NYC: Pearl & Ash, Innovative New American Tapas

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter everyone!

Today I wanted to drop by quickly and share this post long overdue. I came to Pearl & Ash as a party of 4 in November 2013, a month before it hit the Best of 2013 and Where to Eat in 2014 lists that were all released shortly after my meal. I was a bit surprised that it was the new "it" place to eat in Manhattan, since my experience there was good but not great.

Pearl & Ash is well known for their extensive wine lists but I'm not an expert in that category. I'm more of a cocktails girl and after trying the Area Code (Cardamaro, Grapefruit, Ginger Beer and Maple Syrup) and Teenage Jesus (Manzanilla, Pressed Pineapple, White Ale, Orgeat),I wasn't too impressed. Maybe I should have stuck with the wine.

What I did enjoy about Pearl and Ash is their intimate and cozy decor. I love their use of raw materials such as their beautiful chandelier made of lightbulbs and copper piping.
Moving on to the tapas menu, we were told to order 3-4 plates per person so that basically meant the whole menu. I suggest coming with non-picky eaters and friends who are down to share. Everything sounded delicious so trying to pick what we wanted to eat wasn't a huge issue.

The menu was split into a few categories: raw, small plates, fish, meat, and vegetables. Overall, my impression of the food is that while it's beautifully plated and quite innovative in the use of ingredients, very few dishes were memorable enough for me to recommend to others.

Also, all the dishes were heavily salted in a way that distracted from the natural flavors of the beautiful ingredients. We ordered 16 dishes (including 1 small bread course and 2 sides), which ended up being a bit too much. I probably would have skipped out on some of the raw courses if I came again.

I'll go through what we had, and will point out the dishes I really enjoyed.

Raw

Hamachi, jalapeño, stonecrop, verbena - $12

Fluke, pomegranate, sunchoke, kaffir lime - $11

Hanger tartare, egg, cocoa, melba - $12

I really wanted to enjoy the tartare since it looked so beautiful, but it felt so dry and just salty.


Small Plates

Two dishes from the "Small Plates" section stood out to me. The octopus below was charred beautifully, not too chewy and was deliciously flavored. The poached egg was delicate and I enjoyed the foam it was paired with.
***Octopus, sunflower seed, shiso - $13

***Poached egg, trumpet royale, maitake, wakame - $12
Tea cured salmon, goat cheese, tamarind, seaweed - $11

Chicken Butter, bread, maple syrup - $4

Fish

The cod was cooked perfectly and was paired with a thai-flavored coconut broth. If you're into thai flavors, this one's definitely good to order.
***Cod, coconut, thai basil, lemongrass - $14/26

Lobster, chanterelle, pear, vanilla - $17/$32

Skate, endive, chestnuts, mustard leaf - $14/$26

Meat

Lamb belly, eggplant, cashew, oregano - $14/$27

Skirt steak, horseradish, watercress, black trumpet - $17/$29

Rabbit sausage, parsnip, shallot, kale - $15/$28

Vegetables

Loved these fried potatoes, but I always love fried potatoes. They were super crispy on the outside, topped with a mushroom mayo with a strong hint of chorizo - it was a tad salty, but I was still into it.
***Potatoes, porcini mayo, chorizo - $9
Kabocha squash, apples, boar bacon, mascarpone - $9

Sugar

Concord grape, white chocolate, date cake - $9

The filling inside the dessert made it look like a deviled egg! Pretty interesting!


Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Pearl & Ash
* Shelly Stars
★★☆☆, OK, but I wouldn't go back
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Lower East Side / Italian / Tapas/Small Plates
* Street Address
220 Bowery (bet. Prince & Spring St.), New York, NY 10012
* Phone
212-837-2370

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