The following review is of Perilla, Harold Dieterle's restaurant in New York City. Harold was the inaugural winner of Top Chef. This review is from September 11, 2009.
I will say first off that the meal, while very good, was not as good as I was expecting.
We arrived at 6:10pm for our 6 o'clock reservation and only 2 tables were seated. We were seated in a very small 2 top in the corner of a long row of 2 tops. While ordinarily this would not be an issue(I understand New York space costs) it is an issue while I am 6 months pregnant.
Our server while very attractive, was the caliber of server that I would expect to find at an Applebees. She spent a great deal of her time up at the bar socializing with the other waitstaff. Her answer for most questions about the food was "it is very good". Bleh. I frequently ask servers for their opinions and favorites because they are around the food the most and receive the most feedback and I expect an honest answer but she obviously did not feel as if that was part of her job description.
So we started with the duck meatballs of course. Very good. Nice presentation. Loved the quail egg. We also had a special appetizer "for 2". It was a housemade soft burrata with heirloom tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar and oil. This was by far the best bite of food that I had all evening. I was unsure if the cheese was pasteurized(almost positive that it was not) but I could not help myself. I wanted to order it again for my entree and I wish that I had.
Instead, I ordered the duck and Matt ordered the 3 little piggies. Although our server asked me if medium rare was ok and I said that it was, my duck was medium. When our server decided to tear herself away from her social hour to check on us, I informed her of this and she asked if I would like it recooked. She did not apologize or offer anything while I was waiting.
I had a few bites of the 3 little piggies entree while I waited. Matt described the dish as an appetizer, entree and dessert all on one plate. The pork belly wrapped in pastry(appetizer) was very good. The pate on toast(dessert) was sweet and easily the best third of the dish. The pork tenderloin, while I did not taste it, Matt described it as bland and boring and served on a bed of undercooked, bland lentils.
When the duck finally arrived at the table it was cooked correctly but was not as well seasoned as the bite of the previous duck dish. The purple yams were dry and bland.
For dessert, we ordered the vanilla scented doughnuts with peppermint refresher. While it was good, I did not feel a desire to fight over the extra 3rd doughnut that I normally would.
Overall, a good but slightly disappointing meal. I would go back and order different entrees and hopefully have a different server.
We felt very rushed to place our orders. We were hoping for a leisurely dinner and certainly did not get that. The restaurant did not fill up the entire time that we were there so there was no pressure to turn over the tables.