Pearl & Ash

Pearl & Ash - Scallops

There are elements at play here that don’t quite jibe. The food at Pearl & Ash is bold, striking, but the concept comes off a bit flawed and infringes on the quality of what’s on the plate.

Most of them leave you wanting more, forced down to tapas-sized servings when they’d be so much more fulfilling as individual orders. It’s a clumsy process sharing a paper-thin layer of beef tartar, however well prepared, or a few strips of squab plated like perhaps the chef forgot to include the main portion.

Pearl & Ash - Squab Pearl & Ash - Lamb Pearl & Ash - Braised Short Rib Pearl & Ash - Hanger Tartar Pearl & Ash - Coconut Cod

This isn’t to say the food isn’t great. There is punch, as small plates must deliver. One of the table favorites: octopus tentacles, covered in dark smoky layers with a hint of chili, served arching on top of a tahini-like sauce. The diver scallops were high on my list, oozing an unexpected coat of jalapeno-like spice that doesn’t kick in until the end.

Pearl & Ash - Meatballs Pearl & Ash - Octopus Pearl & Ash - Potatoes Pearl & Ash - Poached Egg Salad Pearl & Ash - Burbon Fennel Ice Cream Sandwich

Pearl & Ash - Cheesecake

Plates like those show the skill and creativity this place is capable of — wide ranging flavors, a cornucopia of ingredients, a melding of cross-border inspirations, an array of textures. The talent just seems curtailed by the restaurant’s format.

Amplified versions, of say, the poached egg and salad entree would have been a fantastic brunch dish. Or the cod with coconut and lemongrass broth — a nicely refined take on Thai cuisine — would have been a hit as a full-sized serving.

A Casa Mono-type place is still probably best for tapas if you’re looking to try a variety of plates. So unless you’re willing double up on orders, consider this a pre-dinner pit stop.


One thought on “Pearl & Ash

  1. I’ve been contemplating on this restaurant for a while now. My buddy used to work here and had recommended me to visit (this was after he left the restaurant) but I was a little thrown off by the pricey menu ..especially for small shared plates! Thanks for your pictures and your experience. Unless I’m sharing a special occasion, I doubt I’d be visiting this place anytime soon.

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