My first trip to Perry Street was for lunch when it first opened. It was a birthday lunch and we literally had the place to ourselves. The food was just okay but the place had just opened. That was my first time. Last night was my second and last time at Perry Street. Why do places with mediocre food continue to remain open at those price points?
The restaurant is modern in design with dim lighting and banquettes around the restaurant which serve as the backdrop to the tables. There is something very subdued about the place which I am not sure I like. Through the translucent shades I could watch the cars whiz by on the West side Highway.
We hung out at the bar before our table was available. A small bowl of peanuts and 2 glasses of prosecco to start. It was amusing watching the bar tender who took his drink making very seriously. He was using a measuring glass for each drink which struck me as strange. You'd think there would be some gut instinct to preparing the drink and the amount needed particularly at a place like Perry Street. A little extra wouldn't hurt anyone.
The menu at first glance was fantastic. There were a variety of selections that I could have chose from. I decided to start with the Japanese sashimi in a lemon olive oil and small fried ginger bits on top. Crudo. Our first courses came out really quick. The plates are small and the presentation is nice. After taking the first bite of the fish, I knew the meal was going to be sub-par. Certainly the fish was fresh but the ginger pieces were so salty and the lemon olive oil was so heavy handed that it made the dish not that good. Fred went with the mozzarella. A ball of fresh mozzarella served in a bowl with pieces of dill and grilled eggplant. After serving the bowl, the waiter brought a light broth and poured it into the bowl. Again, beautiful presentation. The mozzarella was nothing special actually bland, the eggplant was flavorless and dill didn't really make sense. Boring with no oomph. I was hoping that we would not have the same experience with our entrees…wrong.
Fred had the lobster. Large pieces of lobster poached in butter with an emulsion of a lemony foam. I took one taste and thought this is so sweet and isn't this supposed to be savory. I went with the Arctic char. Arctic char that was perfectly cooked served in a bowl with a medley of mushrooms on the side. I can't recall but the char sat over a puree of some type of vegetable with an Asian flavor. Not good just bland. Every dish was lacking flavor. Nothing popped out. Everything sort of mixed into one another.
We got dessert although I wasn't sure why. It was my bday so we felt compelled. We got the chocolate pudding. Rich pudding served with a layer of whipped cream which would have been fine but there were tiny chocolate chips layered on one side that had a lavender taste to them that truly ruined the dish. It didn't work.
As I looked at the website this morning of Jean-Georges, I realized that none of his restaurants are that good. He has created an empire with a bunch of high end mediocre restaurants. Beautifully crafted menus, interesting spaces which are geared towards a high end clientele of the city. Honestly, the best restaurant of all of his restaurants is Jo Jo. Granted the last time I was there was probably 15 years ago but I remember the food and particularly the famous chocolate dessert being quite good. Maybe it was the success of Jo Jo that launched the other restaurants afterward and the clientele that kept coming back.
After an awful sleep due to bad food, I, for one, will never ever go back.