Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Local Foodie Moment: The Pearl

Geez I was supposed to post this LFM ages ago!  So sorry!  But now it goes along with our New Restaurant Checklist so it works out!

A couple weeks ago I had a charity campaign event at Franklin Park Conservatory so I made plans with Chris to have dinner downtown, giving me the night off!  Turns out he got Clippers game tickets so we made a fun little evening out of it!  (Remember when it was warm enough to go to baseball games?  With the recent snow I'm struggling to remember such a time!)  Since I knew we would be down there in advance we decided to make reservations at The Pearl, the highly lauded new Cameron Mitchell restaurant.

Chris and I are big fans of ol' CM, his gagle of restaurants have always provided great atmospheres, great service and quality food for our enjoyment over the years.  So we were excited to try this new gem that EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE in Columbus is talking about (and it opened back in February).  Be warned given this city's infatuation with the place you best plan ahead and call three weeks in advance.

I made reservations three weeks in advance, then week of I wanted to add two to our party to accommodate friends we were going to the Clippers game with.  They said, nope sorry we could move your reservation up by 15 minutes if you want to do that or move it back by TWO hours if you want to accommodate 4.  Seriously?  So I had a sneaking suspicion we'd be jammed in like sardines at a two person table.  Interestingly enough, I was correct.  We were wedged between two tables of couples who seemed to be enjoying their dinners.  The reason I knew that is because I could hear every part of their conversation as we weren't even arms length from each other.

I will say the upside to being right next to complete strangers is that Columbus folk are pretty friendly so those who had eaten first were happy to give their suggestions and feedback on your pending menu choices.  So it makes it feel a little more communal and interesting but when I've waited three weeks to try this place I'd like to be able to have a conversation with my fiance without the emotional rumblings from the table next to us.

Anyways on to the drinks.  I tried the Moscow Mule, vodka, lime juice, ginger and ginger beer (what can I say? I could't help being part of the Mule Movement that seemed to have taken over the capital city this summer).  Chris ordered a beer.  The MM was light, refreshing and well made.  Water and cocktails are served in mason jars giving it a rustic feel.

Moscow Mule

Chris had been to The Pearl once for a work happy hour and said the Tavern Fries were pretty phenom.    I clearly couldn't resist seeing what the hype was about so we ordered them as an appetizer.  He was right, they were pretty phenom.  Nice and crispy shoe string style fries with just the right seasoning!

Tavern Fries
They do have a variety of oysters for diners to choose from but I'm not an oyster fan and Chris didn't want to eat a whole order by himself.

Ok, main dish time.  Chris ordered the salmon special which was served over a cluster of roasted veggies.  He said it was amazing, I took his word for it as salmon in any form other than a Philadelphia Roll just doesn't work out for me.

Salmon Special

Since I knew we'd indulge in a beer at the Clippers game I wanted to keep things light so I ordered the Spinach Salad and the Chicken Wing Confit.  The salad had goat cheese, candied almonds and a bacon balsamic vinaigrette that was mostly to die for.  The wings were deliciously crispy and the Maytag blue cheese dip they served with was super yummy.  Since it was confit style it was rather rich but the spinach salad cut that richness to make for a pretty great dinner combo!

Chicken Wing Confit and Spinach Salad

Then came dessert (I thought we were keeping things light? haha) we were advised by the table next to us that we HAD to get the apple pie.  I am by no circumstances a fan of pie but apple pie is Chris' achilles heel so we caved and got it.  Our waiter told us it had creme brulee custard mixed in with the apples so it was very good.  I was just waiting to prove him wrong.  Unfortunately I couldn't do so because it was one of the better tasting pies I've ever shoved in my piehole (Hah? Piehole while eating pie, where do I come up with this stuff?!)!  It literally changed my life.  Chris of course loved it and wasn't so pleased when I kept stealing more bites!

Creme Brulee Apple Pie with a scoop of Jenni's Vanilla Ice Cream

Overall the food was good, the service was great and the cocktails were just right but I'd venture to say the price is a bit much.  Maybe I'm being overly picky and my initial impressions of the atmosphere are clouding my judgement but I think the jury is still out for me on this one.  Chris has labeled himself a fan but I'm still not there yet.  I'd like to go back and give it another try, then make my official fan or not decision.  I have heard they have a fabulous brunch so maybe we'll go back for that.

The Pearl on Urbanspoon
This post is on urbanspoon!

Recent news says that CM will be opening another restaurant concept called Hudson 29 in early 2014.  Should be interesting to see what they come up with next!    


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