Riverhead Restaurant Review: PeraBell Rings on Main Street

PeraBell’s fresh pizzas are delish!
PeraBell’s fresh pizzas are delish! Photo: S. Dermont

Why is the new popular restaurant on Riverhead’s Main Street called “PeraBell?” Owners John PERAgine and Scotti CampBELL are the reasons why.

They’ve operated a restaurant by the same name in Patchogue for years. Of course, the Riverhead location, which opened in June, is popular due in no small part to Chef de Cuisine James Klein’s contributions. Expect a rich mix of Italian, Asian and Tex-Mex influences. And if you’re “counting glutens,” yes, they have gluten-free (GF) options and offer GF versions of some of their dishes.

There were many families and couples enjoying themselves last Saturday night when we visited. I really like the dark, well-appointed interior. Sitting in the front of the house is a lot like being outside—but with a roof. Truly the best of both worlds—we were able to watch life on Main Street through the light rain. There was no live music this night but we’re told that local, acoustic soloists and duos are a regular attraction at PeraBell.

We started the meal with liquids—specifically a Wanderlust ESB (“extra strong bitter”) from Riverhead’s own Moustache Brewing Co. for my husband and a “Farmers Market” for me. The ale was hoppy yet quite clean—very good, as always. Other Long Island beers on offer include the latest from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company and Long Ireland Beer Company as well as Crooked Ladder Brewing Company and Blue Point standbys. Local wines include selections from Palmer Vineyards, Lieb Cellars and Influence Wines.

What’s in a “Farmers Market?” Quite a bit at this time of year—Effen Cucumber Vodka, yellow Chartreuse, celery, fresh lime and local tomato and basil. Served in a cute, little glass, it was quite sweet.

Our server Kaleigh was a helpful guide through the menu and she offered some interesting appetizer and entrée specials.

Husband started with the Thai glazed short ribs, which arrived in a gorgeous presentation. He commented, “It’s gotta nice kick to it.” And I didn’t even get to try them—so they must be great with their ramen noodle crisp, pickled cabbage and sriracha.

PeraBell's Thai glazed short ribs
PeraBell’s Thai glazed short ribs, Photo: S. Dermont

I fell in love with the Soup of the Day. White beans, roasted garlic and mushrooms combined to offer an earthy and luscious bowl of seasonal bliss.

Husband went for what Kaleigh told us was one of PeraBell’s most popular dishes—an apple and horseradish crusted salmon. Though very flavorful, the preparation didn’t grab me. Husband “helped” so much with my entrée that he had most of the fish wrapped, so that he could enjoy two of my famous salmon cakes the next day.

My entrée was positively transporting. I think that my pizza with arugula and prosciutto took me to Sicily—because that’s where PeraBell’s pizzaiola Nino hails from. He has mastered PeraBell’s wood burning oven. So good! PeraBell’s pizzas are 10” circles—so eaten as an appetizer, or even as an entrée, you can always share at least one of your six slices. Though it’s a bit of a trick to cut it apart—you’ll need to use your knife and fork…or just eat it ALL yourself. This stuff probably never makes it into a doggie bag.

We didn’t have room for dessert so we split a nice slice of New York style cheesecake, topped with fresh berries—while Husband indulged in what he deemed a very good cappuccino.

After dinner we took in an art opening, followed by a show at Suffolk Theater. It’s all happening in Riverhead!

PeraBell, 65 East Main Street, Riverhead, 631-740-9494, perabellfoodbar.com.

Inside PeraBell looking out
Inside PeraBell looking out, Photo: S. Dermont

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