[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

It takes a lot for me to order pancakes. In part that's because when it comes to breakfast and brunch, savory wins over sweet every time. But it's also because there's nothing quite like the disappointment that stems from crummy pancakes. You know, the crusty and leaden ones, the blandly cakey-sweet ones, the pancakes with no character, no contrast, no real interest other than a flood of sugar and fat.

These are not those pancakes.


The Foie Gras Pancakes ($15) at Perla sure are sweet. Dessert sweet, perhaps best a follow-up to a lumberjack's lunch of a sandwich. But they're also big on personality: half an inch thick with an almost yeasty character. An open, fluffy crumb welcomes the sweet-tart juices from caramelized peaches that come along for the ride.

And then there's the foie gras butter, less a weird pancake topping and more an extra savory and complex butter that foie lovers and novices can both enjoy—to say nothing of its natural affinity for peach. Swoop a syrup-drizzled dollop of the stuff with pancake and you won't think foie overload. You'll just think, "man, that's really good." It's the kind of artful restraint-by-way-of-excess we've come to expect from chef Michael Toscano.

Balance out the richness with a Rec Center Ping Pong ($13), a refreshing mix of Tito's vodka, Aperol, Combier, grapefruit juice, and basil. It's your morning grapefruit juice in harder form, easy to drink and not too sweet, with all the bitter complexity of grapefruit peels.


24 Minetta Lane, New York, NY 10014 (map)

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.


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