I’ll admit for a foodie, I’ve yet to get hooked with food TV of any variety – be it reality cooking, cooking competitions, or even how-to shows a la cute Tyler Florence (which is probably why my kitchen goes so unused). So when a friend wanted to go check out Perilla – the restaurant I learned was owned, among others, by the winner of the first season of Top Chef – I was just as much intrigued by the menu and trying a new place as I was about finally trying a restaurant from this “genre”, have you.
Brunch at noon on a Saturday tends to be on the more peaceful side, and Perilla was in keeping with this, only half-way full. This would change as the meal progressed, presumably as Manhattanites were more prepared to greet the day. I was a bit torn on the menu as there were so many good options, ranging from French toast to a spicy duck burger to vanilla scented doughnuts and plum butter to white grits prepared with a deep-fried egg, rock shrimp, peppers and tasso ham. Thankfully we had a perfect warm pot of strong coffee and a plate of very lemon-y muffins to tide us over until we’d reached a decision.
I ended up having to go with the corn flake crusted brioche French toast. The slices were thick and, to me, looked quite a lot like fish actually! The bread was topped off by sliced bananas and served with vanilla-bourbon maple syrup and whipped butter with cinnamon. The simple inclusion of cinnamon made such a big difference – I’m not sure why more restaurants do not do it. The flavor seemed to seep into the bread more this way. I don’t often see French toast on the menu… in fact, can’t say I’ve come across it in almost two years in the city. I see the menu has changed up to now instead include pancakes, which I’m sure are excellent. However, I whole-heartedly recommend the French toast. My friend went with their poached eggs and smoked salmon on an english muffin, served with hollandaise. And because it caught our eyes on the menu as a side for the duck burger, we even indulged in some of the spicy fries.
I’ve yet to go back, but fully intend on sitting at the bar at some point in the near future and finally giving that duck burger a try, especially knowing it would mean another serving of those fries…
Perilla – 9 Jones Street – 212.929.6868