It’s no secret that I love to dine at Perrine inside the Upper East Side’s tony and legendary Pierre Hotel and I recently took in a preview of their Summer 2018 New York Restaurant Week Lunch deal which costs just under $30 for three courses. Chef Ashfer Biju does a highly creative mix of Modern American and French cuisines with locally sourced produce. I love the way he features old favorites from the Pierre’s culinary vaults and updates them. These unique dishes like the Coronation Chicken Salad—my very favorite salad in the city—bring an element of surprise to the menu. And before you ask, this curry, chicken breast and golden raisin based salad was really created for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation back in the 1950s! Their New York Restaurant Week lunch and dinners are the tastiest and most generously portioned we have encountered thus far–and here is a sampling of some of the available dishes.
The Green Gazpacho soup is a great starter as it is so light and summery. It’s made with leeks, jalapeno, cucumber and avocado and has a wonderful mix of fresh herbs that includes parsley and cilantro. This is the perfect pick me up on those super humid New York City days! Other appetizer choices include the Seared Tuna Salad made with kale, barley, a special house-made pomegranate salad and a poached egg. The beauty and artistic arrangement of this dish is unsurpassed. The aforementioned Coronation Chicken is another pick and my “go to” at all times! The lightest choice of all the appetizers is the Tomato & Watercress Salad which is topped with feta cheese, red onions and fresh oregano (and then spritzed with the best Dijon dressing at any French inspired eatery in town).
You might have noticed that Chef Biju has many healthy choices on his Restaurant Week menu and the Grilled Shrimp Salad is turning out to be the runaway success out of all the appetizers. There is a nine dollar supplement for this but it is well worth it. Everyone in the restaurant eyes this dish when someone from the wait staff brings it by. It is the rare combination of delicious, beautiful and nutritionally well-balanced.
The lunch entree choices are spectacular! There are those of us who like a steak whenever we can get one–present company not excluded–so I had the Steak Frites! I adored this beautiful 12 ounce cut of grass-fed Sirloin served with golden slightly skinny cut fries. You can never go wrong with this satisfying old school meal and I adore the way that the “frites” are served in a cute wire basket.
Other options for lunch entrees during Restaurant Week include Loup De Mer (made with cauliflower, chickpeas, spicy tomato sauce and herb salad)–one of the most beautifully plated seafood dishes anywhere in town. Chef Biju believes in color and loves to show off the diversity of color in all the vegetables that he uses. He will often use the same vegetables in its many different colors within the same dish. You can also get Coq Au Vin featuring white white, mushrooms and kale, or a Slow Roasted Tomato & Gruyère Tart that comes with a side of an arugula, fennel and frisee salad.
Desserts at Perrine are all house made by the legendary Michael Mignano and team. Mignano comes up with flavor combos you would never think of and everything he creates is as gorgeous to the eye as it is divine on the tongue. The two main dessert choices are Warm Chocolate Cake which is called Molten Chocolate Cake in many foodie circles and you will go bonkers for the hot chocolate pouring out when you go for your first bite. It is served with a side of Pistachio Nougat ice cream.
The Dairy Free Panna Cotta is accented with Meyer lemon, fresh mint, and gently dried citrus fruits of the season. You cannot tell that the Panna Cotta is dairy free–it’s creaminess is incredible. Let me add that it feels light when you eat it and is quite a refreshing way (especially teamed with the lovely dried citrus) to end a superb meal at Perrine.
If you want an even lighter dessert, homemade sorbets are available. The Strawberry Peach sorbet is a very special combo that will totally “rock your world” as they say. The sorbet flavors change nearly every day but your server will tell you what two are being offered that day.
For more info, go to www.perrinenyc.com. Reservations are recommended but not necessary and dress is “summer chic.” Perrine is located inside the Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st Street on the SE corner of 61st Street and Fifth Avenue. Their phone number is (212) 940-8195.