It is the dream of all Top Chef contestants. It is what it seems the winners of the first 2 seasons of Hell’s Kitchen were promised but didn’t really get. Season 1 winner of Top Chef, Harold Dieterle, has his own Manhattan restaurant and it is getting great reviews. Open since May, 2007, Perilla is a Greenwich Village neighborhood restaurant with exceptionally high standards and proof that Top Chef contestants are for real.
Probably the least laudatory review of Perilla I have read is the recent New York Times review declaring the restaurant as merely “good,” and serving a cautious list of entrees that could have “evolved from some protein focus group.” The blogosphere has been decidedly kinder to Dieterle’s effort. Comments include “You must go there,” and “a serious restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” For some photos of the Perilla experience, check out This Is Gonna Be Good.
It looks like Perilla is a hit so far with the New York restaurant-going public. A quick check on OpenTable finds no tables available until next Monday, 5 days from now. Time will tell if it remains a hit when the TV celebrity effect wears off, but, for now, it looks like Top Chef really did identify a “top” chef.