Friday, December 18, 2009
Perilla Falls Short
Restaurant Name: Perilla
Restaurant Location: 9 Jones Street, NYC
Having heard very positive reviews about Greenwich Village's Perilla Restaurant, I'd been keen to try it for some time. My high hopes for this attractive little neighborhood spot, however, have been thoroughly dashed. Sadly, Perilla fell far short of my expectations.
First, in order to secure a reservation for 5 people, I had to hold the reservation with a credit card. If I didn't confirm a day ahead, I was informed that I'd be charged whether I showed up or not. I held up my end of the bargain and all five of us arrived, blown in out of the cold, right on time. The hostess then announced that our table wasn't ready; it would *just be a few moments* while the previous group at the table finished up their desserts. Nearly 40 minutes later, we were finally seated. After about 30 minutes of the wait, they'd sent a free appetizer up to the bar for us to snack on, and I'd felt some sympathy for them. After all, sometimes diners simply won't leave a table.
Then we embarked on our own meal...with incredibly slow service. I began to realize that the long wait for our table probably had nothing to do with the people who'd been dining before us. The wait between each and every step of the meal was glacial.
So, was the food worth the wait? Unfortunately not. Don't get me wrong, the food was...fine. But not much else. Some dishes were better than others (at least the $40 appetizer portion of egg ravioli with shaved white truffles was up to snuff). Many dishes were off, though.
For instance, the Red Kuri Squash Agnolotti with chanterelles, grilled halloumi & brown butter-hazelnut sauce (which sound delicious) was bland and looked truly appalling on the plate. Served in a huge dish, the pasta was swimming in a brownish sauce. The agnolotti were not actually filled with squash, but with boring old ricotta. The squash was cut up and tossed in with the sauce (as were the mushrooms and a dice of the halloumi). It looked like a grey, chunky stew, not an elegant pasta dish. Though it tasted better than it looked, it was hardly worth the $22 price tag, or the long wait.
Another dish, Fluke Sashimi served with a radish-fennel garnish, was fresh and clean-tasting on its own, but totally overwhelmed by the too-assertive passion-fruit sauce that smothered it. In general, we were all fairly disappointed with the level of interest presented by the food. As I said, everything was just fine - but totally lacking in spark.
Our server also fell down on the job, failing to tell us about the dessert special (a souffle that had to be ordered in advance). In addition to generally slow service, when we were ready to pay the bill, she completely vanished. We finally spotted her at the bar, flirting with another server. Eventually, she noticed that all five of us were staring at her.
With the great reviews of this place, I guess I just expected better: better food, better service. Oh well, you can't win em all!