Perilla belongs to Chef Harold Dieterle, the first Top Chef winner from Bravo’s Season 1.  After hearing rave reviews about his spicy duck meatballs (first pic), I finally decided to attack. The space is very narrow with a long bar far enough away from the circular booths and two-top tables. It’s great for groups of about 5 or 6 and surprisingly, even though the music is loud, you can still hear your company without yelling or bothering your neighbors – which can be a hard find in this bustling city.The appetizers and side dishes have so many incredible options that it is hard to even focus on the entrees, especially once the waitress divulges that you must give them a warning asap if you want the Chocolate Mousse Torte because it  is made-to-order and takes time. Take note.You will order that Chocolate Mousse Torte with Salted Carmel Ice Cream and you will be too full by the time it comes, but you will get over it and take it down like a champ.

Savorywise, I absolutely loved the scallop special appetizer and the eggplant which comes with an awesome homemade hummus and persian cheese has a crunchy texture. I hate to say it, but the the infamous spicy duck meatballs did not live up to my expectations. After hearing how this is THE thing to get on the menu, I felt let down. However, they were not bad they just weren’t even close to being the best I’ve ever had, but the duck entree with the duck chorizo tamale totally made up for it. The dish that I would give a gold medal to without a doubt is the farro risotto. WOW. The grapes mixed with the creamy grains are a perfect touch and something you will spoon on top of your plate constantly throughout dinner.

Overall, the dining experience and service is fantastic. All of the ingredients in each dish work together from the start all the way to the dessert course and ridiculous “Take Five” sundae with dulce de leche, chocolate fudge, market pretzels, peanut praline and peanut buter ice cream. With the entrees on the pricier side, Perilla is a great place to go for a work dinner, to bring your parents or to just jump in for some apps, sides, dessert and wine with some friends.

***EXTRA: For those of you wondering what the heck Perilla is, it’s a plant similar to mint and basil and the restaurant makes their own syrup for the cocktail menu. It’s commonly used in Asian cooking which might have been the inspiration for Chef Harold’s second NYC project, Kin Shop, which is a Thai place that opened earlier last year.