A ‘Top Chef’ Surprise and Other Summer Treats

Perilla

Photo: Brian Kennedy


The lull of midsummer is already over, and new growths sprout everywhere. A young chef gives his first restaurant a go, a veteran gets his own place for the first time, and an established star gets a fresh start. We have restaurant openings, new and better lemonades, and even a baked squash blossom. Summer is starting to tire, but the food stays sharp.

• Adam Platt reviews former Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle’s Perilla and likes it enough to nearly forgive him for his association with the program. Pastry whiz Pichet Ong’s restaurant, though, is a somewhat harder sell for the Big Man, who rarely cottons to overcomplicated small plates.

• The Insatiable Critic stops in at L’Impero and enjoys the “unleashed exuberance” of newly installed chef Michael White.

• Rob and Robin turn us on to three new restaurants this week as well as nine of the best lemonades you’ll ever drink. Rounding out this issue’s foodstuffs are a recipe for baked squash blossoms from roasting king Waldy Malouf and two Short Lists, one about corn and the other about two worthy drinking events. All in all, it’s a lot to digest at once — but, as with so many big meals, well worth the effort.

Reality’s Bites
L’Impero
Openings: Crave Ceviche Bar, Accademia di Vino, BLT Market, and Little Piggy (Market)
Taste Test: Main Squeezes
Squash Blossoms
Gobs of Cobs
Raise a Glass, Raise Consciousness [NYM]