I was fortunate enough to get a little (or rather BIG) sneak peek of the Winter Restaurant Week lunch being offered at the lovely Perrine in The Pierre Hotel (by the way, it is easiest to enter at the 61st Street side of the hotel just east of Fifth Avenue). You probably cannot get a finer lunch for $30 in New York this Restaurant Week. They even seem nice about doing substitutes over there and as expected, any grub served at The Pierre sets the bar very high for other restos serving Restaurant Week menus! I was so impressed to learn that “chef in chief” Asher Biju still uses some of the cooking equipment left behind by the legendary August’s Escoffier one hundred years ago and I would not be surprised if the ghost of Julia Child haunts the Perrine kitchen ago.
The top secret appetizer that blew me away was the Coronation Chicken Salad which was served at the hotel back when Queen Elizabeth really got her crown. Chef Biju is all about reaching into the legendary recipe archives of The Pierre, going back as far as the 1930s. Coronation Chicken has been modified to be a little lighter. The curried dressing is 3/4 yogurt and 1/4 mayonnaise, when back in the day it was all mayo. This salad is filling and light at the same time; the mix of diced chicken breast, scallions, frisée and white raisins is spectacular when mixed with the curry dressing. I have decided that I could probably eat this salad everyday and not get bored. Be sure to ask for it if you do not see it on the Resto Week menu!
The two items being officially offered as apps on the Resto Week menu are Tuna Tartare (which is rare tuna served with haricot verts, basil, olives and Dijon dressing and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup which is sweetened by a touch of honey and topped with crispy kale and pumpkin seeds.
I had to try the Spring Chicken which is all white meat freshly tricked down from an Upstate New York farm and served with a white wine reduction, pee wee potatoes, mushrooms and thyme.
The Beef Short Ribs are also being offered and they are a thing of legend at Pierre Hotel galas. I confess that I have gone to lengthy events just to have these Short Ribs which are served with a parsnip purée and roasted Romansesco.
Also available on the NY Restaurant Week menu in terms of lunch entrees is Roasted Hake Filet served with Beluga lentils, cauliflower cream and green olive vierge. My fish loving co-diner went nuts for this dish and it is probably the most healthy entree that Perrine is offering for New York Restaurant Week.
For dessert, you cannot go wrong with any sweet creation from legendary pastry chef Michael Mignano who created his legacy at places like Bouley and The Four Seasons. The Apple Tart Tatin featured finely sliced organic Gala apples that are perfectly glazed and naturally sweet, homemade caramel sauce and apple cider ice cream. Mignano’s Dairy Free Panna Cotta also is a blockbuster. It is elegantly topped with Meyer Lemon, fresh mint and citrus fruits of the season.
To book a res for Perrine’s Restaurant Week lunch, go to www.opentable.com or www.perrinenyc.com. I will be back! They have a large selection of teas and coffees including wonderful Indian teas. The atmosphere is relaxing and service is both friendly and fast!
Now for another secret: you can ask for Mignano’s famous “Candy Bar Dessert” which is not listed on the Restaurant Week menu and your server will gladly make a substitution. Mignano created it in 2005 as a tribute to the famous Seinfeld candy bar episode when a character shocked people by eating a (you guessed it) candy bar with a knife and fork. This “candy bar” tastes like a high end version of Drake’s legendary Funny Bones and includes a big sprinkle of freshly made caramel corn and homemade caramel gelato.