Perennial – Restaurant Week Wraps-Up

February 27 2011 - 4:23 PM

So as a last minute addition to our gastonomic-calendar we snagged a table at Perennial. The menu seemed at a glance fairly common. Pork Belly, short ribs, scallops… nothing dissimilar to more than a couple other restaurants. But at the same time it gives one a point of comparison.

While I've been to Perennial for a few drink-focused events, I haven't enjoyed a meal there. I was encouraged to see that several of the Restaurant Week menu items are on their regular menu as well. Also as it's restaurant week, it's hard to tell if the crowd was typical. It seemed to be a great date spot for the younger Lincoln Park crowd.

Starting with the squash soup set the tone for the night. It was wonderful and concentrated. A perfect puree, the only texture was added in the form of a spicy/crunch trail mix of seeds and a gooey/sweet marshmallow dollop that I stirred-up, resulting in a whirling pattern. It was fantastic.

The tofu entree was very enticing but I went with the pork belly instead and was glad I did. While I was sort of expecting a very meaty porchetta-like cut that seems to have replaced the wafer-crisp atop fluffy fat that I so crave, what was served was a great blend of the two. It wasn't the iconic pork belly but instead seemed to be the best of both worlds. Parts were meaty, parts were fatty –not so much with the crispy. It was served with pickled cabbage, a cider puree which was very special and a small brick of spaetzle that was too small to be a 'side' and too bland to have much of an impact. By the glass Vin de Pays pinot went very well with this dish.

The scallops were served in an onion broth with carrots and greens and was very good as well. The onion broth standing out as a lovely aromatic overtone for the dish. The chenin blanc by-the-glass was a blend with viognier which worked very well with here.

Perennial's Executive Chef, Ryan Poli, creates food described as New American with a Spanish style. I'll keep that in mind next time which will hopefully be soon.