a couple at the table right next to us, despite acres of free two-tops elsewhere in the restaurant. (The first time, the couple objected, and were moved.)

My friend and I ordered identically: the homemade fried mozzarella to start ($12), followed by the herb-crusted rack of lamb ($36). Both were excellent, and indeed I broke my usual rule, and had dessert. It was a coconut/caramel/banana mix with whipped cream on top, which is a can't miss combination in my book. Like last time, the bread rolls were so hard they could be used as doorstops.

As before, the menu is brief, with about 7-8 appetizers and an equal number of entrees listed. Although we both chose the expensive lamb entree, there are plenty of choices in the $20-30 range. For the quality, Perry Street is reasonably priced.

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I ate at Perry St. for lunch last Friday and it was a vast improvement over a still enjoyable meal I wrote about eight months ago. I was wondering why it had taken me so long to get back there and I think it's because I don't know what to expect in terms of food or price. I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before but Jean-Georges, Nougatine, Perry St., Spice Market and 66 do not post their menus outside their restaurants, on their websites or on Menupages. Any reason? I can't think of another restauranteur who does this.

The food was excellent. One thing that has not changed is the rare tuna crusted in broken rice crackers served with a tangy cream sauce. It tasted like tuna crusted in Rice Krispies which seems like something David Burke would do. Six pieces were $17. There was a complaint in the early reviews of the restaurant that the menu doesn't reveal the quality of tuna and meats making it hard to justify the prices but I think the dishes served here are prepared in such a simple stripped down fashion that it's possible to taste the quality. With this course and my entree, the beef tenderloin that was certainly the case. For $28, the beef tenderloin seemed like a bargain. A giant cube split in two, it's served in a deep dish atop a mound of plain spinach which all has liquid gruyere poured atop it as it's served. This was not melted cheese or a cream sauce, it was basically a gruyere broth which instantly gave the spinach the flavor of creamed spinach without the consistency. The meat was served medium rare as recommended and hardly needed a knife to be cut. For dessert, a mint souffle with what may have been a mango sorbet. Once served the server poked a hole into the souffle and poured half his pitcher of chocolate sauce. That was fine but the sorbet didn't work and just the souffle on its own was perfection. It was fluffy and custardy if it's possible to be both and a perfect end to the meal. (A fromage blanc souffle Monday night at Blue Hill also with a too overpowering lemon basil sorbet has made them such a treat after far too many too heavy chocolate ones about town.)

I can't remember what I drank but I had two cocktails which were generous portions. The restaurant was empty except for a table of three japanese tourists around 1230pm and about 1/3 full by the time I left. Even though it peaked at 1/3 full, parties began to be seated close together when they could have been spread throughout. The amuse was a great fruit gazpacho (though not as great as a spicy watermelon gazpacho wich cucumber lime sorbet at Rosa Mexicano last week) that should have been on the menu instead of chicken soup. (I'd say no one eats chicken soup in the middle of the summer but the table next to me did.) The check didn't come with any chocolate this time. Lunch for two was $170 (2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, 3 cocktails, 1 coffee) with tax and tip. Worth the value and I'd do it more often if I could although now I'm excited for the $24 Jean-Georges lunch I read about yesterday. And service was satisfactory which at a casual lunch is just fine.

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