Yerba Buena Perry – Latin American Cuisine

I was excited to see that Yerba Buena Perry was taking part in New York Restaurant Week – I had visited it once before and had one of the most amazing meals of my time so far in New York. The flavors were fresh, unique and truly jumped of the plate, so a return trip was not going to be a chore!

When we arrived for our 9:45 reservation, the restaurant was full with the exception of our small corner table. We ordered a couple of cocktails to begin with – unfortunately I can’t remember their names or exact ingredients, except one was a sweet drink, with a touch of tomato and was divine!

Our server was a very chatty, helpful chap – the type that when you begin to ask menu questions doesn’t get frazzled or annoyed, but answers them with as much detail and precision as possible, without making you feel like you’re an inconvenience – a very unique skill in the New York hospitality industry!

So to start with, I ordered the “Ceviche Chifa” – raw, diced flounder with scallions, ginger, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, peanuts, habanero-yuzu leche de tigre and black sesame. My companion ordered the “Tacos de Pescado” – Tilapia Baja style, mango slaw and chipotle salsa. Both were good, but didn’t live up to the standards of my previous visit when I ordered the Tuna ceviche with sweet onion, pickled watermelon and jalapeno-soy… that was amazing and has unfortunately had my mouth-watering for a similar experience ever since! Try to imagine the sweet and sourness of pickled watermelon, mixed with the salty, spicy combination of jalapeno soy and finally the freshness sashimi tuna that was perfectly complemented by each flavor… it was orgasmic!

Ceviche Chifa

Tacos de Pescado

Moving on, for our second course we had the Halibut with yucca puree, tamarind-aji panca glazed and pickled slaw. My companion ordered the “Entrana” – skirt steak, crispy yucca balls and avocado salad.  The fish was cooked nicely, with a soft, flaky texture and the pureed yucca with tamarind-aji was creamy with a spicy Peruvian twist. The steak on the other hand, I didn’t particularly like – it was ordered medium-rare, but was served well done (I know that is tricky to achieve on such a thin piece of beef, but why ask for a temperature if you don’t plan to cook to it?) Plus, while the flavors were fresh the meat was overbearing, and I think this was also due to the fact the meat was overcooked. On my previous visit to the restaurant I had ordered the grilled Black Cod with pepian-peruvian corn puree, miso and chipotle pomegranate sauce. It was a while ago now, but I distinctly remember how beautiful the cod, that melted in your mouth, tasted against the silky corn puree and sweet and spicy pomegranate sauce, which popped as you ate it. On that same visit the Bogan ordered he “Costilla malbec braised short ribs” with Peruvian lo mein and poached egg black bean salsa… he was in heaven! The meat was slow cooked and tender with the cracked egg yolk oozing over the dish and the beans adding a saltiness that seasoned the beef. Unfortunately my restaurant week visit didn’t quite do those wonderful memories justice.

Halibut with yucca puree, tamarind-aji panca glazed and pickled slaw

Getting a close-up of that fish!

Skirt steak, crispy yucca balls and avocado salad

The final course, desert, we demolished. In fact, we ate it up so fast I didn’t get time to even get a quick snap in! All I can tell you is we ordered the “Churros dusted with cinnamon and served with chocolate and dulce de leche sauces” and something else… no idea what (I had a 1/3 of a bottle of wine and cocktails under my belt by that point, so I am doing well to tell you that much!)

All in all the evening was enjoyable and the service excellent, but the food unfortunately not as I remember. If I had been tasting the menu for the first time, due to restaurant week, I don’t think I’d return, but as I have had the pleasure of trying the full menu and have memories of mind-blowing food, I know that Yerba Buena Perry is certainly capable of more – we just didn’t experience that tonight.

So tell me Dear Reader, does it disappoint you when your amazing memories of a place are everything but relived on your return?

Yerba Buena Perry

1 Perry St

New York, NY 10014

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