I have been trying to get to Perbacco for a while. Finally made it last night. A sweet spot in the East Village.
We met 2 couples there. One living in Carrol Gardens, one living on the UWS and us. I thought the East Village was somewhere in the middle. Perbacco has one huge communal table and then a smaller tables on the left of that and on the right, high tables with stools. We had a table for six in the front of the restaurant with the high stools. That alone sets a vibe. Brick walls, dark wood and packed with a happening energy.
There are options for tasting menus either vegetarian or 3 course but we all made our own selections. 3 of us went with the seafood sausage to start. Shrimp and scallop sausage, cut in four pieces over a bed of chickpeas simmering in a light red sauce. Creative and delicious. I also tasted the spinach that my friend had. Another interesting dish. Sauteed spinach mixed with raisins and toasted pine nuts served with a warm gorgonzola dressing on the side. I liked the combo. Someone did have the house specialty which is a creme brulee of Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar on the top. It looked fantastic and you really needed a nice smack of a spoon to crack the crust. Unfortunately, for all of us, the person who ordered is polished it off. We should had ordered one for the table. A reason to return.
Wine was flowing here. The bread basket that came at one point had a nice mixture of breads but my favorite were the bread sticks. Really thin crunchy bread sticks that had an anisette flavoring which kicked in at the end. Perfect for dipping in olive oil.
Our second course, we split 2 pastas between the 6 of us. Both beautifully presented. A rolled pasta, almost the thickness of a lasagna pasta on the outside and spaghetti pasta on the inside mixed with buffalo mozzarella and crispy speck ( prosciutto ). The pasta roll was covered with melted cheese and topped with a hint of truffle oil. Absolutely delicious.
The other pasta was served deconstructed which was clever. On one side was tiny pieces of sauteed sausages, in the middle were pumpkin filled raviolis that had been sauteed with brown butter and the last row were small dollops of a thick cheese, maybe ricotta. Sweet and savory. Quite good.
For dinner, 3 of us had the tuna. Roasted loin of tuna, sliced thin and served with a sauce that the tuna had braised in. Nice presentation and really nice. 2 others went with the beef cheeks. Beef cheeks braised and served with potatoes that was a bit too much like a heavy Grandma pot roast. I had the lamb chops which were really well cooked and full of flavor over sauteed scallions, nicely roasted shitake mushrooms and a red wine reduction sauce. Not exactly chops but more like a lamb shoulder but still delicious.
For dessert we tried a few things here. The biscotti plate which was really a cookie plate because there were only 2 biscottis on the plate. I remember that because my friend only wanted biscotti! We also had the Tiramasu. Served in a glass with the lady fingers on the bottom, custard on top and chocolate over the top. Absolute delicious and more like a yummy pudding. We also had the chocolate slider. This was more of a gimmick than anything. Hamburger bun ( not really ) with chocolate cream, raspberry sauce on the side for the ketchup and sliced pears as the french fries. There was way too much marzipan in it. We all decided that we wanted to eat things that looked like what they were.
Regardless of the chocolate hamburger, we had a great night. Lots of wine, good food, great friends and a good vibe. A happening Italian trattoria in the East Village to return to.