One year ago today, hurricane Sandy devastated homes and businesses, many irreparably, throughout the tri-state area. One restaurant that suffered extensive damage is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s sleek Perry St., located across from the West Village waterfront. Five feet of water flooded the kitchen; it took four months and millions of dollars in order to reopen. In the aftermath, some of the dishes on the menu — the fried chicken ($28), for example and the caramelized beef tenderloin ($36) — now resonate with extra comfort.
Even the vegetarian options seem to carry the deeper soul that comes with weathering a disaster. The ginger rice bowl, served as part of the three-course, prix-fixe “Taste of Fall” lunchtime menu ($28) is a prime example. The rice, fluffy and infused with ginger, serves as the base for a crispy poached egg — itself a miracle of modern cooking with its crunchy, panko-crusted, deep-fried white and still-runny yolk. A sprinkling of fresh scallion; smooth avocado; sharp pickled chile peppers; and a spicy, creamy Sriracha-style sauce finish the dish. Mix them all together like an elegant Korean bibimbap, and the combination is light, ethereally exotic and satisfying in every way.
Cedric Vongerichten, Jean-Georges’s son, is the executive chef who soldiered the restaurant through the storm and who is shepherding it onward. Though many restaurants were not able to reopen in Sandy’s wake, among those that have recently returned are Barbalu, formerly Barbarini at the South Street Seaport and The Water Club on the East River. Brooklyn’s The River Cafe is expected to reopen this week; and South Street Seaport’s The Bridge Cafe announced it is coming back in February. May they all bounce back as successfully as Perry St.
176 Perry St.