Restaurant of the Week: Perilla

Julie Besonen

Stars of reality shows don’t always do well in reality. Look at Rocco DiSpirito, ignominiously booted from The Restaurant. The first winner of Survivor, Richard Hatch, got sent to the pokey for tax evasion. And let’s not even get into certain bombshell blondes. But the fate of Harold Dieterle, the victor of Bravo’s first Top Chef season, looks sunny. His winnings helped finance culinary travels, as well as Perilla, the new West Village restaurant he opened with partner Alicia Nosenzo. The bistrolike space feels timeless, with a snappy bar, zebra-striped wood tables and a series of half-moon red booths. Other nice touches emerge, like lovely glassware, tiny bowls of sea salt and oatmeal-tamarind cookies sweetening the check presentation. The seasonal American menu wows without being flashy. A quivering quail egg nestles atop spicy duck meatballs the size of cocktail olives ($12). Bay scallops on the half shell get a zip of freshness from cucumber slivers ($11). Black-bean-glazed black cod is a glorious, fatty hunk of fish shrouding a mound of spaghetti squash and toasted almonds ($25). Nothing boring about crisp-roasted organic chicken, either, with peeled asparagus, hazelnuts and apricot ($21). The global wine and beer list -- which even features a porter from Finland! -- is inspired. And so are the desserts by Seth Caro -- ruby strawberries with ricotta cheesecake and a hint of tarragon ($9). I missed the first season of Top Chef but it’s not hard to see why Harold Dieterle won. 9 Jones St., (212) 929-6868.

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