Pearl & Ash is one of the many restaurants that popped up on Bowery this year. It felt like a big explosion because everyone was talking about it was well as the wine program from Patrick Cappiello. The list is a big one to digest and you can find just about anything you want. Sitting at the bar in the summer with a glass of rose bubbly is prime. The design of the restaurant is modern and artistic. It’s very boxy-like with lightly colored wooden bar seats on one side and tables mirroring on the other with a bench and a booth. Behind the booth are cut out squares with candles lighting the place. The vibe is just right, not too trendy, not too casual but just enough to give you that craveable night out to match with your wine and small plates.
There are so many dishes to chose from and you can try a lot of them for a pretty reasonable price. You don’t need to order as many dishes as they recommend per person, but you also won’t be sorry if you do. The dishes got better as they came out. They are organized from raw, small, fish, meat, vegetables to sugar. I mean what else do you need, right? I liked the raw fish. We had a fluke and a hamachi. Crudos are always amazing. However, I liked the Octopus much better. It’s tender, a tad crunchy in the distance and made with shiso. The Pork Meatballs are also a crowd pleaser. They are different than most because there is no tomato sauce in sight. They are straight up moist and made with shiitake, bonito and soppressata. It’s a great way to add in some comfort food to the palate. I liked the Cod with Coconut, Thai Basil and Lemongrass. The fish was buttery and the green sauce light. However, it’s the meat and vegetable dishes that stood out the most. The Short Ribs with Chanterelle, Salsify and Sorel melts in your mouth and is an enchanting delight. It’s beautifully displayed with two pieces and for the four of us was a perfect treat. Due to the portion sizes here, you can’t really over do it. You get a simple taste of everything (the way Americans should be portioning) and enough to satisfy while leaving a little room to keep you itching to come back for more. The Skirt Steak was also tasty and more tender than I expected. The Cauliflower side dish was everything it was supposed to be – cauliflower has really made a comeback this last year by the way and I’m not mad about it. We got Squash with Apple that I wasn’t a fan of, but shockingly it was the crisp Potatoes with Porcini Mayo and Chorizo that were addicting. They reminded me of patatas bravas in Spain and you can pop these things back like popcorn. They were the perfect ending to the meal.
Pearl & Ash is low key yet boosts you up. You can dress up and feel good about yourself here while eating light fish plates or devouring steak and short ribs. There is something for everyone here (even gluten free) and that makes it a very accommodating night out for all the “pickys” out there. Every plate is pretty reasonable, too, raking in around $12-15 besides the $9 veggies. Sit back and have a glass of wine here and then slip around the corner for a night cap at Mother’s Ruin.