New Wave Italian Surprises and Wows at Perbacco

 per bacco interior

Perbacco is located at 234 East 4th Street near Avenue B in Manhattan’s far east village, and is open for dinner on Monday – Thursday 5PM – Midnight; Friday 5PM – 1AM; Saturday 5PM – 1AM and on Sunday 5PM – 12 AM. On weekends, the brunch and dinner menu are both available from 12PM – 4PM.  Prix Fixe Dinner Sunday Through Wednesday. For reservations, please call (212) 253-2038, and for more information, visit www.perbacconyc.com.IPhotos by Jade Hankinson

per bacco dessert

This small enchanting restaurant with its exposed brick walls hung with large mirrors, wood floors mottled ceiling and small tables is already discovered by a loyal clientele and can be high on the decibel scale, but it is also one of the most original Italian restaurants in New York and gives a new meaning to Italian cuisine,

The name translates to “wow” in Italian, which may just be the most used word in Perbacco’s dining room, where classic Italian ingredients are playfully spun on their axes and made anew. As Frank Bruni astutely described in his two-star New York Times review in 2008, “This humble setting in the far East Village is a trove of surprises, of dishes that don’t duplicate anything anywhere else in Manhattan.”Two years later,  he’s right: With the avant-garde culinary flair of WD~50 and the atmospheric charm of a tucked-away rustic trattoria, it’s a wonder that Perbacco has stayed under the radar of New York’s most driven food-lovers.But that can’t last. In these days of cookie-cutter Italian and over-hyped pretentious and disappointing impostors, Perbacco is a paragon of authenticity, invention and purity.  

Driving the operation are Gianluca Giovanetti and Pierluigi Palazzo, Italian restaurateurs and once-tourists who decided to hedge their funds on a restaurant venture that would catapult them into the center of NYC’s foodie culture. After opening Gnocco in 2000 in the heart of the East Village, they launched Perbacco in January 2003—at the time, the first enoteca to serve Italian fare in a small plates style—and earned enough food cred to ultimately consult on several other much-loved Italian eateries.

In the kitchen at Perbacco is Executive Chef Simone Bonelli, who was imported from Modena’s highly acclaimed Osteria La Francescana two years ago. It was there that he worked under famed chef Massimo Bottura and developed his signature “El Bulli-gone-Italian” style, wherein the traditional flavors and ingredients of classic dishes are preserved and exalted, only with contrasting textures, temperatures, consistencies and constructions. Needless to say, the menu has evolved from the original tapas-style dining, and though it is still best enjoyed through an array of affordable (yet generously portioned) small plates, its sophistication has yielded the introduction of chef’s tasting menus, both vegetarian and not.

per bacco interion 2

The menu may read quirkily, but while the food is definitely fun, it is never funny. The meal begins as unconventionally as it might end—perhaps with crème brulee. Here, it’s made with aged parmesan, a savory cheese mousse topped with a thick, crackly shell of balsamic-infused cream. Even the most stylized dishes make direct reference to authentic regional fare, as with the Olive all’Ascolana, green olives stuffed with four different kinds of meat, dunked in breadcrumbs and fried to resemble mini croquettes. They’re traditional Ascolian street food, small little treats that run the risk of clinical addiction.per bacco food1

An homage to Modena, the Antipasto Emiliano is anchored by pillowy puffs of fried dough—gnocco fritto, as they call it abroad—that are best enjoyed when topped with a slice of freshly cut prosciutto and slightly deflated into a wrapper-like shell. To cut the greasiness—something you’ll welcome rather than reject—the dish is served with a small, spherified cipollini onion whose gelatin exterior bursts in your mouth, releasing a cool, funky flavor whose effect is as pleasantly dizzying as the “wine guys’” course-by-course selections.

Move onto something more familiar—the Caprese—even if you may not recognize the avant garde rendition presented alongside its more traditional counterpart. It comes like a thickened soup in a glass espresso cup, tomato and basil water turned into a gelatin that sustains perfect little cubes of mozzarella. Just as impressive as the shocking composition is the pureness of each flavor, attributed to the quality of the ingredients that’s such a priority in the kitchen.per bacco wine wall

It would be a crime to skip Perbacco’s interpretation of spaghetti carbonara, a deconstructed take that looks more like dessert than a mid-meal course. Two tall arches of twisted up, fried spaghetti hug a scoop of parmesan gelato nestled atop dehydrated egg yolk; on the other side of the plate, a large yellow yolk, slow-cooked to a wobbly tenderness, sits on a bed of guanciale crumbles. It’s as artful as it is delicious, surprising, and creative—a cold, smooth, crunchy affair that delivers the undeniable essence of carbonara with a true new wave sensibility.

Traditional pastas, all made in house, benefit from a fun flip as well. Take, for instance, the ravioli that are filled with mascarpone and prosciutto, then topped with a melon carpaccio—it’s evidence of chef Bonelli’s playfulness in transforming familiar Italian flavors into something completely novel. perbacco-rosetta

The same goes for the Rosetta allo Speck e Buffala, a sideways lasagna of sorts that rolls together thick ribbons of pasta, speck and buffala mozzarella. Sure, it sounds delicious on its own, but the magic happens when a thick schmear of white truffle zabaglione is added around the perimeter, for use as copious or restrained as the diner might desire.perbacco-tuna

A final game to play before dessert is Perbacco’s entrees. Often a letdown in New York “Italian” restaurants (rarely in Italy)  they are high points. Vitello Tonnato, disguised as sushi, perhaps, and served as an alternating row of ever-so-gently seared tuna and veal dominoes, each garnished with the slightest sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper. Neighboring them, a shaved fennel and caper slaw and two traditional sauces, one with capers and one with tuna and mayo, for a mix-and-match custom creation.Meat lovers will adore Breaded and deep fried Lamb Loin served with 3 ways artichokes: sauce, fried and braised. per bacco ham

The experience is shaped by the charming manager Francesco Nuccitelli, whose effusive enthusiasm and knowledge for Perbacco’s food and wine give added momentum to an already energy-packed meal. If he doesn’t make recommendations himself, he’ll dispatch one of his extensively trained “wine guys,” who might recommend pairings based on geographical region or personal taste. The wine list is predominantly Italian, and largely affordable, with lesser-known, on-the-rise varietals like Frappato, Picocentro, Vernaccia Nera, or more well-known grapes like chardonnay that are often redefined by Perbacco’s expertly chosen selections. Recommended By The Glass: Le Sughere di Frassinello is the Estate’s second wine, and is made from 50% Sangioveto with equal percentages of Merlot and Cabernet. The wine is barriqued (50% new) and takes on a rich, spicy complexity. This is drinking well now but will certainly age. For white: Vos de Vigne Angoris 2003 at $15 per glass is plump, rich and a delight.

   perbaccoburger 

Enjoy the fantastic desserts, by Executive Pastry Chef ~ Luca Balboni, with  a glass of Vin Santo—one of the house’s most prized bottles—might accompany a burger. Surprised? Its buns and patty are made of white and dark chocolate mousse, strawberry puree stands in for ketchup, caramelized apples acts as onions, and they’re all stacked next to a pile of julienned gingered pear fries. But for those who want dessert to look like, well, dessert, the delicately constructed Millefoglie with strawberries, lemon cream, and mint gelato, is a must. With its light but assertive crunch and cool, crisp flavor combination, it’s one last surprise and one more reason to say, “Perbacco!”

Cookies and espresso are a perfect conclusion and the warm, guiding service is a standout. No serious foodie should neglect the Perbacco experience. We have added it to our updated list of personal favorites and so will you.

 

 


 

 

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Perbacco celebrates the black summer truffle season—

In Rome, popular belief has it that truffles are a divine fruit—the byproduct of Jove’s thunderbolt—and it’s not hard to see why. What was once reserved for use as an aphrodisiac for Italian princes and princesses is now a celebrated luxury for the masses, and it’s almost time for them to find their way back onto our plates. Starting July 10th, Perbacco celebrates the black summer truffle season—the first crop of the year—with a three-course menu honoring the tuber’s fabulously funky flavor. The three courses can be ordered a la carte or as a complete experience for just $59—a testament that perhaps Jove is blessing us with a luxury we can actually afford.

Perbacco’s Speciali Tartufatti

Antipasti

Uova Asparagi e Tartufi

A low-temperature cooked egg served with white asparagus chips and braised shallots, and a scrambled egg with grilled white asparagus, both topped with black truffle

18.00

Pasta

Tagliolini al Tartufo Nero Estivo su Crema di Burrata

Homemade tagliolini pasta sautéed with black summer truffle sauce and burrata cheese cream topped with thinly sliced black summer truffle

32.50

Dolce

Semifreddo al Miele di Corbezzolo con Tartufo Nero Estivo

Bitter honey and fresh truffle parfait on a truffle biscuit served with Madeira zabaglione sauce and topped with crystallized truffle slices

15.00

Order all three in conjuction for $59

Perbacco is located at 234 East 4th Street near Avenue B in Manhattan’s far east village, and is open for dinner on Monday – Thursday 5PM – Midnight; Friday 5PM – 1AM; Saturday 5PM – 1AM and on Sunday 5PM – 12 AM. On weekends, the brunch and dinner menu are both available from 12PM – 4PM. For reservations, please call (212) 253-2038, and for more information, visit www.perbacconyc.com.

a new Broadway production of ANYTHING GOES

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
Announces dates & venue!
Sutton Foster
To star
In a new Broadway production of
ANYTHING GOES
Music & Lyrics by
Cole Porter
Original book by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton
and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse
New book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman
Directed & Choreographed by
Kathleen Marshall
Click here for a Q&A with Artistic Director Todd Haimes about the production.<http://www.myroundaboutblog.com/?p=2108>
Previews begin March 10th, 2011;
Official Opening April 7th, 2011
on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) announces the dates and venue for the new Broadway production of Anything Goes, starring Tony® Award winner Sutton Foster as "Reno Sweeney."
Directed & choreographed by Tony® Award winner Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes will begin performances March 10th, 2011 and officially open on April 7th, 2011 on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (124 West 43rd Street).
Music & lyrics by Cole Porter; original book by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse; New book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman.
The creative team includes Rob Fisher (Music Supervisor).  The design team includes Derek McLane (Sets), Martin Pakledinaz (Costumes) and Peter Kaczorowski (Lights).  Additional design team and cast members will be announced shortly.
ALL ABOARD for this saucy and splendid new production of Cole Porter’s musical romp across the Atlantic.  When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love… proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail. Peppering this hilariously bumpy ride are some of musical theater’s most memorable standards, including "You’re the Top," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," "It’s De-Lovely," "I Get A Kick Out of You," and "Anything Goes."

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Riesling Flight

In the mid-19th Century, the Rieslings of Germany had achieved international fame equivalent to the red wines of Bordeaux. L’Ecole: the Restaurant of the French Culinary Institute hopes to capture the glory of these unique and beautiful wines once again with their Riesling week selections. Tthe sixth annual “Riesling Week,” a celebration of the diverse Rieslings from Germany, Austria and Alsace begins Monday, July 26th ending Sunday, July 31st. L’Ecole is offering Riesling enthusiasts a flight of three different German Rieslings, 2 oz each for $20. The flight was carefully selected to reflect the best of the region.  The flight selections and a description of each wine are below. L’Ecole of the French Culinary Institute is located at 462 Broadway (at Grand St.) New York, NY for reservations or additional information, call 646.254.7551.

Riesling Flight


Fritz Hasselbach, Fritz’s Riesling, Rheinhessen, Germany 2008

Fritz Hasselbach, the winemaker of the Gunderloch Estate, has started his own project producing high quality wines at an accessible value. He sources his grapes from the Roter Hang (red slope) along the Rhein River which is known for its mineral-rich red slate soil. On the nose, this bright wine shows crisp peach and pear giving way to tart apricot and rain-soaked stones on the palate.

Dönhoff, Nahe, Germany 2009

Helmut Dönhoff has created some of the greatest Rieslings on earth. His 2009 Estate Riesling has a gorgeous smoky nose with a touch of tarragon and mint. It is somehow both dynamic and gentle on the palate. The finish has a salty minerality with vibrant acidity that makes it the perfect food companion.

Alfred Merkelbach, Ürziger Würzgarten, Spätlese, Mosel, Germany 2008

These wines are crafted with the utmost care by brothers Alfred and Rolf giving the clearest look into pure Mosel wine with vivid clarity of fruit and terroir. A vein of red clay runs through Ürziger Würzgarten (spice garden) giving this wine its eponymous spice. This is a racy, juicy wine with some delicate springtime blossom and spiced apple. It is opulent yet refined.

Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers PRESENTS THE NEW VOGUE IN SHOPPING

Sheraton_HK

Shopping just got a whole lot more fun – simply have a couple of days dedicated to fabulous shopping and get a Personal Shopping Porter to go at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers to carry all your shopping bags. Your shopping adventure is all taken care of and it will be a “light” experience that everyone fancies.

Having not to worry about your shopping bags, you can simply look posh and gorgeous in your designer dress, stiletto heels and designer handbag when you shop.  Book the limousine service and have a Personal Shopping Porter to go while treating yourself to hours of fabulous shopping.

Conveniently staged at the top of Kowloon’s Gold Mile along Victoria Harbour, the hotel is accessible from the train station, ferry terminal and MTR station all within 10 minutes. Lined with flagship designer shops and mega shopping malls, the prime location offers a great start of shopping adventure.

When you can pull yourself away for a break, what would be better than an afternoon tea set with a panorama harbour view at the Sky Lounge on the 18th floor? To ease away the tiredness after a whole day of shopping, the body deserves to get rejuvenated with a relaxing soak and a glass of champagne. The next best thing to do is to fall asleep on the Sweet Sleeper Bed for a restful night. In the next morning, get energized with a delicious breakfast and be ready for another day of fabulous shopping.

This is an experience that can’t be beat! Book now and enjoy special privileges like no other.

The New Vogue in Shopping package includes:

  • Afternoon tea with a view
  • Relaxing soak & bubbles
  • Energizing breakfast
  • Shopping Porter to go (optional)

Package starts from HK$2,000 per night and is valid for travels of 2 nights from now through 31 August 2010. Bookings are subject to availability and can be made at http://specialoffers.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton_hongkong or +852 2732 6771.


SHERATON HONG KONG HOTEL & TOWERS
20 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
sheraton.com/hongkong

THE EASTERN & ORIENTAL EXPRESS INTRODUCES NEW JOURNEYS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Eastern & Oriental Express

easternandorientalexpress

The Eastern & Oriental Express (E & O) has long offered travelers the opportunity to experience the Golden Age of train travel through one of the world’s most beautiful and exotic regions.  This November, Orient-Express is introducing the Chronicles of Southeast Asia — four new journeys that enable guests on the E & O to experience the region in even greater depth.   The new itineraries will take passengers in comfort to places off the beaten track and essentially turn the train into a touring hotel – a window onto the world of Southeast Asia.  To ensure ultimate exclusivity and a more personalized experience, capacity on each trip will be limited to 60 guests and only presidential and state carriages will be in use.  The new routes include:

Epic Thailand (6 nights): Bangkok/Isan/Chiang Mai/Lampang/Bangkok.
This journey visits sites in Northern Thailand — traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and through fascinating, untouched landscapes.  The huge diversity of Thailand is evident: remote settlements on the Isan plains; ancient temples that retain otherworldy beauty and tranquility; the culture-rich city of Chiang Mai and the Khao Yai National Park – home to wild elephants, gibbons, and fabulous birds. Highlights include:

  • A walking tour through a traditional village in Isan
  • A sunset candlelight reception at Prasat Sikoraphum – a restored 12th- century Khmer Temple
  • Lunch with the first female Thai oenologist at Khao Yai Gran Monte Vineyard
  • The opportunity to participate in a Bai Sii (sacred thread) ceremony
  • Touring the town of Lampang "wild-west style" in a traditional pony trap.

Aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express

aboardtheeando

Fables of the Hills

(6 nights): Singapore/Kuala Lumpur/Cameron Highlands (overnight)/Penang/Surat Thani/River Kwai/Bangkok.
This tour takes visitors north from Singapore through the beautiful Cameron Highlands to Bangkok and highlights some of the best and most compelling parts of Asia:  the colonial heritage of Malaysia’s mist-shrouded Cameron Highlands, the historic Bridge over the River Kwai and the varied architecture of cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Kangsar and Georgetown on the island of Penang. Highlights include:

  • Kuala Lumpur city tour, including a visit to "The School of Hard Knocks" (for the history and facts of pewter)
  • Strawberry and tea tastings in the Cameron Highlands
  • Surat Thani Monkey Training College

Legends of the Peninsula (6 nights): Bangkok/River Kwai/Trang (overnight)/Penang/Kuala Lumpur/Singapore.
From the city of Bangkok to the beaches of Trang on the crystalline Andaman Sea and the colonial architecture of Kuala Lumpur, this land voyage through Asia encourages guests to join in and do something new. Highlights include:

  • The River Kwai Bridge
  • A sojourn at Trang that offers the chance to take part in a range of water sports
  • Dugong trekking
  • Thai cooking classes

Tales of Laos (3 nights): Bangkok/Pimai/Khao Yai/Vientiane/Bangkok.
E & O passengers are among the few to travel this route. It is an evocative way to arrive in a country once part of old Indochina and subsequently sealed off from the rest of Asia for many years. Vientiane has a delightful old-world air, with traditional markets, golden temples and colonial residences lining leafy boulevards.  Highlights include:

  • Stopping at Phimai to explore the impressive Angkor-style Khmer temples
  • Discovering the vineyards of the scenic Khao Yai hills and sampling the "new" latitude wines cultivated there.

Prices start at US $3,900. For more information and departure dates, please visit: http://www.orient-express.com/web/eoe/chronicles_asia.jsp.

Buena Vista Carneros

buena vista

Buena Vista Carneros, which was founded in Sonoma in 1857 , enjoys a rich heritage as the birthplace of California’s wine industry.  It is California’s first premium winery.  The Buena Vista Carneros tasting room is located in the historic winery’s original press house, which was built in 1862, and is located just minutes from downtown Sonoma’s picturesque Plaza. 

Guests can choose from a variety of tasting experiences at Buena Vista Carneros.

An educational food & wine pairing is hosted daily at 10:30 a.m.  Various Buena Vista Carneros wines are paired with lemon slices, olives, salami and cheese and guests learn about acidity, mouth feel and the effects of fats and proteins on wine, so that they can apply those principles at home when hosting dinners.

Ranging in price from $20 – $85/person, some tasting experiences include a tour of the historic winery, five Buena Vista Carneros wines paired with cheese and charcuterie, or catered picnics hosted Wine Country-style with linens and proper glasses at the picnic tables on the historic grounds. Guests also have the option of bringing their own picnics, and renting linens and glasses from the winery for a nominal fee.

Winemaker Jeff Stewart produces two lines of critically-acclaimed wines: the Carneros Series and the Ramal Vineyard Series.  Both offer exceptional options for people who enjoy Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot, but a limited number of cases of the Ramal Vineyard Series wines are produced, and often feature single block designates.

Madame Tong’s REDEUX

Madame Tong’s REDEUX (www.mtredeux.com)

256 Elm Street

Southampton, NY

The East End hotspot, an A-list celebrity and socialite favorite, has made its debut back into the social and dining scene that the Hamptons is known for. Owners Ian Duke, of Prohibition fame (Upper West Side, NYC) and David Hilty revitalized the space and created something bigger, better and new.

REDEUX means remix, and that is just what the new Hamptons eatery is about.  With new owners, a new menu, new chef Frank Coe, and a new décor, the nighttime haunt is creating quite a stir and taking the East End scene by storm.  The chicly decorated restaurant will serve up Asian Fusion fare, complimented by a sultry environment comprised of Chinese lanterns, dark mahogany hardwood floors and cozy banquettes. The bars (one inside bar and two outside) are a sexy setting for sipping summertime cocktails.

Foodies will indulge in a creative menu that blends Asian cuisine with modern flair (sure-to-be-signature-favorites include, Tuna Ching Chong Chew, Szechuan Seared Rib Eye Steak and Tamarind Glazed Spare Ribs) and an exclusive cocktail list of infused spirits and fresh fruits like the Madame’s Frozen Cosmo, Coconut Caprioska and the Pink Orchid.