I was lucky enough to check out The Pierre Hotel’s Rose Terrace last night–it is an offshoot of the legendary luxury hotel’s wonderful French-American fusion eaterie Perrine helmed by remarkable Pierre executive chef Ashfer Biju and it only exists from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Don’t laugh but it isn’t a terrace at all! Basically, you walk about fifty feet east on the southwest corner of 61st Street and Fifth Avenue and you see these cozy outdoor wooden tables for four with colorful spring flower arrangements and wicker chairs. Bottles of rose wine are on display and there are always specially selected ones for each evening. The night I went, Chateau Miraval, Cotes de Provence 2017 was being served and the owners of Chateau Miraval just happen to be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I strongly recommend this wine for a hot summer night as it is light and fruity. By the way, if you post your glass of rose on social media and use the hashtag #PerrineOnThePark, your server will give you a second glass of what you’ve been drinking on the house.
It goes without saying that there are great bites at Rose Cafe–think of the menu as New York’s most sophisticated bar food. There is truly something for every palate and prices are extremely reasonable–the ten or so menu items range from $9 to $29. I was thrilled that Chef Bjiu remembered how much my blogger pal Rachel and I love his famous Coronation Chicken Salad and that he had servers bring out several trays of it last night for all the guests. He mentioned to me that items from the regular menu at Perrine can be ordered upon request–the Coronation Chicken Salad is a lunchtime legend with his curry yogurt dressing, plump white raisins of chunks of juicy white breast meat.
Some of the dishes that I tried last night included the Crab Imperial Flatbread which is actually created with Chef Biju’s homemade naan rather than traditional flatbread. This is a huge portion for a flatbread–I would estimate it to be about 14″ in diameter and it has plenty of crabmeat. The cheese used is artisanal Gruyere, and the flatbread is topped off with fennel, basil and a multitude of other fresh herbs. The people walking down the street by The Pierre turned around and did a double take when this awe-inspiring dish was being served.
Keeping with a summery theme, plenty of fresh seafood is served at the Rose Terrace including Oysters On The Half Shell topped with Cucumber Mignonette (pictured above), Tuna Tartare served with haricots verts, cucumber, basil, olives and dijon dressing, Herb Poached Shrimp Cocktail served with celery root and horseradish remoulade and a to-die-for salmon mousse made with smoked salmon and topped with roe, “everything crumbs” and chive oil (it’s served with homemade basketweave potato chips that are golden brown and truly addictive).
There are several items designed for landlubbers but the corned beef tater tots (pictured above) really blew me away. I had no idea that corned beef and potatoes could even be combined and deep fried but leave it to Chef Biju to be this creative. The peppery orange dipping sauce he serves the tater tots with that he terms “harissa aioli” is something I’d love to also use as salad dressing or as a steak sauce. It has a beautiful kick to it without being truly “hot.” There are also duck confit samosas served with fig tamarind and mint chutney, a platter of cured meats and local cheeses that have a side of rhubarb jam, local honey and grilled bread, homemade fougasse with hummus and red pepper dip and the legendary Pierre Burger accompanied by spicy remoulade, Rupert cheese and pommes frites.
You can’t leave the Rose Terrace without having a Perrine Pop which is actually a sweet creation of the Pierre’s executive pastry chef, Michael Mignano. He will be coming up with different fruit flavors throughout the summer but I was lucky enough to try a mixed berry pop last night that knocked my Crocs off. The blueberries were plump and juicy and the rest of the bar was smooth and creamy making me think he added in some local honey and yogurt before the pops hit the freezer.
There will be several special events at the Rose Terrace over the summer including a special US Open event where guests will get to meet and mingle with tennis greats. Part of the appeal of Rose Terrace is that you don’t need a reservation. You can literally be walking down the street on a hot summer day, plop into one of the chairs and have a glass of fine rose in your hand within three minutes. The food is of the highest quality and comes out very quickly. The atmosphere is casual and it’s an optimal place to relax and people watch. You can’t beat all that in one conveniently located midtown spot just steps from Central Park and Barney’s! For more info, go to www.perrinenyc.com.