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Perla, Stulman's Italian place


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:57 AM

Eater has a first look at Perla. Chef is Michael Toscano (of Manzo inside Eataly)

The space features a wood burning oven, a cocktail bar, a charcuterie counter, and plenty of nice, comfy red leather booths. Stulman notes that a few more details will be added to the space over the next few days, and that this is his very first restaurant with tables that seat six.


Perla

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#2 Sneakeater

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:02 AM

It bears mentioning in the thread (without having to click on the link) that the chef at Perla is Mark Toscano, last at the excellent Manzo.
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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:05 PM

Just what New York needs. Another excellent rustic Italian place in the Village (on Minetta Lane, in the old La Boheme/Bellavitae space next to the theater).

What can you say about this place? It's very good: with Michael Toscano at the stove, how could it not be? It's not as good Chef Toscano's last place, Manzo, mainly because the menu here is more generic and less region-specific. (It's less interesting than, say, Maialino for the same reason.) Well, it's also not as good as Manzo because the ingredients are less luxe and the cooking is simpler. But it's much cheaper than Manzo -- and the ambiance is a LOT more pleasant (as it couldn't help being).

I began with the pork antipasto of the day, which that day was porchetta with pickled fiddleheads. It's getting stupid. We're now used to excellent house-made cold cuts. So if I don't sound excited about this flawless dish, it isn't the fault of the dish; it's the zeitgeist. (This is the theme of this write-up, if you haven't noticed already.)

My pasta was sort of a dialed-down version of the great Finanziera Toscano made at Manzo. Fewer different body parts, not as finely minced. So a good straightforward pasta dish rather than something to send you into extremes of rapture.

Then, for my secondo, yet another very good duck dish in this New York Year Of The Duck, with nice crisp skin. This may be one of the rare Italian places where the secondi are more interesting than the primi (at least the menu seemed that way).

The cocktails are predictably good. The wine list is limited, but you can work with it.

I think this place stands head and shoulders above Gabe Stullman's other extant places. It's really very good. But you just can't get excited about a place like this at this point. And it's hard to walk past the Minetta Tavern when you're going there.

COMP DISCLOSURE: An amaro I was in no position to drink.
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#4 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:09 PM

Practical note: I ate at the bar. But I noticed that there's a dining counter farther back that seems like it might be more comfortable for solo dining.
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#5 Suzanne F

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:17 PM

Two stars.

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#6 oakapple

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:37 PM

Wells dwells on (and critiques) the wine markups and the no-reservations policy. Glad to see someone finally called Stulman on it:

The wine list is a charming read, too, until you check out the prices. There are too few choices below $50, and many of the bottles have been marked up at about three times retail, rather than the standard two times.

Better values would be welcome and so would reservations. Currently only six tables can be reserved; the rest are first come first served, a policy that is easier to take at an ambitious bar than at a restaurant where you are encouraged to order antipasti, primi and secondi, and where a roast chicken for two costs $65.

Dining at Perla takes a significant commitment of time and money. The restaurant should make a reciprocal commitment, rather than force customers to stand around near the bar — not at the bar (stools are reserved for dining at peak hours), but near the bar. By 8 p.m. the mob gets thick and the wait can be two hours.

One night, somebody sent a 2002 Dom Pérignon to the table next to mine. The bottle cost $400. With a few customers like that, Perla could subsidize quite a few less expensive choices for everybody else. Hospitality means more than a friendly smile.

But of course, for all that, it still gets two stars, which is what a place like this would've wanted anyway, so there is no penalty for being inhospitable.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#7 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:28 PM

Well, it's a good mile from Osteria Morini. I am guessing, from the talk of foie gras crumbs, that it's marginally upscale from Morini? But I'm not sure.

Osteria Morini takes reservations.

ETA: The pastas are cheaper, appetizers and entrees the same.

#8 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:36 PM

It has a more stylish room and a fancier menu format, but I'm not sure I'd really call it more "upscale" than Morini.
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#9 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:39 PM

If I have to choose a rustic Italian in Greenwich Village, I am going to pick the one which takes reservations. (Yes, I know Morini is in SoHo, but you see my point.)

#10 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:42 PM

I've come to realize (Nathan don't read this) that people younger than you and me don't like to make reservations. So I understand that, for them, no-reservations places are a plus (they won't get frozen out -- they'll just have to wait). And that places catering to them won't take reservations.

I realize that you and I don't have to abide by their preference. So it's good there are places catering to both groups. (I only hope it stays that way.)
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#11 Nathan

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:45 PM

How would you compare Perla to Lupa? (in terms of food).

I look at the Batali Empire as follows:

Del Posto 3+
Babbo 3
Esca 3
Lupa 2 (it doesn't have stars but it should have 2)
Otto 1 (Grimes gave it 2 but that makes no sense)


I'd note that both Babbo and Otto are probably the strongest on the price/value scale...it's amazing how much you get for your money (by NYC standards) at those 2 restaurants.
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#12 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:45 PM

It's not an age thing, it's a generational thing. Slight difference.

#13 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:48 PM

OK.
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#14 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:49 PM

How would you compare Perla to Lupa? (in terms of food).


As of right now, Perla is a bit better than Lupa (as is Morini). They're all comparable.
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#15 joethefoodie

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 01:01 PM


How would you compare Perla to Lupa? (in terms of food).


As of right now, Perla is a bit better than Lupa (as is Morini). They're all comparable.

Do you mean I have to go to Perla?



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