Steve Perrone

Perrone's Restaurant
New York, NY
Chef Swap Ingredient:
Preserved Lemon
Cuisine Style:

Chef Steve Perrone, a New York native, opened Perrone's almost 20 years ago and is the heartbeat and executive chef at this self-named fine dining restaurant.


About Steve Perrone

The Energizer Bunny probably wouldn’t like Steve Perrone because his stamina button is constantly on high.

He stays charged up for all things exquisite that are connected to food. Batteries die eventually, but Perrone’s intensity is electrifying.

He is the heartbeat and executive chef of an eclectic homage of fine dining known as Perrone’s. Here, tuna crudo, Moroccan duck breast, spicy crab spaghetti, and elk tenderloin are among the stars in a bright and bold culinary galaxy.

Perrone’s is an elegant expression created by him and his wife, Eileen, after they both realized he was overflowing with fervor for food.

“This is his life, and he absolutely loves it,’’ said Rachel Tomovski, who along with Perrone and his wife form the creative team behind the force that is Perrone’s. “This is what he lives for. He likes bringing people together, and he asks himself, ‘How can I help them learn about what they love?’’’

Perrone grew up in an Italian family where traditional food was made, but they didn’t dabble into the luxurious tastes he came to love and then duplicate. His foray into chic eats came when he was entertained by a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman and restaurateur while living in New York, his birthplace.

The Saudi billionaire did business with the father of the young lady he would eventually marry.

“The sheik would take us out to the most incredible restaurants and order the most expensive wines for us,’’ Perrone said. “He was buying $700, $800, or a $1,000 bottle of wine. He didn’t drink because he was a Muslim, but he gave us the best. Tasting that stuff was incredible.”

He was only 18 at the time, and his mind was undoubtedly blown.

The super-wealthy man owned numerous businesses throughout New York.

“He owned a lot of great, classic Indian restaurants,’’ Perrone said. “I would go in the back, and there were guys inside leaning in the tandoori oven, throwing bead in, and everything. It was just too cool – the buzz, the excitement. It hooked me. I was caught.”

Shortly after those dining experiences with the billionaire, Perrone got married to his wife, Eileen, and moved to Myrtle Beach.

“I would cook, and Eileen was in charge of telling David Owens (of Owens Liquors) what I was cooking that night at home,’’ Perrone said. “She would ask him his opinion of what wine we should pair with our dinner. So that is when we got into food and wine.”

His wife wanted to move back to New York so he could study at the Culinary Institute of America.

“I didn’t do it,’’ he said. “Who knows what would have happened? I don’t know, but everything worked out. I’m fine. I’m happy.”

Self-taught, Perrone has a passion for exploring things. He devours information about world cuisines, spices, cooking, and any information resulting in a deeper, satisfying knowledge.

“It’s not hard. It is something I love,’’ he said. “It’s like if you like to golf, you golf. If you love to knit, you knit. I like to cook, and I like to find out about all of the science of cooking. Since that day I got the bug, I’ve never stopped.”

He worked at casual and fine dining restaurants before opening Perrone’s nearly 20 years ago. He developed his signature Caesar salad dressing at an upscale Big Apple eatery, which he still uses today at Perrone’s. He even his five years as the call waiter at New York Prime in Myrtle Beach.

“If there was a star there or somebody important, I was it because I was the most professional waiter,” Perrone said.

Originally, Perrone’s opened as an upscale food store that sold prepared foods with detailed instructions on how to reheat and high-end specialty items. After operating that way for five years, they transitioned to their current restaurant concept.

There are more than 350 wine selections, numerous cocktails, and beer that shine along a world cuisine menu with a Mediterranean focus.

Perrone’s menu, which is a novella, is an example of his endless undertaking to enlarge folks’ culinary coasts with exploits meant to tantalize their palates and showcase unexpected facets of cuisine and libation.

The menu gives an exegesis of every dish, the sous vide cooking technique and purveyors. Perrone educates and enlightens customers through it.

When customers into Perrone’s, they are bombarded by a stunning art collection created by local artists. There are portraits of celebrities including Prince, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe. Images of beach scenes are among multiple artworks featuring instruments, sultry women, depictions of nature, and social gatherings.

“I only ask that the artists replace their paintings each time their previous paintings are sold,’’ Perrone said.

Jazz music flows vibrantly from speakers in a décor that is vivid, cool, and welcoming.

You will linger, and Perrone will like that.

“Steve makes his food with love, which is the most important thing,’’ said John Hubbard, a wine consultant and patron of Perrone’s. “He doesn’t cut corners. He will spend the extra money for the right ingredients because he wants satisfaction, happiness, and excitement to the final result of the customers’ experience.”

By Johanna Wilson Jones, Local Food Writer and Judge on Chef Swap at The Beach

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