While the Soup Man has left us, La Perle Noire is looking to make a lasting impression on the neighborhood…
Having left work early I decided to take stroll down the 130’s and find out what all the fuss on U.F. was about concerning La Perle Noire. Many of our commenters already began lambasting the place based on the posted hours which we all learned were the hours of the former tenant, M&T Bank. I walked in. And what do you know…Johnny!!! Yes this is not a pseudonym, Johnny Celestin is one of the partners of the new establishment.
A quick scan of the location showed this to be a trendy setup, much like TJ Bakery on Seventh ave with the obligatory exposed brick wall, hip Ikea-esque wood cabinets, and stainless steel counter with Spanish tiles along the facade. I honestly wasn’t sure what order as there was no menu ready for public consumption. I did see a sandwich bar behind the counter and a grilling machine which lead me to believe the place was already serving sandwiches. Also, a young lady (who later introduced herself as another partner) had begun to prepare a beautiful leafy salad while I was still trying to decide what to eat. If I could have salads like that made for me everyday I could do a low-carb regimen with no problem. In any event, I had a heavy lunch so I targeted the sweets. My eyes went straight to the fruit tarts. While many people judge bakeries on the overrated velvet cake (please don’t hate) I like to take a sample of the fruit tarts. Fruit tarts are often sitting there refrigerating quite lonely in almost every bakery I go to. These that have been left behind are my primary concern! I chose the raspberry fruit tart and ordered a latte as well. Everything was brought over to the table I was sitting at. The place is nicely spaced. With counter seating by the entrance, table seating along the midsection, and a plush chocolate brown leather couch to top off things in the back section, the place offers just the right ambiance to read your paper, do some blogging, or (the obvious) just have some coffee and pastries. The latte was a beautiful display; served in a swanky coffee mug with cinnamon doused froth on top. A robust cup of joe if I may say so! Well I just did! The fruit tart was heated ever so gently so as not to offend my taste buds. As I had a second stop to make on my little walk-through I paid my bill and began my exit strategy. Just $6.50 for both items was more than perfect. A couple folks came in-and-out to check out the new digs. They would look around and smile…promising quite sternly that they would return as bonafide customers at a later time. I asked the young lady about the menus. She told me they would be printing out the take-out menus within the next couple days as some items on the full menu were not yet available. I told her I’d be stopping by and hopefully taking a few snapshots with my real camera (not the cameraphone).
While the exodus of the Soup Man might have left a void on the block, La Perle Noire seems to have carved out a beautiful niche for themselves. There aren’t that many coffee shop/bakeries in the area and it seems to me like the folks from the Lenox and Lenox Grand will be pleased to have this little gem (as the name literally implies) in their proximity. The staff is quite friendly and the product is top notch (sandwich taste test still pending). This place has a lot of potential. In my own little world I would love to see a little jazz trio playing here from time to time ala Hue-man Bookstore. We’ll see what’s in store for this Black Pearl. I will definitely come back as I work just couple blocks away. Until the next time. I really hope everyone will stop by and check out the goods for themselves.