Entries in Harold Dieterle (3)


The Marrow

Note: The Marrow closed in October 2014 after two years in business. Reviews were mixed, and the public never fell in love with the restaurant’s bifurcated Italian/German concept.


Either Harold Dieterle is an ace restaurateur, or he has some terrific advisers. The former Top Chef winner now has three NYC restaurants, and by my reckoning they’re all hits, which seems to be the public verdict, as well. That kind of success doesn’t happen by accident.

Welcome to The Marrow, which opened in late December, joining a brood that now includes Perilla (opened 2007) and Kin Shop (2010).

Admittedly, he’s not aiming high at any of these places: they straddle the line between neighborhood spots and minor destinations. They’re all basically casual, two-star places when they’re on their game.

You’ve got to give the guy credit for taking some risks. After the generic, New American Perilla, he opened a Thai restaurant, of all things, at Kin Shop. It could easily have flopped, but didn’t.

At The Marrow, there’s a bifurcated menu, with German dishes on the right and Italian ones on the left, reflecting the chef’s family heritage. (The menu is actually laid out like a family tree, which sounds more gimmicky than it is.) There’s no perceptible market demand for this odd combination, so you’ve got to assume that Dieterle is serving what he actually believes in.

The tightly edited menu offers six charcuterie options ($6–14), eight starters ($12–15), eight mains ($23–33) and four sides ($10–14), in each case split half-and-half between the German and Italian sides of a single sheet of paper. Some of the prices are a bit aggressive, including all of the sides and a $26 mushroom entrée. Main course portions are quite ample, and most seem to come with vegetables anyway, so I am not sure why you would even need those sides.

If we’re nitpicking, it must be noted that some of the assignments to the German or Italian side seem arbitrary. The chicken entrée is (supposedly) Italian, but Dieterle’s preparation of it—admittedly excellent—is generic enough to fit almost any menu in town.

The wine list isn’t online, which is a shame. It’s one of the deeper wine lists I’ve seen at a new, casual restaurant. You can do real (financial) damage here, or order the Fabrizio Iuli ($49; above left), as we did, and be very happy. A sommelier comes promptly to the table, knows the list well, and presents a bottle that has been kept at the proper temperature.

In relation to the price of the restaurant, the $12 cocktails could be considered a bargain. We can endorse the Marrow 75 (bitter truth pink gin, lemon, sage, blanc de blancs) and the Bank Robber (bulleit bourbon, punt e mes, Campari).


You’ll guess that Liverwurst ($10; above left) came from the German side of the menu. But how about the signature Bone Marrow, a trench of bone topped off with sea urchin, fried potatoes, meyer lemon aioli, and baby celery greens? It comes from the Italian side, though I’ve not seen it anywhere, and I doubt that Grandma Chiarelli served it at home either. But it’s terrific: surely a must-order. I’ll bet he sends out hundreds of them every week.


I’d skip the Duck Schnitzel ($29; above left), which was too dry. It needs more of the stewed wolfberries (upper left in the photo), to contrast with the bland, pan-fried duck. The quark spaetzle, hazelnuts, and cucumber-potato salad aren’t memorable either. But the aforementioned chicken ($24; above right) is a winner. The bird itself is beautifully done; hiding underneath is a warm medley of fennel, fried salami, and Brussels sprouts.

The service was attentive and professional. I thought we might have been recognized, as initially a host told us we could not be seated before our appointed time (though there clearly were many empty tables) at 7:00 pm), but then another host overruled her, and decided we could. The bar was packed, and by the time we finished up, 90 minutes later, so was the (fairly small) dining room.

The menu is evolving: the version on the website is not exactly what we had, and there were also a number of announced specials. Although there was one dud (the Duck Schnitzel), this is a restaurant well worth returning to.

The Marrow (99 Bank Street at Greenwich Street, West Village)

Food: Half Italian, Half German, very liberally interpreted
Service: Very good, especially for such a new place
Ambiance: Upscale West Village Casual

Why? Dieterle is an excellent chef, never boring, and usually terrific


Kin Shop

Note: Harold Dieterle closed Kin Shop and its sister restaurant, Perilla, late in 2015. He said that he was “not having fun and enjoying myself.”


Harold Dieterle, the winner of Top Chef Season 1, has done many admirable things. To date, he is the only winner of that show to parlay his success into a restaurant: Perilla.

And since opening three years ago, Dieterle has basically stayed put, focusing on his kitchen, not photo-ops. Critical reception was tepid, but we liked Perilla when we visited earlier this year, and it remains steadily busy.

A few weeks ago, he opened Kin Shop, a Thai restaurant. Yeah, it’s a bit of an eye-roller: both the kitschy name, and the deeper question whether Thai cuisine is something a non-native can just dabble in.

Does Kin Shop qualify as an authentic Thai restaurant? I’ll leave that debate to others. In an interview, Dieterle wisely described the menu as “spins on traditional dishes” and “original stuff with influences from Thai flavors and ingredients.” In short: it doesn’t much matter whether you would see these exact dishes in Thailand.

The menu is much more focused than at the typical Thai restaurant, where you could visit every day for months without running out of new things to try. There are just two dozen items, all served family style, as sharable plates. It’s fairly priced for the West Village, though not if your idea of great NYC Thai food is a place in Queens. Salads and soups are $9–14, vegetables $8–9, noodles and curries $14–25.

Spicy Duck Laab Salad ($13; above left) was aggressively hot. We loved it, but we were left with no taste for the Beef Tartare ($14; above right), which failed to make much of an impression.

Dieterle’s skill with proteins really shone, including the tenderest duck breast ($24; above left) that I’ve had in a long time. Put it in pancakes and add some red curry sauce, and you are in for a treat.

Goat ($21; above right) came with a milder curry sauce and a blaze of fried shallots, purple yams, mustard greens, and toasted coconuts. It seemed to be the same cut that would be called osso buco if it were veal, and if this were Italy. Having been braised for many hours, it came off the bone like butter. [Update: Justin, in the comments, says it’s the neck, not the osso buco.]

We didn’t mind the family-style service, but the food came out too fast. Our first two items, plus a Stir Fry of Aquatic Vegetables ($9; above left), all arrived at once. Perhaps we’d have liked that Beef Tartare better if the Duck Laab Salad hadn’t been there to overwhelm it. Perhaps the vegetables wouldn’t have seemed dispensable if they’d been served later.

The two entrées came together, as well, and I began to suspect this was part of a strategy for turning tables. Kin Shop is packed in its early days: both the bar (where they also serve food) and the tables were full, and the host was turning walk-ins away. Servers, at least, are attentive and well informed about the cuisine.

The space is narrow, with an open kitchen in the back. There is exposed brick, painted white. Green floral wall hangings match the banquettes, in a design not especially suggestive of Thailand. It is exactly what you expect a West Village-y dining room to be.

I suspect the Sripraphai set will sniff haughtily at Kin Shop, but Harold Dieterle’s version of Thai cuisine is very good indeed.

Kin Shop (469 Sixth Avenue between 11th & 12th Streets, West Village)

Food: **
Service: *
Ambaince: *
Overall: *½



Note: Harold Dieterle closed Perilla and its sister restaurant, Kin Shop, late in 2015. He said that he was “not having fun and enjoying myself.”


On every episode of Top Chef, host Padma Lakshmi announces that the last surviving chef will win $100,000 (upgraded to $125k in Season 6), “to help turn their culinary dreams into reality.”

So, how many winners have actually parlayed their victory into a new restaurant? Exactly one: Harold Dieterle, the top chef of Season 1, who opened Perilla in May 2007, a year after his win.

Frank Bruni, who awarded one star in the Times, noted the odd trajectory of Dieterle’s success: “Fame on the small screen wasn’t a result of a packed restaurant; his packed restaurant is a result of his fame on the small screen. That’s reality television for you — it scrambles cause and effect, defying the laws of celebrity physics.”

Despite Bruni’s faint praise (he found the menu “cautious” and “straightforward”), Perilla has thrived. We found it packed on a Saturday evening. Meanwhile, the menu has broadened a bit. In serving entrées like Sautéed Triggerfish and Tasting of Local Rabbit, no one can accuse Dieterle of copying everybody else.

The menu is American seasonal cuisine, somewhat reminiscent of the Red Cat, though Perilla is a nicer restaurant. Prices are moderate for food of this quality, with appetizers $11–15, entrées $21–28, and side dishes $8–10.

Crispy Wild Boar Belly ($12; above left) is a clever play on the pork belly that every other chef is serving. The pairing with stewed huckleberries is inspired. We also appreciated that the kitchen divided the dish without prompting, after we told our server that we intended to share it.

We also shared the Spicy Duck Meatballs ($13; above right). It’s a good dish, abetted by a runny quail egg, but the heat stayed behind in the kitchen: we didn’t find it all that spicy at all.

I’m always hesitant about ordering steak in a non-steakhouse, but we took the plunge here and weren’t disappointed. Ribeye for two ($70) was nearly as good as the better steakhouses serve. These days, most restaurants source their aged beef from the major big-name purveyors, like Debragga or LaFreida, so all the kitchen needs to do is have a broiler that can apply a crusty char. Perilla has that, which ensured that this ribeye would make it into the pantheon.

That ribeye was a bargain, given that it came with two sides: potato croquettes and roasted beets with chestnuts. (Most steakhouses would charge at least as much for that ribeye alone.) We adored the beet–chestnut dish, the first time we recall seeing that anywhere. The croquettes, although we could not finish them, were also brilliant, with a crisp crust giving way to silky creamed potatoes.

We never visited Perilla when it was new, but we got the sense that extra tables had been squeezed in to cope with peak demand. There isn’t much room to maneuver here, although the room isn’t as noisy as such places can sometimes be. Despite the crowds, service was warm and efficient.

We came to Perilla mostly out of curiosity—wondering if the former Top Chef winner was really a great discovery, or if he was just coasting on his reputation. We went home remarkably impressed. Harold Dieterle is an excellent chef, and Perilla is a terrific restaurant.

Perilla (9 Jones Street between West 4th & Bleecker Streets, West Village)

Ambiance: ½