Casa Perbellini is a small elegant restaurant in Verona, about an hour and a half train ride from Venice. It is worth the trip! They have been in this location for 2 1/2 years moving in from a country location where they had been over 20 years. There is a smaller second dining room but the main room has a large open kitchen filling the long side of it. We arrived just as they opened and since they weren’t quite ready we had a glass of champagne on their front patio and then they brought out a tasty cup of parmesan foam topped with tomato and basil to go with it. Nice touches like this continue throughout the meal. (Another example: The plating counter is covered with a heavy cloth that dampens all the plate noise on a hard counter).
Waitstaff all wear jackets, jeans and tennis shoes and the kitchen staff wear hats giving a comfortable feel. Inside tables are set with a beautiful enameled circle object that later turns into a serving display for desserts. They offer a set tasting menu or you can chose 2 ingredients around which your menu will be crafted. We chose the set tasting menu. Portion sizing is near perfect. Napkins are brought out after you arrive and then the amuse bouche start arriving – all amazing bites of great flavors.
The Campari and aioli ball is really one bite and it explodes in your mouth with liquid flavor. Crispy seaweed was stuffed with guacamole and wasabi. It was great, crisp and tasty. The polenta tart was topped with gorgonzola foam. It was properly gritty and another great hit of flavor. The anchovy chip with lemon was a terrific mix of flavors. The pomme (potato) souffle was topped with pizza flavor and it tasted just like that – such fun. The gougere was filled with smoked ricotta and was another wonderful tidbit.
Bread is not a throwaway here – the pieces of foccacia were wonderfully tender and topped with olive oil to yield a really yummy bread that stands on its own. They also serve a pipping hot loaf of bread with butter. The crust is crisp and the crumb is dense, chewy and terrific. I loved it with butter and without. For one more choice there is also a supply of breadsticks made of seaweed flour. They are nicely crisp, a good size and another tasty offering.
The last amuse is frozen zabaione and smoked caviar – a really nice intense bite.
The sesame wafer is amazingly thin and filled with nice mild sea bass tartare mixed with chive goat cheese. They bring a bowl of licorice sauce and dip a spoon into the thick viscous liquid. A good amount adheres to the spoon and it is recommended that you use this spoon to eat your dish. It added a wonderful sweetness and tang to the the dish.
The seafood salad is made of scampi, clams, squid, and vegetables. It is served warm and all seafoods are cooked to perfection. Mildly flavored it is wonderful.
Barely cooked sea-bream is served with artichokes. Bottarga (cured mulled roe in this case) bits and mint mayonaise dot the salad and add to the flavor. The fish is moist and melts in your mouth. A wonderful combination of flavors.
Mantis shrimps are served with crispy vegetables(carrots, salsify), vinegar and laurel jelly and parsley emulsion. All the jellies, sauces and vegetables worked together as one to make this an excellent dish.
Midolline pasta was like baby orzo and was served with chopped baby sea snails – both about the same size. Great chewy texture, this was a wow dish and demanded that you use some of that bread to get every last bit.
Lamb was served nicely rare with pecorino foam and garlic oil. The sauce was reduced to a wonderfully sticky consistency. Totally yummy.
Suckling pig is plated with truffle spiked mashed potatoes, sweet and sour chicory, and white dots of goat cheese. It is wonderfully moist and blends perfectly with the potatoes and rich sauce.
The palate cleanser is a mix of green apple, green apple sorbet and parmesan. It is refreshing and a nice tidbit.
Desserts started with a mass of cotton candy hiding a drink of coconut and pineapple. The cotton candy is accented with lemon and is really fun and tasty. The juice in the edible glass must be consumed first and is fun, functional and really good.
A crispy white chocolate and rhubarb layered bar is accompanied by vanilla ice cream. The texture of the ice cream is superb and the layered bar is good too.
The Mille-feuille is rich vanilla cream with buttery layers of crispness. This was yum x3 – a totally lick the plate sweet, butter indulgence.
The final treats included an orange and tangerine drink that was okay, a lime bonbon that was really nice, passion fruit and strawberry custards that were runny and really good, a creme brulee that was very nice, a square of peanut butter and chocolate with hazelnuts that was outstanding. A nice, intense sweet way to close a fine meal.