Magazine article The New Yorker

PERILLA; Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

PERILLA; Tables for Two

Article excerpt

Yes, Harold Dieterle, a co-owner of Perilla, won the reality-television cooking competition "Top Chef." Smoke and lights, though, aren't much in evidence at Perilla, which melds American and Asian influences to an effect low-key enough to banish any thoughts of Rocco DiSpirito (whose rise and quick fall in his last venture was chronicled on NBC's "The Restaurant"). Even so, Dieterle (along with his partner, Alicia Nosenzo) has a lot to live up to at Perilla--guess who's coming to dinner? The Zagats and the Nielsens! He mostly pleases both the foodies and the fans.

There's the location, on a Village side street packed with neighborhood standbys--an understated spot, as if to say, "I'll always remember the little people." The staff go about their business with an informed yet unscripted aplomb, and do the small things right, like allowing customers to transfer their tabs from bar to table without a hassle and presenting each with one slice of brown, crusty bread in lieu of offering an overblown basket. Sometimes the safe quality of the surroundings (fancy light fixtures, framed photographs of clouds and trees that recall those motivational posters that promote "INSPIRATION" or "TEAMWORK") veers into the unmemorable. …

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