While the purpose of my trips is often to check out Michelin rated restaurants and increase my star count, I also love to check out the more casual neighborhood places. During my most recent visit to NYC, I decided to try Perbacco, an Italian restaurant and wine bar in the East Village.
It was the first real warm day of the season, so we decided to sit at one of two tiny tables outside. This definitely added to the experience, making the dinner feel even more cozy and intimate.
The entire menu looked amazing, but so many of the appetizers and pastas sounded good we decided to share several small plates and create a tapas style experience.
We started with the parmesan creme brulee which was by far my favorite dish of the night, and definitely the most creative! This was a warm souffle of parmesan cheese, topped with a crust of torched balsamic vinegar. This completely blew me away, I've never tasted anything like it!
Next was the steak tartare, which wasn't my choice but I was brave and decided to give it a try (I've always been a little freaked out by raw beef, but have finally tasted it a couple of times during the past year). This one came with cured beef and a poached egg, so it was a little easier to try. I appreciated the flavors, concept, and high quality ingredients but it still wasn't quite my thing.
We also tried a homemade grilled shrimp and scallop sausage simmered in a shrimp reduction and served over chickpeas. This was another dish completely unlike anything I'd ever tried, and both the concept and execution were spot on.
The last appetizer was the tuna, and another of my favorites. The dish consisted of thinly sliced seared fresh tuna loin over sautéed endive, with hot aromatic extra virgin olive oil. The fish was perfectly fresh and rare, and the hint of sea salt sprinkled on the top really brought out the flavors.
For our entree, we shared the homemade whole wheat tagliatelle pasta with lamb ragout. The pasta was fresh, and the braised lamb rich and so tender.
We were way too full to order dessert, but the menu had some great selections. I would definitely return to Perbacco on another trip to NY, and would love to experience more of their creative Italian menu!