Several weeks ago, I happened to be visiting Boyfriend in Boston during the city’s Winter Restaurant Week. And what a week it was – our dinner at Brookline’s La Morra was quite possibly the best meal I’ve eaten in my life. Four delicious courses and a wine flight later, Boyfriend and I found ourselves in a food-induced haze of happiness. Now, you’ll have to forgive the lack of photos and/or posting about that meal, as I was far too caught up in our beautiful little date to consider snapping a photo of my steak, which was, by the way, melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly cooked, utter bliss swimming in a sea of chianti-laced sauce. Swoon.
In an attempt to replicate the experience, we met in New York on Thursday for dinner at Perbacco, before a night of exploring the bar scene in and around the East Village. We I chose the restaurant’s specifically because of its mention in this New York Times article. Perbacco was, and I mean this in the best way, not what I had expected. First, the restaurant is not nestled on a quiet side street and staffed by white-aproned waiters. Rather, it’s planted right in the midst of the hustle and bustle, and its waiters hover outside, enthusiastically greeting passers-by. Its menu is structured as most Italian restaurants’ are – extensive wine list, antipastas, soups and salads, primi and secondi, and, finally, dolce. Boyfriend and I opted to split Sicilian rice balls, which were fried crisp on the outside, and filled with a warm mix of melting mozzarella and white rice. Along side a smooth tomato sauce, they were a delicious start to the meal (though I did wish for a bit of a kick with the tomato sauce). For the main dish, Boyfriend opted for salmon and I chose the beef tenderloin. Both were fantastic – the pine nut sauce, accompanied by shallots, mushrooms, and chestnuts, that lay under my steak was creamy, rich, and perfectly seasoned; Boyfriend and I sopped every last bit of it up with soft, Italian bread.
Full and satisfied, we opted out of dessert and strolled through the East Village enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Amongst the bustling excitement of the city, on our way to one of our favorite bars, we happily declared our date a success. And thanked Frank Bruni for his wonderful recommendation.