Restaurant at the Hotel Pearl (SD)
We went yesterday for the first time to the restaurant at the Hotel Pearl in Point Loma and were very impressed by the food and the ambience.
They have a small but very nice menu (including a spontanous 4-course tasting menu which we didn't try but will definitely do in the future). We had the braised pork belly with ginger and sake braised bok choy and the arugula salad with bacon, goat cheese and roasted hazelnuts as appetizers (both very good). For entrees we had the pan roasted Korubuta pork chop with twice baked cheddar russet (unfortunately they were ut of their daily special of wildboar tenderloin with barley-bacon risotto which sounded really good) and the pasta of the day (homemade pappardelle with cauliflower, bacon and an outstanding sauce). Both again very good but especially the pasta was outstanding, some of the best pasta we had in San Diego. Desserts were a little bit limited. They only had a choice between freshly made doughnot balls with spicy chili-chocolate sauce and classic creme brule. Both were good but a little but boring compared to everything else we had before.
Overall a very good night with great food and we really like this hip but still relaxed ambience with good professional but laidback service where you don't feel rushed. It is also good to see that they make pretty much everything in-house and use local, sustainable sources for most of their products.
Their weekly move nights and regular special (e.g. five course beer pairing dinner) sound like a lot of fun. We will definitely add this restaurant to our heavy rotation list.
We went last night! They have a coupon online right now, for a free entree with one entree + two drinks. So we splurged. Their beer and wine selections are limited, but they do have some diversity within the small list/taps. We shared the same pork belly app that honkman mentioned and liked it a lot. Just perfectly done.
We had one green salad, which had a tasty vinaigrette, but I thought the greens mix was heavy on the bitterer greens and could have used a higher ratio of the less bitters. I know, that sounds super picky. I am picky and love to overanalyze. But honestly, my husband had to stop eating the salad because it was too bitter.
The soup was soooo good. That night they had a vegetable soup with a little cheese and pesto. Perhaps a bit heavy on the pesto, but hard to complain. The broth was flavorful but light, the veggies were tasty and fresh and it was right between warm & comforting and springy & refreshing.
For entrees I had the beef, which was a sirloin, served with radicchio and potatoes. The steak was cooked well, but it was heavily salted in some places. Like way too much. Mostly where it was also most heavily charred. So, a little bit indelicate there, but overall pretty good, as were the potatoes. And maybe it's not a surprise based on my salad comment, but the radicchio was just unpleasant. It seemed braised, perhaps, but this did not reduce its bitterness. And I felt it was odd that the dish was served with lots of bleu cheese, which is also a pretty salty, bitter cheese...I would think some more contrasting flavors might work better. And I love salty like no other, but this dish as a whole went a bit far that direction.
My husband had the pasta of the night, which had a very flavorful tomato sauce. Just lovely.
For dessert we had the doughnuts, which were nice, and the dark chocolate bread pudding. Loved that. Just rich enough. Nice 'n' chocolatey. Warm and a little buttery. Not in any way a traditional bread pudding and shouldn't be compared to one, but a great dish in its own right. Yum.
As for service, our servers were great, altough just one small misstep when our main server told us the pasta had no cheese on it, but it came out with parm on it. My husband has a violent reaction to cheese, so it's important to us that people get that right when we ask. But, otherwise they were right on top of it. So overall, I'd give the food a solid "Very good" and would go back, with an A- for service.
P.S. the place itself is great. Lots of atmosphere and the decor is fantastic. It's much tinier than I expected, but just adorable.
Agree with the Woman in your life. It's a terrific place with a very talented, creative young chef, but it has just been a little too chilly. Spring is in the air so we will be back soon. They have a yummy brunch on Sunday, but it is a little bit of a party scene. We really like stopping in for dinner before Humphrey's concerts. Early enough that we almost have the place to ourselves.