Thursday, September 18, 2008

Great Find: Perry Street

I love Jean Georges Vongerichten. He's my favorite celebrity chef and my lunch today at Perry Street confirms for me yet again that he is a culinary genius. I had a bit of a hard time finding the place. It's called Perry Street, but the entrance to the restaurant is actually on West Street, not Perry Street, in the 176 Perry Street building designed by Richard Meier, so if you don't notice the etching on the glass door you may miss it. But what's new? I always get lost in the West Village.

My friend from LA and I were the first ones for a noon reservation. The space is gorgeous--minimalist, open, relaxed and luxurious. I loved the wooden tables and white leather chairs and banquettes. A great combination. The restaurant was designed by Thomas Juul-Hansen, who reportedly designed Jean-Georges' own home. With the $24 prix-fixe lunch you get to pick any two items off the menu and you get dessert. That's a great deal for a three-course lunch at a place like Perry Street!

We started off with an amuse bouche of strawberry soup with cucumber foam--so refreshing! I had the cream of tomato soup, which came with this lovely chili sauce and a slice of sourdough with fresh cheddar and basil sprinkled on top, and the roasted chicken sandwich with avocado and chipotle-lime mayo. I don't usually go for chicken sandwiches at five-star restaurants, but the server recommended it, so I took a chance. It was so delicious. The chicken had a little bit of skin on it, preserving its juiciness, and the sauce and the avocado and lettuce were a perfect compliment. My friend had the sauteed shrimp and crab salad--both very tasty from the bites I had. For dessert, we both had the molten chocolate cake--didn't blow my mind, but done well nonetheless.

The meal made us happy. The space made us happy. We lingered for a couple hours, could actually hear each other talking, and didn't feel rushed. And being all the way out there on the Westside Highway made it feel like we weren't in NYC at all...which sometimes can be a good thing.

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