24 Minetta Lane,
First, there was Joseph Leonard, then Jeffrey’s Grocery followed by Fedora. In just three years, Gabriel Stulman has built himself a tremendously popular restaurant empire in the West Village. But his latest venture, Perla, which debuted two months ago, just might be his finest effort to date. Perla is Michael Toscano’s coming out party and he manages to make quite an impression at this casual Italian with seriously good and often innovative cooking. There’s an outstanding riff on vitello tonnato, a beautiful saba-glazed duck with spring peas and pancetta, and a guinea hen with mushrooms, asparagus and sauce made from foie gras dust.
Don’t Miss Dish: Potato chips all’amatriciana, vitello tonnato, whole-roasted branzino; saba-glazed duck.
End With: Polenta upside-down cake with apple & fig
Drink This: “Tombstone Sunday Nights” cocktail
Occasion: Date night, Bar bites, table for one, festive night out.