Eating at a new restaurant's like picking a girl to date -- get trusted friends to vouch for background, or you could wind up in the ER, desperately clutching one organ or another. To stack your dining odds, hit Perilla, open today in Greenwich Village.

Perilla's headed up by the former Director of Operations for The Red Cat, The Mermaid Inn, and The Harrison -- trusted standbys disliked only by people who hate cats, mermaids, or Harrisons. The date-friendly, 65-seat bistro'll serve "seasonal American" fare tarted up with tasty foreign influences, e.g.:

Okinawa Yam Dumplings w/ spicy duck meatballs and quail egg: a symbolic creation utilizing the spherical bookends of avian existence -- egged birth, and meatball repose

Roasted "Murray's Farms" Chicken w/ hen of the wood mushrooms and Chinese sausage: Distinct from the "Murray Hill" chicken, typically found avoiding conflict in a Joshua Tree restroom

Pan Roasted New Zealand Langoustines, w/ red rice, eggplant, and sweet peppercorn sauce: Actually, the Langoustine's proper name is the "Norway Lobster" -- a hapless Scandinavian whose Antipodean vacation ended in tragic deliciousness.

Cooking all this up: the former Harrison sous chef who won the first season of Top Chef -- ask his friends, and they'll vouch that his victory was achieved by talent, and not strategic organ clutching.