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Jul 24, 2013 07:22 AM

Pearl & Ash

I'm heading to Pearl & Ash for dinner this evening. The board is lacking in recommendations for this place. Has anyone been that has some haves (or must not haves) to suggest?

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  1. I liked this place! The raw hanger steak and the bread and butter were my favorite, but I pretty much enjoyed everything we tried.

    1. The hangar steak tartare was good but the cocoa nibs and the super thin melba crisps weren't my favorite. Far more enjoyed the octopus with sunflower seed and mirin. Super savory and tender. Really impressive how flavorful it was. Sweetbreads were fine, I was more impressed with the long beans served with uni chili cream. The chef seems to be fond of using a little chile to add flavorful, as 3 of the 4 things I tried had a bit of spice. I didn't mind but some people might.

      1. We had a very good meal at Pearl & Ash tonight. I liked the hangar steak tartare more on this try -- fewer cocoa nibs were present I think. The octopus with shiso and sunflower was awesome, like last time. Filled with umami.

        Also, we tried a newish raw hamachi dish with lemon verbena, jalapeno, and purslane--it's not on the online menu. Really enjoyed the lemon verbena element. It was one of those dishes you can't quite put your finger on what herb tastes so good at first. The tea cured salmon with tamarind and goat cheese was also very good and I found the salmon-seaweed salad combination to be inspired.

        In terms of protein dishes, the lamb belly with eggplant was delicious. The belly was pretty fatty (the way I like it) and crispy. The tiny eggplants were wonderfully tender. The quail with pomegranate was also good but felt a bit more traditional (poultry and fruit) and not as interesting as the lamb belly. Nice cylinders of meat with crispy skin on the outside. Ordered the long beans with chili and uni cream on the side again. Basically a perfect side dish.

        8 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          ah interesting, this place is really close to where i live and ive been meaning to do some research on it...nice space

          1. re: Lau

            It's quite good, reminds me a bit of a Momofuku restaurant.

          2. re: kathryn

            I wish cocoa nibs had remained undiscovered as an ingredient in savory dishes.

            1. re: kathryn

              We liked the food OK, but were totally turned off by the communal seating. I don't mind long counters, like the one at Ssam, but we were crammed into a booth with four other (obnoxious) diners. It was a huge turn-off.

              1. re: loratliff

                Weird. We had a 2 top at the banquette.

                1. re: kathryn

                  That would have been much more enjoyable! I'd gladly go back and request a 2-top or even just sit at the bar. The wine list is expansive and worth stopping in just for a glass on its own.

                  1. re: loratliff

                    Two of us had an enjoyable dinner at Pearl and Ash last night.

                    We had an early reservation and were seated near the front, on a banquette. The restaurant is sleekly handsome--lots of light wood-- and for once, I actually enjoyed listening to the music, which was not played at defeningly loud volume. Nor was the restaurant very noisy, although I suspect this changes as the evening wears on.

                    Bread with "chicken butter." Yes, all raves are true. Yes, you pay for the bread and yes again, it is worth $4. Decadent, and essential.

                    We followed with a pair of "small" dishes: A trio of luciously porky, coarse-ground pork meatballs and a stack of what just might be the most amazing octopus in the city right now. Tender but oh-so-crispy, with a perfect char and incredible complexity of flavors, served atop a slash of pureed sunflower seeds.

                    And then: Lamb Belly every bit as fatty, tender, and excellent as Kathryn described above. I love this cut and usually order when I spot it on a menu. I was very glad I did last night.

                    Partner was very pleased by his rabbit sausage--fatty and thick silver-dollar sized coins of sausage arrayed on plate (sorry for lack of detail here..too focused on the food to ask many questions)

                    Side order of kabocha squash and Granny Smith apple with candied bacon; very good but not on par with ABC's justly famous version of the vegetable.

                    With glass of Lietz Riesling from the voluminous, interesting and well-priced list, bill totalled $89 before tip.

                    Service: Exceedingly helpful and congenial…Server Zach was exceedingly informative and enthusiastic. Although he suggested having four dishes or so each, we were sated after our meal, (At Betony recently, both food and service were excellent but my partner left a bit hungry after our two courses each)



            2. I found the food ok (two items were a bit too salty) but what turned me off were three hospitality elements. When they left me a voice mail to confirm the reservation, they went on to say that if the entire party of 5 wasn't there within 15 minutes of the reservation, the table would be given away. (OK, I get it, but still...) Then when we arrived, I was the first and they refused to seat me until the whole party was there (is this IHOP?). Third, I'm not fond of sitting on a backless bench. Thanks, but too many other places. And I'm a wine geek.

              4 Replies
              1. re: DutchOenophile

                First two issues seem pretty par for the course in Manhattan... typical fifteen minute grace period and only seating whole parties.

                As for the bench, couldn't they have moved you to a booth or the banquette? Did you ask?

                1. re: kathryn

                  Kathryn: I was seated on a banquette along the row of tables facing the bar; partner was on one of the benches w/o back, facing wall. Is that the same seating configuration as in the rear? I meant to look but forgot. Did see a communal table back there…. Thanks.

                  1. re: erica

                    I am not sure how far the banquette goes back. But you're right, only half the party at the banquette gets to lean back. I'd forgotten that.

                  2. re: kathryn

                    Kathryn, your experience is different from mine in NYC. I eat out probably 6 nights a week and I bet I can count on three fingers the number of times I've had a voice mail confirmation that stated that. Ditto with seating of whole parties. (I'm not talking about a diner or place where the check average is in the $25 range).

                    We were five, and were offered no other option. By that point I felt too defeated, I guess, to even ask.

                2. I ate there several months ago. It was, without exception, the loudest restaurant I've ever eaten in my entire life. Just beyond description loud. The music, which I hated, was turned up so loud that one had to shout to be heard, which of course, contributed even more to the cacophony.

                  Not that I'm ever going back, but if I did, I would want to wear a dosimeter. I honestly think if you had dessert, you would exceed OSHA guidelines for noise exposure in an eight hour shift. The poor staff must be stone deaf by now.