I haven't even been in NYC for a week and I'm already homesick for French food. So you can understand why I was thrilled when I received a gracious invite to dine at Perrine, the stunning oh so Parisian style restaurant connected to The Pierre, a Taj Hotel in the Upper East Side, offering French-American fare, and raw bar items. Last night was one of the most delicious and decadent meals I've ever had in the Big Apple. I'm a Taurus so I guess you can say I was on a major foodie high. As you read through this post, you will see why.
Regular readers know that pre-arrival correspondence and excellent CRM are important to me before any hotel stay. And that interaction should not end after my stay. So in terms of this fabulous dining I just experienced, I must rave about how greatly I was taken care of before ever stepping in to the restaurant. Melissa Braverman, the polite and gracious Marketing Executive of The Pierre Hotel set up my dinner reservation and even though I did not get to meet her that evening, she made sure that her colleagues would take extra care of me. And that they did! I was truly blown away by how perfect my evening was.
We hopped in a cab and made our way up to E 61st, bordering Central Park East. Not a bad location if I do say so myself. I don't know the upper east side (being a greenwich village gal) very well so I was excited to explore.
We pulled up to the restaurant... walking through the doors felt like I was transported back in time to a plush, yet low-key French brasserie. The table setting was so elegantly laid out and the staff was so impeccable in demeanor. I felt like I found home in NYC! As they seated us at our table (away from the crowd, which I appreciated) Gregory was recalling memories of having a drink with his father at this very restaurant years 35 years ago. Of course, all the elegance and class remained, including a curry dish they have been serving since 1940! How's that for posterity?
Gregory's a huge wine connoisseur so as he was alternating between a Malbec and Crozes-Hermitage, I stuck with good ol aqua fria
The focaccia bread was so good, I had to keep myself from eating all of it because it was rather filling. The butter was good and slid on smoothly.
Good thing Jay Poblador, the Director of Restaurant at Perrine, came to the rescue. I knew my water drinking would come to a pleasant end. He was Filipino which made me more comfortable than I already was. He was incredibly warm and hospitable and shared my great love for food. He spoke with great enthusiasm about my blog - thank you for your kind words, Jay. It's people like you who make me love what I do. My business is my pleasure :)
I am proud to be Filipina. We are, in essence, the kings and queens of the hospitality industry; it runs in our blood. Jay Poblador is an excellent model of that.
Jay introduced us to a lovely bottle which has now become my favorite Rum of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Don Papa Rum, a gorgeous and delightfully refreshing premium aged wine from no other than the Philippines. The bar whipped up a cocktail for me called Insulare. It is a light, gorgeous concoction of Don Papa Rum, black cherry, balsamic shrub, and lime juice. Mmm, perfection. I sipped away gleefully.
As you can see, I'm a total lightweight. Here's the comparison of my drink to Gregory's after 5 minutes. :D
For our starters, I ordered beef carpaccio with the crispiest capers, drizzled with anchovy dressing. It was so refreshing and light, perfect for a starter.
Gregory ordered oysters on the half shell. Now... since we live in France, we are extremely spoiled with the size of our oysters. These were tiny in comparison but at least the quality was not lacking. So delicious especially with a dollop of cocktail sauce.
Our incredibly kind and thoughtful Vietnamese waiter, Tom, along with Jay delivered to our table tuna tartare, compliments of the chef. I was actually deciding between that or the beef carpaccio, initially. Can you say intuitive service?! I got to enjoy both.
This tuna tartare was uniquely prepared. The tuna was a on a bed of diced green beans, cucumber and olives topped with dijon dressing. Just perfect.
But it doesn't stop there! What's amazing about this restaurant is that there's a bit of an Indian flair. Also compliments of the chef, they delivered the most delicious flatbread I have ever tasted. Crab imperial flatbread. Write that down to order for yourself later. I could have just eaten that for dinner, it was THAT good.
The flatbread is made in house and topped with fennel, gruyere cheese (my favorite cheese ever!) jalapeño, herbs, and of course crab. I used to not care for flatbreads but now I'm hooked!
Shortly after demolishing all three incredible starters, the chef popped out for a quick hello. His name is Ashfer Biju and what a kindhearted soul he was! He joked about how his favorite food movie was Ratatouille. Sweet :) Even though it's primarily a French restaurant, it was so cool to see an excellent Indian chef crafting authentic tasting French meals.
For our entrees I ordered a simple dish of lemon shrimp. They were so succulent and herby, just the way I like it! I was saving room for dessert, though I was feeling rather defeated (anyone one would after all that food!) It would have been so un-French of me to forego dessert so I carried on. Gregory ordered his usual, filet mignon cooked the way I like my men - rare. It sat on top of sweet and sour carrot purée with a side of garlic spinach and crispy soufflé potatoes. I definitely snatched a piece from him!
Jay and Tom left us for a short while to recover from the decadence and to make room for dessert. I ordered warm chocolate cake (ok so it's a French restaurant and I just made a total faux pas there by not ordering mille-feuille but I just love me a good chocolate cake with a dollop of ice cream. I'm a simple gal). Gregory opted for the key lime pie. I wasn't mad about the pistachio, nougat ice cream but the chocolate cake was melt in your mouth goodness. Gregory devoured his key lime pie before I could even try it!
As if that wasn't enough food, Jay just had to deliver the cherry on top. Beautifully warm madeleines to dip in a pool of gooey, sinfully delicious suzette sauce - caramelized sugar and butter with Grand Marnier and