SSPNY Dines at Pearl and Ash, a Real Beauty on Bowery, with Food That Lives Up to its Looks 

SSPNY Dines at the Lovely and Delicious Pearl and Ash in Nolita, For a Real Beauty on Bowery

SSPNY dines at the always packed, beautifully designed, superbly delicious and brand spanking new restaurant on Bowery, Pearl and Ash, located on the ground floor of the Bowery House in Nolita and replacing the short-lived Bowery Kitchen to bring a deftly executed menu and reasonable prices.

How many times have I walked in all excited to a good-looking new restaurant, the place packed with good-looking people, only to leave 90 minutes later feeling like a sucker, having dropped too much cash on some prettily-plated but drearily mediocre food? Too many times. Too. Many. Times. Much more rare is the thing that happened to me the other night at the spanking-new stunner on Bowery, Pearl and Ash. Here, on the ground floor of the Bowery House, replacing the short-lived Bowery Kitchen, is a fun, beautifully-designed space, with an interesting, appealing menu, deftly executed by a seriously talented crew. AND the reasonable prices at Pearl and Ash allow you to try a bunch of things without racking up an enormous bill.

SSPNY tries out multiple things on the menu from world renowned Executive Chef Richard Kuo, who previously worked at Corton, wd-50, and Williamsburg's Frej, and now serves unique and complex dishes such as this trio of dense Pork Meatballs with shitakes, a wine sauce, and bonito flakes to give it a hearty and satisfying taste to die for and a wine list to match.

The kitchen at Nolita's Pearl and Ash is run by Chef Richard Kuo, whose last gig was co-owning and cooking at the Williamsburg pop-up Frej, acclaimed for its inventive Scandavian fare. Also on Kuo's CV are stints at Corton and wd-50. Basically: the man can cook, and he's not likely to send out anything you've already seen a million times. The design of Pearl and Ash, by Brooklyn's Sway/Parts + Labor, is warm and lovely, with most of the restaurant's wall space given over to Joseph Cornell-ish wooden boxes, housing still lifes and oddities and what seems like a thousand flickering candles. There's a long bar to your right, an open kitchen window in the back, a couple of nice nooks and a homey communal table which, yes, is a bit of a cliche, but it really helps getting people quickly seated. The only misfire is the music, a mix of '70s radio rock and '50s doo-wop that would seem out of place pretty much anywhere (except a Bay Ridge slice joint?) but seems particularly discordant here.

SSPNY next tried out the Mackerel, with a slab of oily full-flavored fish paired with warm potato salad and  pickled Israeli cucumbers and then the star of the entire meal the Quail dish with boned ovals of tender, gamey meat with almonds, pomegranate, and chewy chicken skin, all of which can be offered in half sizes so you can double the amount of dishes you can try.

Anyway, if it's the pretty space the lures you in to Pearl and Ash, it's the food (and, I hear, the wine list) that will keep you coming back. Pretty much everything here sounds appealing, so I was happy that Chef Kuo offers all of his entrees in half sizes as well, so I could double up on my dishes. I started with a trio of dense Pork Meatballs, served with shitakes, a wine-y sauce, and an still-undulating topping of bonito flakes. These were hearty, complex, and satisfying. There are plenty of swimmers on the Pearl and Ash menu, including a terrific Mackerel, the slab of oily, full-flavored fish paired with a warm potato salad and chunks of pickled Israeli cucumbers. But the star of the night was my Quail dish, the boned ovals of tender, gamey meat complemented nicely by almonds, tart pomegranate, and some chewy chicken skin. Seems like Kuo and company have a certified winner on their hands.

Pearl and Ash is located on Bowery just between Prince and Spring Streets in Nolita, open for drinks and dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30pm to 12 midnight, open Friday and Saturday until 2am, and closed on Sunday.

Pearl and Ash is located on Bowery between Prince and Spring Streets, and is open for drinks and dinner on Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, and on Friday and Saturday until 2:00 a.m. Closed Sunday. More info, and the complete Pearl and Ash menu, can be found here.

written on 04/10/2013

Posted in: Nolita


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