John Donne 9 p.m., May 27
Hits and Misses in the Pearl Hotel Restaurant
Of all the specialty cocktails on the drink menu at the Pearl Hotel, the Marie Antoinette looked the sexiest. Pearl plum vodka, champagne, lavender syrup, and grapefruit juice. Two days hence, I still regret not trying it. Instead, I opted for beer, as did my two companions. S went for the Alesmith IPA. N and I had the Karl Strauss Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen.
We ordered the Blue Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates ($8) based on one server's recommendation. When N asked which appetizer we should share along with the Cornmeal Crusted Calamari ($8), the server said, “Definitely the bacon-wrapped dates. They’re, like, the best thing ever.”
Bacon Wrapped Dates
They sounded like an interesting combination of delights, similar to the bar/restaurant itself, which boasts cute, friendly servers, a hip, mid-century aesthetic, and some quirky (read: bizarre) details in the décor.
Sarah: one of the Pearl's cute, friendly servers
This piece of decor looks like it might eat you
Another bizarre combination: faux flower jammed inside seashell hanging above prickly thing in bowl full of shells
Unfortunately, like the creepy thing hanging from the ceiling over the bar, the dates proved to be a bit much.
I wanted to love them. I think N did, too.
S was skeptical about the dates, but she was game to give them a try. After one bite, however, she said, “It’s like candy that should not be candy. I’m just gonna eat the bacon.”
Suffice to say, of the five pieces that came with the dish, two remained on the plate when we left.
Strange, overwrought details aside, the general atmosphere at the Pearl is both elegant and casual. The restaurant's bathroom sinks alone are worth a peek, and the carpeted snuggle area tucked into the back left corner of the space provides not only a bit of privacy, but also a stack of games (Jenga, Battleship, etc) to, say, jazz up a first date. And then there's that Marie Antoinette. She's still calling my name.
Another perk: On a rainy day, you can get 15% off your bill if you mention it to your server.