Perilla

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 I am not a big TV watcher, actually I rarely watch at all but my kids do.  Top Chef is one of their faves.  I believe Harold Dieterle won Top Chef in its second season.  I did catch a few of those shows.  We cheered for Harold.  Nice guy, team player and good chef.  At least it seems like he is a good chef from the show. 

Harold grew up on LI and after his win, returned to NYC and opened a restaurant on Jones Street which is between West 3rd and Bleeker in the West Village.  The restaurant is named Perilla.

Our of sheer curiosity, I wanted to check it out.  It has taken me a while to get there but I finally made it last night. 

The restaurant is a nice size.  18 tables and a nice long bar in the front.  There is a nice vibe in the place.  Feels like a neighborhood place.   The menu is seasonal which I am a big fan of.  The menu has a lot of variety with a mixture of flavors. 

I was watching the food come out of the kitchen.  Everything was really well plated.  Do I sound like a judge on Top Chef? 

I started out with a spinach salad.  Baby spinach mixed with feta, and spicy red peppers.  The feta did not make its way through the entire salad.  It was clumped.  More like an okay home made salad.  I also tasted the tagliatelle that had a beef cheek sauce.  Again, nothing great.  Someone else had the other salad which was similar to mine in presentation.  Too much, too bulky. 

For the main courses, I had the duck.  2 long slices of duck, served medium rare.  The skin wasn't crispy enough and a bit too thick on the skin, fatty actually, although the meat was quite delicious.  It was served over a mixture of basmati rice that was running through the mustard greens with a garam marsala sauce and tiny gooseberries.  The sauce had a strange flavor and so did the gooseberries.  I tried the Striped Bass which was well cooked with a nice crispy skin over a mixture of bulgar wheat, mushrooms and a sweet and sour eggplant sauce.  Again, okay, didn't rock my world.

The restaurant sort of reminds me of Cafe Loup which is a neighborhood restaurant that has been open for over 20 years.  I think the food happens to be better at Cafe Loup but perhaps it just depends on the night.  Although I was thoroughly underwhelmed at Perilla he might survive because of size, feel and location.

 I usually don't toot my own horn live but there wasn't a thing last night that I haven't made better myself.  Although I am not cooking at a restaurant so it isn't fair to judge on that note.   I have certainly cooked for 24 people at once but not over a course of an evening at a restaurant.  Maybe I should try it.