Pineapple and Pearls 5th Visit — Washington DC (4/2019)

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Since my visit to Pineapple and Pearls just over a year ago, the dining options changed. In the past, I could sit at the bar and prepay for the full tasting menu with beverages optional. Currently, sitting at the bar comes with a different, bar-specific menu, with some items form the tasting menu and some just for the bar. However, they did allow me to book a solo (or odd-numbered party seats) at the Chef’s Counter, where you pre-pay for the menu and the beverage pairings option of your choice (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). So, this ended up being the first time I was able to sit at the Chef’s Counter overlooking the kitchen. While waiting to be seated, we were offered a glass of champagne or white tea.

I generally don’t do wine pairings, so I went with the non-alcoholic beverage pairing.

The first beverage was made using an elaborate drip coffee technique. What resulted was a hibiscus tea and fruit-blend with orange juice, apple juice, yuzu-honey syrup, lemon, thyme, and lemon zest. A different mixture was prepared for those who selected the wine pairings.

The first dish arrived soon and consisted of a slice of wagyu beef tallow pie made with smoked A5 wagyu rendered fat and a red onion gelée on a rosemary pastry crust. The other item was a vol au vent of flavors of escargot – creamed parsley, creamed beurre blanc, sautéed American snails.
The next course was scallops crudo prepared in a mille-feuilles style with white asparagus and fermented kohlrabi (providing a nice texture contrast).

At the table, they poured a brown butter and sudachi hollandaise sauce.
This was paired with a celery and green pepper soda.

At the beginning, I had asked if I could order a glass of wine (in addition to having the non-alcoholic beverage pairings). They said they do not normally have a by-the-glass wine menu. But she asked what I was interested in trying. I had said that in the past, (when I sat at the bar), they offered some interesting wines, like a French Chardonnay from a magnum bottle. She said they would bring me something to have. It came with the next course and was a 2006 Puligny-Montrachet that was very good.

For the full write-up, click here.

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Pineapple and Pearls 2nd Visit — Washington DC (1/2017)

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I had a work trip come up, so I used the opportunity to dine a second time at Pineapple and Pearls.  I knew enough in advance to be able to secure a spot.  In the seven months since my first visit, the restaurant garnered 2 Michelin starts in the debut of the guide for the Washington DC area.  The format and prices had not changed.  As a single diner, the only place I could book a seat was at the bar.  But that’s fine, as it meant beverage pairings were optional.  Half the meal is charged when you make the reservation and the balance the day of prior to arrival.

Upon entering the restaurant, they offered me one of two pre-dinner cocktails.  It was either a whisky cocktail or this, which was a blend of hot white chocolate, mescal, and chartreuse.

After being seated, I was offered the beverage menu, which listed more cocktails, wines-by-the-glass and beverage pairings options (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  This time, I went with the non-alcoholic pairing. I was also offered the choice of still or sparkling water.

The first bite offered was the same as at the first visit – fennel bon bon with a touch of absinthe. Beet sugar formed the shell and inside was fennel yogurt, dehydrated golden raisin zest.  Underneath as a chaser was a combination of fennel, sunchoke, apple and celery juice with a splash of absinthe.

The next small bite was a beef tartare wrapped by cured sirloin into a roll.  This was topped with paddlefish roe and shitake ash.

My first beverage pairing was a winter pear and vanilla sparking cider.

The next small bite was a hoecake/johnnycake served takoyaki style (grilled pancake in the shape of a ball found commonly as street food) with Périgord black truffle and honey.

The next dish was a compressed napkin that they added hot water to for a finger towel to clean up after the finger food. It was scented with Kafir lime and ginger.

For the full write-up, click here.

 

Pineapple and Pearls 2nd Visit — Washington DC (1/2017)

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I had a work trip come up, so I used the opportunity to dine a second time at Pineapple and Pearls.  I knew enough in advance to be able to secure a spot.  In the seven months since my first visit, the restaurant garnered 2 Michelin starts in the debut of the guide for the Washington DC area.  The format and prices had not changed.  As a single diner, the only place I could book a seat was at the bar.  But that’s fine, as it meant beverage pairings were optional.  Half the meal is charged when you make the reservation and the balance the day of prior to arrival.

Upon entering the restaurant, they offered me one of two pre-dinner cocktails.  It was either a whisky cocktail or this, which was a blend of hot white chocolate, mescal, and chartreuse.

After being seated, I was offered the beverage menu, which listed more cocktails, wines-by-the-glass and beverage pairings options (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  This time, I went with the non-alcoholic pairing. I was also offered the choice of still or sparkling water.

The first bite offered was the same as at the first visit – fennel bon bon with a touch of absinthe. Beet sugar formed the shell and inside was fennel yogurt, dehydrated golden raisin zest.  Underneath as a chaser was a combination of fennel, sunchoke, apple and celery juice with a splash of absinthe.

The next small bite was a beef tartare wrapped by cured sirloin into a roll.  This was topped with paddlefish roe and shitake ash.

My first beverage pairing was a winter pear and vanilla sparking cider.

The next small bite was a hoecake/johnnycake served takoyaki style (grilled pancake in the shape of a ball found commonly as street food) with Périgord black truffle and honey.

The next dish was a compressed napkin that they added hot water to for a finger towel to clean up after the finger food. It was scented with Kafir lime and ginger.

The next dish was a single long housemade chilled udon noodle with Jonah crab,  tempura, blood orange, ginger and toasted pumpkin seeds.  This was fruity and salty with a nice added crunch from the tempura for texture contrast.

For the full write-up, click here.

 

 

Pineapple and Pearls — Washington DC (6/2016)

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A friend had sent me a link to a new restaurant in Washington DC.  It sounded interesting and very much the type of place I would like to check out.  When a last-minute trip to DC for work came up on my schedule, I went to their website to make a reservation.  They have different seating/menu choices.  If you want a place at the Chef’s counter or a table, then you have to reserve a tasting menu plus beverage pairing place.  They will charge you half the cost up front and then charge the other half the day of the reservation.  You can also select a seat at the bar, where you do not have to select the beverage pairings (but you can order the alcoholic or non-alcoholic pairings or individual beverages when seated).  The split charge to your credit card works the same way.

The restaurant is located right across the street from the Marine Barracks.  Upon arrival, while waiting to be seated, they offer you a beverage. One choice was Kir Royale, which is what I had.

The first presentation of the evening was a fennel and absinthe bonbon with a cucumber chaser (underneath).  The bonbon shell is filled with house-made fennel yogurt, fermented fennel and orange zest and rehydrated raisins.  Apple, sunchoke, cucumber. and celery juice spiked with the absinthe made up the chaser.  This was a nice quick bite to start up the palate.

For the wine, I chose just to have a glass of wine.  On the wine menu, they listed a 2000 Chablis from a magnum pour.  However, they said they were out of it that evening and could substitute a 2003 Puligny-Montrachet.  They let me taste it first, and I decided it would be fine, even though I tend not to favor Puligny-Montrachets over other white Burgundy choices.

The next bite was pineapple-glazed asparagus topped with Serrano ham, some chilies and pineapple aioli.

For the full write-up. click here.