The debut of Pera Soho has added a novel sensory seductive Eastern Mediterranean - with a Turkish bias - destination and dimension to the vibrant dining landscape of one of Manhattan's most stylish neighborhoods.
The new 80-seat restaurant, located at 54 Thompson Street, proffers a singular menu that runs an intriguing gastronomic gamut from traditional Turkish meat preparations to contemporary interpretations of classic Eastern Mediterranean recipes.
The result of a culinary collaboration between the owner, Istanbul native Burak Karacam and Pera's team of chefs, Ryan Skeen, Kevin Cahill, and Sezai Celikbas, the acclaimed Turkish chef who opened Pera Soho's popular midtown Manhattan sibling Pera Mediterranean Brasserie five years ago.
Although Pera Soho is an extension of the Pera brand, it delivers a thoughtfully differentiated experience by design.
It has a more seasonal and seafood-centric menu, presented in a much edgier environment in which the starkly modern fuses with the ornately vintage in a downtown-Manhattan-meets-late-19th-century-Istanbul decorative mosaic.
Early crowd-pleasers on Pera Soho's menu reflect an affinity for multi-dimensional food, including: smoked eggplant with garlic yogurt; Turkish white anchovies with olives and grapefruit; raw sea urchin with pickled radish and parsnip among the mezes; and appetizers such as grilled prawns, coco beans, parsnip, black kale and bottarga; chilled crab and tabouleh salad, with coarse bulghur, parsley, mint, red onion, tomato, red and green peppers; and kale and fried chickpea salad with radish, piquillo peppers, smoked almonds, currants, and pickled red beet eggs.
Particularly palate-pleasing mains, in addition to Pera's signature Mediterranean meat dishes, are: grilled striped bass with slow-roasted squash and basil confit; pan roasted chicken with cucumber, red onion, pea tendrils, and harissa yoghurt sauce; sliced sirloin "shaslik" steak with grilled red and green, sweet onions and bulghur pilaf; and whole roasted leg of lamb, available for four diners with 24 hour notice.
While relishing what is placed on the ebony-dark, highly polished custom wood tables and ensconced in cream leather chairs, Pera Soho diners' eyes are drawn to monumental specially commissioned murals of landmarks in Pera, the restaurant's chic Istanbul neighborhood namesake, and photographs etched on bronzed mirrors of late 1800s Pera street scenes.
Pera Soho, 54 Thompson Street at the corner of Broome, is open daily for dinner and on Saturday and Sunday for brunch.
The garden area, warmed by heat lamps and a fire pit, is a cocktailing alternative to the indoor large bar and lounge area.