All too often, we find ourselves playing the role of hype-squashers, injecting some much needed reality into a situation when people are falling over themselves because a celebrity chef just opened a restaurant with a master pizzaiolo and an indoor water slide. We don’t particularly like being the ones to point out flaws amidst adoring praise, but sometimes it’s gotta happen.
Or wait a minute…just kidding. We love doing that. Just as much as you like talking smack about Lana Del Rey.
Today, however, we are not here to burst any bubbles, but to light the fuse on a hype bomb of our own. We are officially obsessed with Gabe Stuhlman and some guy from Eataly’s new restaurant Perla, and are probably about to set unreasonably high expectations for your first meal there. You’re welcome. This place immediately ranks among Immaculate Infatuation’s highest regarded restaurants, and it’s only been open for a few weeks. Why? Because the pastas are all fresh and incredible, and they make a cocktail that has homemade “pepperoni bitters” in it. The room is the kind that you want to spend all night drinking in, and the service is super friendly even though they are probably going to have to make you leave since you just spent all night drinking there. Oh yeah, and there’s a wood burning oven that a gigantic rib eye and a whole roast chicken comes out of. Did I already mention pepperoni bitters?
Inevitably, and probably soon, someone is going to come along and moan about how they can’t understand what everybody sees in this place, and how it’s too expensive and not enough like Little Owl or Minetta Tavern or whatever other restaurant it should be compared to. But this time, it’s not gonna be us.
Photo Credit: Daniel Krieger/Eater NY
Foie Gras Tramezzinni with Pistachio & Cherry
Basically a PB&J sandwich but with foie gras instead of peanut butter. So, essentially what I grew up eating for lunch. I got beat up a lot. This is genius because it actually comes on white bread. Don’t expect a whole sandwich though – it’s three little bites. And it’s delicious as hell.
Potato Chips All’Amatriciana
Spicy, salty homemade chips for face stuffing purposes. These are a nice snack, but you are going to want to go heavy on the pastas, so be responsible and watch your starches.
Raven & Boar Whey Fed Pig
Not that your pork needs a brand name, but this cured pig from the appetizer menu is incredible, and we’re sure it has something to do with wherever these pigs come from. Or maybe we’re just really easy to please when it comes to pigs.
Seared Foie Gras with Crispy Pig’s Tail & Quince
Our favorite foie gras dish on the menu. Then again, the other one is a sandwich. This pretty thing is a magical work of inhumane food art, and we will order it every time we come to Perla. So should you. Also, don’t let the pig’s tail scare you off. You won’t even notice how cute it is.
Razza Piemontese Beef Tartare with Black Truffles
This is an excellent beef tartare, thanks mostly to a nice coarse texture, black truffles, and parmigiano reggiano.
Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Charred Scallions & Goat’s Milk Ricotta
We saw a lot of these flying around on our visits to Perla, and decided to give them a try based solely on popularity. People must just feel obligated to order brussels sprouts from a menu now, because these aren’t particularly awesome. Be bold and stray from the pack. Skip the sprouts.
Agnolotti Al Sugo D’Arrosto
Meat filled pasta cubes that have been tossed in pan drippings. I don’t even know what to say about this other than meat juice + pasta = nobel peace prize. Vegetarians, avert your gaze.
Cavatelli Incatenati with Egg, Pancetta & Pecorino Molise
All of the pastas at Perla are great, but this cavatelli is the champion. It’s got all the best qualities of mac and cheese – namely bacon and cheese – but it’s some real gourmet sh*t. The cavatelli is extra al dente, which we happen to love.
Linguine with Razor Clams and Ramps
We obviously ate here during high ramp season, which means that they are all over the menu, including in this pasta. The ramps didn’t add much for us, but the razor clams were tasty, and the linguine was perfect.
Tortelli with Beets, Ricotta & Parmigiano Reggiano
I have a feeling they put this on the menu just to atone for the one that’s dressed in meat juice, but this beet filled noodle is excellent. It comes in a simple buttery sauce, and you should have it on your table.
This is a perfectly good bolognese should you find yourself craving one, but we’d suggest you go for a more unique offering from the primi section (see, agnolotti).
Rabbit Wrapped in Smoked Pancetta with Calabrian Chile Vinaigrette
We liked this, mostly because of the smoked pancetta blanket that was wrapped around the little bunny before he was cooked. It’s a tasty entree, but it probably isn’t for everyone (see, girls).
Viloet Hill Farms Chicken for Two
Make no mistake. This thing will feed more than two. It’s a whole roast chicken that comes out of the oven, is presented to you, and then is taken back to be carved and delivered in pieces on a slab of wood. It’s an incredibly tasty bird, with moist thighs and salty, crispy skin. The wings are our favorite, and they don’t even have any buffalo sauce on them. You and three friends should split this with a few of the pastas. That’s what we would call a damn near perfect meal.