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MORE Perreca’s: Old World Italian with a New Vision

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When my son was in high school, he went to Perreca’s Bakery & Cafe with a friend’s family. He still remembers the roasted red pepper and fontinella sandwich he had. It’s only fitting that on the night he was flying home for a visit, I would dine at the full-service restaurant, MORE Perreca’s. 

My companions and I arrived on a Friday evening. A few minutes later, the chef appeared at our table and introduced himself as Tim Brockmon. He recently took the reins after his exit as chef de cuisine at Salt and Char. Chef Brockmon explained that the restaurant would be changing their menu in early September to reflect his vision for the restaurant. He was featuring a few specials that evening that would be a sampling of what the new menu had in store.  

We began our meal with a shared sampling of items old and new. The Summer Crudite, described by Chef Brockmon as “summer on a plate,” was exactly that! Heirloom tomatoes, contrasted with crunchy purple and green beans, rested on a bed of olive tapenade. Bits of cauliflower and fennel, both with a slightly spicy pickle, were like hidden treasures and the tiny pillow of micro greens added additional freshness to each bite.  

The chef works with a local forager and the findings of the week were combined in the Mushroom Tortellini. Caramelized rooster of the woods mushrooms were mixed with mascarpone to provide the filling for the tortellini. The brood, or broth, was made from old man of the wood mushrooms, finished with chanterelles and accented by fresh dill. We were not shy mopping up every bit of the broth with that famous Perreca’s bread.  

Of course, we had to try a few of the coal-fired pizzas. We sampled one from the menu, the Isola Delle Hawaii. I know it’s controversial, but I am a big fan of pineapple on pizza! The other was a pizza Chef Brockmon suggested with mozzarella, prosciutto, cracked pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. The flavors were clean and refreshing. Both pizzas had a crispy, bubbled-up crust with that slightly charred flavor that is characteristic of coal-fired ovens.  

My entree, a classic Lasagna Bolognese, was elevated to a new level. The house-made fresh pasta sheets were layered with cheese and the kind of sauce that comes from cooking the meats and alliums down and then loosening every bit of the caramelized goodness with a rich tomato paste. Thanks to my indulgence in appetizers, I could only manage a few bites and took the rest home. I am happy to report it was even better the next day! One of my companions selected a Caesar Salad with impeccably grilled shrimp. The salad was finished with lemon zest. The lemon oils made all the flavors really explode. My other companion ordered Chicken Marsala. It was a very generous portion and I thought there was not a chance she would even make a dent in the offering. To our amazement, she finished every bit as she remarked that it was her favorite meal and this was one of the best she has ever tasted.  

By the time we got to dessert, we were near our limit. We decided to share one of the big-as-your-face cupcakes Perreca’s is famous for. We each had a bite of the Vanilla Vanilla cupcake. It was moist and full of real vanilla flavor. The scene stealer was the Cereal Milk Creme Brûlée. It was actually a horchata, a milk infused with flavors from warm spices and nuts that was poured, set and then topped with sugar and browned with a flame.  

I am eager to return to MORE Perreca’s to sample the new dinner menu as well as the new brunch menu.

MORE Perreca’s is located at 31 North Jay Street, next door to Perreca’s Bakery, in Schenectady, New York. Call 518-377-9800 or visit for menu previews.

Written by: Joanne DiMarco

Joanne DiMarco has a degree in restaurant and hospitality management from Paul Smiths College. She fully enjoys life in Upstate New York. When not writing the Cravings column, Joanne is considered a trusted sales and marketing professional as a Strategic Sales Manager with and an Associate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Blake, Realtors®.
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