Eating Out, Travel

Pineapple and Pearls Review – Washington, DC

You know you spend too much on food when you think $280 for a meal is great value! But seriously, the pre-pay ticket at Pineapple and Pearls gets you the full tasting menu with tax, tip, and generous drink pairings included! What a refreshing change from other two and three star Michelin spots that charge double or even triple this amount.

The most standout part of my dinner experience was the service – everyone was friendly and so darn likable! You are greeted with a hot towel and a glass of dry cava while you wait. Then you go into a stunning dining room with an open kitchen. I especially liked the pearl-like light fixtures and the 3D wall art.

Chips & Dips – The presentation of this course was magical. They bring out a wooden box that unfolds into three smaller boxes with the chips inside. The chips were stuffed with the dip and came in three flavors – Mole & Garlic Crema, Salsa Verde, Smoke Mushroom & Huitlacoche. A fun intro and some salty action to get the appetite going.

Abalone Panna Cotta – I loved the distinct abalone flavor with the creaminess of the panna cotta.

Pineapple & Pearls - Abalone Panna Cotta
Abalone Panna Cotta

Barely Cooked Salmon – True to name, the salmon was barely cooked and nicely tender. Trout roe added some contrast.

Pineapple & Pearls - Barely Cooked Salmon
Barely Cooked Salmon with Trout Roe & Vin Blanc

Bass “Veronique” – The sea bass was way overcooked and under seasoned. I like the unexpected sweetness from the grapes and the scale-like presentation. Too bad about the fish.

Pineapple & Pearls - Bass "Veronique"
Bass “Veronique” – sea bass, grapes

Beggars’ Purse with Egg Yolk & Truffle – I was hoping for my egg yolk to ooze more but it was a tad overdone and more solid. The pasta purse was also a salt bomb – too much for me to enjoy.

Squash Blossom Taco – The fried squash blossom was delicious with the white mole, and the pairing with beer was genius! But I felt myself wanting something more in this dish.

Pineapple & Pearls - Squash Blossom Taco
Squash Blossom Taco, White Mole & Fried Herbs

Grilled Australian Wagyu with Autumn Vegetables – As the final savory course, this should have been a show stopper, but it was pretty forgettable. The wagyu was a letdown in presentation and taste. I did like the pretty veggie side.

Pineapple & Pearls - Autumn Vegetables
Autumn Vegetables side for the Grilled Wagyu
Pineapple & Pearls - Grilled Australian Wagyu
Grilled Australian Wagyu, served with Autumn Vegetables (not shown)

Fennel Sorbet & Labneh – The palette cleanser was quite a flavor punch – bright and tangy!

Pineapple & Pearls - Fennel Sorbet
Fennel Sorbet & Labneh

Pecorino Cake with Pesto Ice Creams – I loved the unique flavors of this savory leaning dessert. The brightness from the pesto was awesome. My tablemates weren’t much a fan, but I was all about it.

Pineapple & Pearls - Pecorino Cake
Pecorino Cake with Pesto Ice Creams

Candied Gooseberries, Frozen Banana, Candied Rhubarb – Fun dessert bites with cute presentation.

Drink Pairings – I liked the option of picking an “eclectic” or more traditional pairing. I got to experience both and thought the traditional pairing went with the meal better, though I enjoyed the eclectic options by themselves. My favorite drink was probably the rainwater Madeira – it was my first time having this variation, and I loved this lighter-bodied version.

After dinner, we got a tour of the kitchen and met Chef Aaron Silverman and the friendly GM. My husband had his sourdough starter with him (for baking on the road, haha) and even gave some to the Chef. We were given bags with butter, jam, menus, and a handwritten note that I later realized was mass printed (very convincing though!)

Pineapple & Pearls - Dinner Menu
Dinner Menu and two drink pairings (eclectic vs traditional)
Pineapple & Pearls - Herb Butter and Jam
Herb Butter and Jam (tamarind?) take home gifts

Timing, while pretty good, was a little off at times. The total dinner time was just over three hours for our party of three – on the longer side for 10 courses.

Overall I had a fun experience at Pineapple and Pearls and the staff was wonderful, I just wish the food were a little more memorable.

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