A veteran of one of New York City’s most dedicated farm-to-table restaurants is planning to open his own version of a seasonally focused eatery in Garden City by late summer.
Renovations have begun on 990 Franklin Ave. for Perennial, a 2,000-square-foot bar and restaurant that will draw many ingredients for its French-inflected menu from Long Island growers and producers.
If that sounds like lip service, chef and owner Peter Mistretta insists otherwise. “It’s about getting a spotlight on local farms and fishermen, and promoting amazing products that people may not be aware of,” he said, from vegetables and cheese to wine and craft beer. “We’re certainly going to put more emphasis on product and less on crazy technique, and there will be a lot of fresh pasta.”
Perennial’s 68 seats will be divided between a bar, with its own menu and “simple, crafted cocktails,” and a more formal restaurant space. The eatery will serve dinner only to start.
Mistretta is a New York City native who trained at the French Culinary Institute and was a line cook under pioneering chef Peter Hoffman at Soho’s Back Forty, originally called Savoy. There, Mistretta was influenced by his boss’ commitment to seasonal ingredients bought during frequent trips to the Union Square Greenmarket. He also interned with chef Michael White at Marea and later cooked with him at Osteria Morini, and has worked in catering and as a private chef for the last two years.
“We’re looking to commit to farmers year-round, and not just buy tomatoes in the middle of August,” said Mistretta, who is opening the restaurant with his wife, Ashley.
Perennial will serve as many scratch items as possible, such as house-made Parker House rolls and butter. In terms of plated dishes, Mistretta’s private-chef menu offers clues — from a beet salad with pea shoots, peaches and ricotta to grass-fed beef tartare to trout croquettes with aioli, parsley and lemon zest.
Mistretta is aware of the challenge of getting produce and seafood from eastern Suffolk into central Nassau County, and laying the groundwork for sourcing. “I’ve reached out to farmers over the last six months,” he said. “Our goal is for the restaurant to keep the money on Long Island.”