Note: Perle closed in January 2009. The space became “1834 Bar & Burger.”
What is it with classic French brasseries these days? In the last year, they’ve been sprouting up all over town, admittedly with mixed success. Just when Adam Platt was ready to dance on the grave of French cuisine, it has returned with a vengeance.
So now comes Perle, deep in the Financial District, on the same row of Colonial-era townhouses as Fraunces Tavern. It sports one of the glitziest websites we’ve seen in a while and a bi-level renovation that cannot have come cheap. The upstairs looks like a Paris transplant, while the bustling wine bar and “boudoir” (a private party room) downstairs have a more “clubby” vibe.
There’s nothing original on the menu, but everything we tasted was executed flawlessly, from Poulpes [octopus] Provençale ($11; above left) to a Terrine de Canard ($11; above center and right).
Likewise a humble but thoroughly addictive Bœef Bourguignon ($19; above left) and a tender Magret de Canard ($23; above right).
Service was just fine for this type of restaurant. Butter was too cold, but everything else was as it should be. A vegetable side dish went forgotten. We were not charged, but given the large portion sizes it was just as well. An after-dinner drink was comped.
At first, I feared the downstairs wine bar was doing better business than the dining room, but our reservation was early. By the time we left (around 8:20 p.m.) the dining room was about 2/3rds full. A place like this will need word-of-mouth, because it isn’t quite important enough to be a dining destination, and most of the critics are likely to ignore it—not that they should, but it’s the cold reality.
If you like French classics, you’ll probably love Perle.
Perle (62 Pearl Street near Broad Street, Financial District)