Mon-Thu, 5:30pm-11pm; Fri, 5:30pm-11:30pm; Sat, 11am-2:30pm and 5:30-11:30pm; Sun, 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-10pm
1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.; A, B, C, D, E, F, V at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
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When news that Top Chef's inaugural winner, Harold Dieterle, had opened his very own restaurant in the West Village, I put off my visit for as long as possible. After all, who wants to eat chunks of rainbow trout weirdly paired with polenta (the unfortunate creation of a recent ex-contestant), or an endless parade of neon-colored pork dishes (pork being the ingredient of choice, these days, among restaurant and reality-TV chefs alike)? The name of Dieterle’s new restaurant is Perilla, which is the formal name for the tangy, mint-related herb the Japanese call shiso. But despite this bit of preciousness, there is nothing too precious, or disastrously kitschy, about the restaurant itself. It’s a solid, satisfying, somewhat cautiously conceived neighborhood restaurant—a place, in fact, about as far away, in tone and purpose, from the bright, harried kitchens of a reality-television show as it’s possible to be.