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Pearl and Ash - Alder - Estela

We will be in the city on 4/25 - 4/27. Looking for suggestions on which place to try. Pearl and Ash - Alder - Estela. I currently have an 8pm reservation at Pearl and Ash and we thought about going to Estela for a drink/snack before our reservation.... any thoughts? I've been reading reviews and they have been mixed on P&A and Alder.

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  1. Pearl and Ash is very good. Great wine list and the food is pretty inventive. Alder after going twice, have been underwhelmed with service. Food is good, but service is seriously lacking.

    1. Food at Pearl and Ash was excellent. The atmosphere is a bit zooy and we felt that they rushed us a bit too much, but i would go back.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JC2

        Agreed. We were also sat at a "communal" table which I didn't care for.

        I have not been to Estela, but Alder was very good. I think they are all three very different restaurants, although if wine is your thing, you're doing yourself a disservice by not going to P&A though.

        1. re: loratliff

          OK, I can now say I've been to all three -- had a truly excellent meal at Estela last night. They are all three very good in different ways. I think Estela has the strongest food, P&A is a little more "raucous" and obviously has the best wine list, whereas Alder is fun all around. I can't compare the three but I will say that we loved everything we ate at Estela. I thought the dishes were a better value than P&A or Alder too.

        2. re: JC2

          My one experience at Pearl & Ash was, to me at least, very unpleasant. The only reason was the extreme noise level. Both my girlfriend and I thought it was the single loudest restaurant we'd ever bern in. Just mind-numbingly loud.

        3. I went to Pearl and Ash in january and march and loved both times. The first time it was a party of 3 and we eat a lot, so we had almost everything ( although the portions are small). The sweetbreads are excelente, so are the crudo dishes, lamb belly and the pigeon, although I'm not sure it will stay on the menu until end of april (in january there was a rabbit sausage instead of the squab one).
          I also went to Estella and liked the steak tartare a lot.
          Service at Alder was ok, but I didn´t love the food, foie gras, pastrami and pigs in a blanket were just ok, clam showder was very good.Maybe I was spoiled by having eaten at Pearl and Ash and Estella before and should return next time in NYC. Hope you have fun.

          1. As others have said, Pearl and Ash is lovely; their octopus is one of the best I've had (great balance of crunchy outside, tender inside, and flavor profile from the soy mirin, iirc, is beautiful), also love their sweetbreads, and everything else (in a group of 6 or so, you can easily sample the whole menu) was in the same league if not quite as good.

            I think drinks at Alder and at a great value (those half pours are generous, and a lovely way to get through a lot of the menu at a good price & still remembering it the next day). While i enjoyed Alder's food, i found the value from dish to dish to be much more variable, even if i didn't feel any dishes were, intrinsically, 'misses'.

            Estela has great drinks, though not as unique as Alder, but their food is probably the most ambitious of the bunch, even if it is not technically as creative as Alder. In that sense, Estela may be a riskier call, but their steak tartare, gnocchi (which have an insane amount of delicious cheese flavor) are definite crowd pleasers).

            I'd say your plan of a snack/drink at estela than P&A is solid. If you're really looking for uniqueness, you might try to swap, do a couple snacks and wine at P&A, then dinner at Estela. but in my book, win-win.

            6 Replies
            1. re: valcfield

              I am going with your suggestion. We made a reservation at Pearl and Ash at7pm and then made an 8:30pm reservation at Estela. Here is our current itinerary:

              Friday: Pearl and Ash

              Estela

              Alder for a drink afterwards

              Saturday: ABC Cocina for lunch

              Betony for dinner

              Sunday: Need suggestions on brunch before leaving the city.

              We were thinking Red Rooster or The Cecil in Harlem or exploring a neighborhood in Brooklyn. We currently have a reservation at The Cecil since Red Rooster is on a walk in basis. Any thoughts?

              1. re: BRI328

                Hope I steer you correctly, and please report back! (also, w Alder last, I really enjoyed their root beer pudding dessert).

                As for brunch, I'm sure locals have much more knowledge here, especially for non-manhattan neighborhoods, but one thing i've wanted to do is a swing of Paulie Gee's pizza in Greenpoint and the new Cafe Budin in Greepoint, the only place i can think of that is extensively importing the super light roast coffees from Denmark et al (though board, feel free to correct me on that front too!).

                1. re: valcfield

                  Paulie Gee's does not serve lunch/brunch.

                  For brunch, check out Public, the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern. Not all of these take reservations, though. Is that a strict requirement?
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8093...

                  1. re: kathryn

                    duh. hadn't checked in ages. thanks for correcting!

                  2. re: valcfield

                    For Pizza in manhattan, the old standbys like Lombardi's or Grimaldis (yes there is an outpost around 23rd/6th) and also there is a motorino in the east village. For brooklyn, grimaldi's or roberta's in bushwick. may need to grow a beard for roberta's along with wearing the plaid shirt.

                  3. re: BRI328

                    Try The Cecil. I haven't been, but so far it seems like it's been well-received.

                2. I've been to all 3 and the only one I'm dying to try again is Alder. P&A was very good, but I left hungry because I found portions small. Some dishes at Estela were really only OK, others excellent, and I also left hungry (maybe I have a giant appetite??) but Alder was fun, delicious and inventive. Some dishes were misses (the Pastrami pasta was just ok and I'd really been looking forward to trying it) but overall I am excited to go back one day soon.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Barcelonian

                    What did you get at Alder? I agree the food is fun/delicious/adventurous, but based on what I have gotten there, surprised you did not feel you were still hungry in the same way you felt after p&a and estela.

                    1. re: valcfield

                      I suppose we could have ordered more at Alder than the other two, but in any case,
                      Pub Cheese (really enjoyed), pigs in a blanket (enjoyed), Octopus (good), Rye Pasta (meh), and some other things that aren't on the current menu therefore I have no memory of what they were.

                      Aside from portion sizes, which could very well be similar at all 3, I still enjoyed Alder the most.

                      1. re: Barcelonian

                        completely fair- and was mostly just curious so that next time i try it i didn't miss out if there were dishes that were more substantial than others. didn't have the pub cheese, i enjoyed the rye pasta more than you, and also enjoyed the pigs in a blanked (though admittedly my poster child for the great-but-small dish).

                        1. re: valcfield

                          We loved the lamb shepherd's pie. I think the most substantial dish we had was the clam chowder -- it was split into two bowls.

                  2. How'd it go last weekend?