Hey guys! I’m starting something new – I’m going to start blogging and reviewing restaurants on pursuitofglowiness.com! First up, I’ll be reviewing a new restaurant in Boulder called Via Perla. I love anything to do with food and I’m an amateur chef and major foodie. I love eating and the entire dining out experience! I basically grew up in a family of food critics – my mom and her sisters love cooking and figuring out how to make food better and they passed along those traits to their kids as well. I’m so excited to be sharing some of my food critic-esque reviews with you all! I hope you’ll head out and try some of these restaurants yourself! You can learn more about my restaurant review guidelines here.
So with that, let’s get started on the very first review! Nick and I have a monthly date night, so tonight, we dined at Via Perla, one of the new restaurants on the west end of Pearl Street in Boulder. Via Perla is owned by Joe and Peggy Romano, the duo behind two of the most iconic restaurants on Pearl – The Med and Brasserie Ten Ten.
Ambiance and Aesthetic
Much like its sister restaurants, Via Perla is open and airy with plenty of outdoor and indoor seating. Walking up to the restaurant, you’ll walk past the outdoor seating area which is very reminiscent of European restaurants. The entryway is grand and flanked by a massive and beautiful wine cellar. The entry opens up to the simple and elegant dining room. The dining room is modern, chic, and clean. There is beautiful old world tile, accented with sleek white marble and warm, wood and leather. The dining room was well lit by natural light streaming from the walls of windows, and the atmosphere was light and airy. I was definitely blown away by simple yet modern aesthetic! As it looked as if it was going to rain, Nick and I opted to sit inside in the spacious dining room. If I could choose one word to describe the restaurant, it would be “clean”. The tables, the floors, the wine glasses, the silverware – spotless. This is definitely something I look for in my restaurant of choice so I was thrilled.
A photo posted by Via Perla (@viaperlaboulder) on
The ambiance was relaxed and inviting of conversation – evocative of a place to grab a nice lunch with your spouse or brunch / drinks with friends. I would have to rate the ambiance and aesthetic of Via Perla 5 stars out of 5 – Joe and Peggy have done it again with creating an environment and experience where people love to gather.
Full disclosure, Nick and I went to dinner early so we could pick up Harper in time so we were at the restaurant at 4 / 4:30pm – well before the dinner rush. As such, we may have had different service than when the restaurant is packed. That being said, here is my experience: The hostess / waitress was lovely – she was well versed in the menu, availability, and food prep. She was very professional and she checked on us a few times. It did take a while for us to get our food, check, water / drink refills etc. as I think she may have been one of the two people on staff that early in the evening. I’ll give the service 4.25 out of 5 stars – excellent service when we got it but if you’re short staffed that early in the night, I’m not sure what the experience would be like during the dinner rush.
The mastermind behind Via Perla’s success is head chef, Martin Woods. Via Perla is open for lunch Monday – Friday and serves a “merenda”, or happy hour, seven days a week. Via Perla also serves dinner everyday of the week with Sunday being a special “Tutti a Tavola” or (from my limited knowledge from watching chef Lidia Bastianich cooking shows on PBS growing up) family style meal. As Nick and I were having an early dinner, we thought we’d imbibe on some of the Merenda offerings as well. Our dinner consisted of a rosé, the Tortelli di Ricotta as the entrée, and the Verdure Arrosto as the side for me and a beer and the Pollo al Mattone. We didn’t have enough room for dessert although I was seriously eyeing the refreshing gelati and sorbetti on the menu.
To start – the wine list and beer selections are varied and the drink menu covers an array of beverages. There is a good and varied selection of wine (Italian of course) and the beer selection was standard -nothing extraordinary but enough so that you’ll find something you like. The happy hour – or merenda menu allowed for a deal where you could get a bottle of wine and an appetizer for $20 – not bad at all, I’ll definitely be coming here with the girls! The rosé I ordered was refreshing – the perfect complement to my summery meal. Nick ordered the Ratio Repeater Extra Pale beer. While he says it paired well with his chicken – I’m not sure I trust him there! I would ask the server for a good white wine recommendation should you order the Pollo al Mattone.
From the start, Nick and I could tell that quality and care went into making the food. The fresh Italian bread was airy and light on the inside but perfectly crusty on the outside. It wasn’t sweet like French bread but tasted like very authentic Italian bread. The bread was served with a high quality extra virgin olive oil that made the experience a whole step up from most Italian restaurants. The main courses were delicious. My Tortelli di Ricotta was a simple handcrafted ricotta filled tortellini pasta in a light buttery lemon sauce with squash and sage. The dish was refreshing and the lemon, butter, and sage complemented the delicate pasta perfectly. N’s Pollo al Mattone was beautifully cooked – the chicken was juicy and cooked to perfection and the pan sauce was light and complementary. This dish was reminiscent of the Brique Poulet at Via Perla’s sister restaurant Brasserie Ten Ten but made “Italian” with the use of different herbs. The dish was delicious none the less. The side of Verdure Arrosto – or roasted vegetables – was a different story. The roasted carrots were well cooked but the potatoes lacked flavor and were dry – much like baked potato wedges that were cooked a tad too long at too low of heat. The fact that it was even on such a thoughtfully created menu bothered me. The dish felt like a hearty meal served in the fall rather than something that ties in to the light refreshing summer menu. It seemed like it was just a standard dish that is available year round. I probably could have done without that side. As for the main entrées, they were just right. The portions were perfectly sized, plating was nice, and the flavors were refreshing and perfect for the summer.
I was dying for dessert but I just couldn’t eat any more after downing copious amounts of bread and all of that delicious pasta (plus some of N’s chicken!). The dessert menu looked lovely for the summer – in addition to the typical tortes and other heavier desserts, there was a simple list of gelati and sorbetti. The one that caught my eye was a peach prosecco sorbetto – and no I did not only want it because of the prosecco.
Overall, I thought the food was good – great thought had been put into designing a summer menu with delicate flavors and a big focus on quality. I wouldn’t recommend the afterthought roasted vegetable side (it didn’t tie well with the rest of the summer-y meal) but the other dishes were amazing. I’m leaving room for dessert next time! I’d give the food 4.25 out of 5 stars – the entrées were prepared with quality ingredients and cooked to perfection however the sides weren’t extraordinary. The beverage selection catered to the broad group of customers but wasn’t varied enough to thrill a seasoned craft beer drinker or wine aficionado. The menu tied together well however I hoped there would be more thought put into the side dishes to have a cohesive menu. Overall good, quality food but nothing to knock your socks off.
I’d rate Via Perla a 4.4 / 5 stars. Overall good, quality food and a great ambiance. Go there for the beautiful atmosphere, good food, wonderful company, and nice drinks. I’ll definitely be going to Via Perla again and I hope you try it as well. If you’ve already been, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!