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Gaslamp: Red Pearl Kitchen's woks go cold

Hollywood-style Chinese eatery closes just before Chinese New Year

Heading by the Mardi Gras party downtown. Folks are rattling around with a ton of beads round their necks. Russian girls on their pedicabs are doing great business.

But, like, $50 to get in? Gimme a break.

Me, I'm thinking of another celebration. Chinese New Year, aka the Spring Festival. And yes I know it was officially the 10th this year, Sunday. But from what I hear it runs through to the “Lantern Festival” on the 15th. So we should still be in the zone.

That's why I'm here near Chinatown. Looking for Red Pearl Kitchen (440 J Street, between 4th and 5th Avenues, 619-231-1100).

Great riff on Chinese food and atmos, run by a caucasian cook, so I hear. Heard they had a great happy hour. So I come up Fourth (Fifth's blocked off) to the corner where The Oceanaire Restaurant is, turn right and head for the red and yellow sign.

None

But uh oh: sign on the door…

None

So I go next door to Oceanaire, up the stairs (it’s on the second floor), and ask the Maitre d’ there. “Yes, closed two weeks ago. Think they just didn’t get enough business,” he says.

Dang. Had my eye on that for a while. Bit expensive, yes, but I liked how they’d set out to capture a sort of Thirties Hollywood image of, say, exotic, spy-filled Shanghai, with irresistible gals in cheongsams, opium dens, and the US Navy in town. I know. My imagination’s gone to town. Whatever, it seemed like the first time anybody who wasn’t actually Chinese dared take this on.

None

But I’d hesitated to go try basically because, well, appetizers around $10, entrées $15-$20.

Then I heard about their happy hour with dishes for like $5-ish.

But penny short and a day late: The door says it’s temporary, everybody around here says it’s for keeps.

Is this closure a coincidence? Because turns out there’s a Red Pearl Kitchen in LA too, and it has also recently closed its doors.

Anything to do with Chinese New Years? That’s when I hear Chinese tradition is to clean house, sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good incoming luck.

None

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Heading by the Mardi Gras party downtown. Folks are rattling around with a ton of beads round their necks. Russian girls on their pedicabs are doing great business.

But, like, $50 to get in? Gimme a break.

Me, I'm thinking of another celebration. Chinese New Year, aka the Spring Festival. And yes I know it was officially the 10th this year, Sunday. But from what I hear it runs through to the “Lantern Festival” on the 15th. So we should still be in the zone.

That's why I'm here near Chinatown. Looking for Red Pearl Kitchen (440 J Street, between 4th and 5th Avenues, 619-231-1100).

Great riff on Chinese food and atmos, run by a caucasian cook, so I hear. Heard they had a great happy hour. So I come up Fourth (Fifth's blocked off) to the corner where The Oceanaire Restaurant is, turn right and head for the red and yellow sign.

None

But uh oh: sign on the door…

None

So I go next door to Oceanaire, up the stairs (it’s on the second floor), and ask the Maitre d’ there. “Yes, closed two weeks ago. Think they just didn’t get enough business,” he says.

Dang. Had my eye on that for a while. Bit expensive, yes, but I liked how they’d set out to capture a sort of Thirties Hollywood image of, say, exotic, spy-filled Shanghai, with irresistible gals in cheongsams, opium dens, and the US Navy in town. I know. My imagination’s gone to town. Whatever, it seemed like the first time anybody who wasn’t actually Chinese dared take this on.

None

But I’d hesitated to go try basically because, well, appetizers around $10, entrées $15-$20.

Then I heard about their happy hour with dishes for like $5-ish.

But penny short and a day late: The door says it’s temporary, everybody around here says it’s for keeps.

Is this closure a coincidence? Because turns out there’s a Red Pearl Kitchen in LA too, and it has also recently closed its doors.

Anything to do with Chinese New Years? That’s when I hear Chinese tradition is to clean house, sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good incoming luck.

None

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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