Last night, I decided to get my introduction to the new West Village restaurant Perilla. Perilla comes to us from the season one winner of "Top Chef"- Harold Dieterle. I had actually met Harold, (along with The Little Owl chef Joey Campanaro) at Momofuku Ssam (my favorite NYC restaurant) a few months ago, where during a night of drinks, food, and magic he told me about this new restaurant he was going to open. So, I was very excited to check out a place that went from a mere vision to a completed dream.

The space is located on a cool West Village block hidden away from all the commotion on Bleeker street. It is not overly decorated at all, it is simple and looks fine. I can sense this definitely being a new popular neighborhood spot; a bigger version of The Little Owl.

I sat at the bar and perused the menu over a nice glass of Beaujolais ($8). The menu is American Nouveau with Asian influences. It all looked great. For my introduction though, I just went with two appetizers: the Thinly Sliced Raw Hamachi with cucumber salad, cilantro, tomato water, and yuzu ($14), and the Spicy Duck Meatballs with okinawa yam dumplings, water spinach, quail egg and natural jus ($11).

The Hamachi dish was refreshing and very nice. The cucumbers gave a nice crunch to compliment the fish. Although I did need a knife to cut smaller slices of the fish, I really enjoyed the dish. I could definitely eat something like that for lunch everyday, and feel good and healthy about myself.

The Meatballs were really good as well. There were very small, and pretty darn cute I must say. What made this dish was the flavorful natural jus that I would just about soak anything in. This was a delicious and perfect appetizer.

I actually did give in and talked myself into trying a dessert. I went with the Smoked Chocolate Cake with kaffir lime ice cream and mango chutney. I really enjoyed this dessert. The cake was not too sweet, although I didn't taste any real smokiness, but then again, I was on my fourth glass of wine (switched to a Pinot Noir ($13) ). But, what made this dish fantastic was that ice cream. It had a great kick to it, and tasted great.

I definitely look foward to returning to Perilla in the near future and try everything else on the menu. This "Top" chef seems to know what he is doing and definitely deserves that title. Perilla gives me one more reason to move to the West Village asap.


9 Jones St. (between Bleeker and W. 4th)

New York, NY