Pera is a most welcome addition to the area where it is helping (along with the Sushi Thai Garden, Spice Root, and Tony's Sombrero) to transform Spring Street into a street of international cuisine. I have visited Pera no less that 20 times since it opened and can vouch for the consistency in quality in all meals from Sunday brunch (more later) to lunch to dinner and late night dinner. (The TripAdvisor review that advises you to skip dinner is way, way off the mark!)
The atmosphere is one of understated, casual graciousness, and the owner, Fahri, is a charming host who oversees the establishment with loving attention and genuine warmth. The waitstaff are attentive, concerned, efficient and friendly. It is a great place to have a quiet tête-à-tête or a dinner with friends. It never feels crowded or noisy, even when practically every table is taken.
The menu by Chef Randy is varied, healthful and features one delectable dish after another. You must try the sampler of Mediterranean appetizers featuring falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, etc. --- it is a meal in itself and a perfect lunch for two. The selection of fresh soups never disappoints, nor do the other daily specials, of which, the lamb burger has become a hit. For lunch, I am particularly fond of the chicken kabob wrap with its zesty maple chipotle dressing. And I enjoy the healthy sides that are available, especially the butternut squash, which is also a great substitute for dessert.
I appreciate that the lunch menu is also available for dinner, but to miss the dinner entrees would be unfortunate. I've a good friend who swears by the Scallops Alfredo, but I can't seem get enough of the Calamari Fra Diavolo -- I always do, however, due to the plentiful portions, half of which frequently travel home. The food is gourmand quality and is a much better value than that of some more pretentious and overpriced establishments, which do not offer a dining experience as nice as Pera's. There is a small bar, with some well-chosen wines. Currently the Malbec and Pinot Noir, are exceptional.
The newest feature at Pera is the scrumptious Sunday brunch, which is graced by the presence of an incredible young violinist, Sato Matsui, whose music is varied and as beautiful as her smile, which itself lends inestimably to the atmosphere. My party felt as if we were in a European café as Sato played everything from classical to La Vie en Rose and Paper Moon! The brunch features hearty three-egg omelettes, salmon, and the expected suspects with some clever and tasty twists. Bellinis, mimosas and Bloody Marys complete the experience. The music begins at about 11 and goes until about 1:30, but brunch goes until 3:00.
There is also takeout available, should one want to impress guests. But I recommend dining in! There is also talk of late nights with music on weekends!
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