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Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan

Perbacco report

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Perbacco report

scrittrice | May 16, 2003 01:58 PM

There have been a few reports on this place, but farther down, so I thought I'd start a new thread. It's on E. 4th between A&B. The menu is mostly small dishes, $4 or $5 (a few are more), with a list of specials that included a couple primi (lasagne verdi were tempting), some salads, and a couple secondi. The staff is all Italian (wasn't someone looking for a place to speak Italian once upon a time?), really earnest, and the space itself is very cute and rustic. Wine list has a few things that I don't see everywhere. We had a vernaccia that was $27, although they made a (not obnoxious) attempt to sell us a $42 sauvignon blanc.

We all ordered 2 or 3 small dishes, and that--with generous amounts of wine--was plenty. Standouts for me were the erbazzone (a flatbread with greens and cheese), meatballs, arancini, and the octopus terrine (which wasn't really a terrine, but very tasty). The best dessert was the simplest one: lemon sorbet with sparkling wine poured over it. I'd be curious to try the tigelle menu (a special bread served with cold cuts and cheese), but didn't have a chance. It wasn't very crowded, but I was still pleased that they didn't rush us at all. I really had the sense we could have sat there all night. It struck me that this is the kind of place that Otto is trying to imitate, but I liked Perbacco a lot better, and it has a much, much more relaxed vibe.

I'm not a big fan of the "tapas-style" menu in general. I think the stuff isn't usually very good quality, for the same reason that dim sum never tastes as good as it looks: they have to make it all in advance. But for its genre, this was very good. The other thing I don't like about the tapas system is that my eyes are too big for my stomach, but I suppose I can't blame that on the restaurant! And if you do go: cash only. We made a last-minute dash to the ATM around the corner when we realized.

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