The new year of 2010 brought close friends together at the Restaurant at The Pearl Hotel for an evening of great conversation, laughter, and a new restaurant experience. Our good friends, Pam and Louis, won a free night stay at The Pearl Hotel at Louis' company holiday party and decided to gather their dearest friends to celebrate 2010.
The Pearl Hotel is a vintage, boutique hotel located right off of Rosecrans, just a few blocks away from Shelter Island Drive in beautiful, scenic Point Loma. When Mike lived in Point Loma before we were engaged, we seriously never noticed this place. I mean, even though Mike lived right around the corner from Shelter Island, we never knew this hotel was right there. Glad we know now that it exists, because I LOVE, love, love it.
When we walked in, we saw that the bar/restaurant is immediately to the right and the "check-in" desk is to the left. The check-in is literally an office desk, laptop, and chairs - enough for one staff member and a couple of guests. Minimalists. I like. Walking towards Pam & Louis' hotel room, we noticed the "dive-in" movie that was playing out in the pool area and the cool, contemporary seating outside. We were saying that we would love to go eat out by the pool when the weather is cooler. Yes, I know 60 degrees is still cold to me (we're spoiled here in San Diego).
The rest of our large party arrived and we sat at the long wood table inside on bar stools. Simple lit candles were on the center of the table and classy white napkins were at each plate setting. Our server was extremely nice, professional, and cute. She welcomed us to the restaurant/hotel and proceeded to talk about the specials of the evening. The homemade tagliatelle pasta stuck to the back of my mind as I read the menu. Sounded yum.
Yep, as usual, because I studied the online menu, I had an inkling what I was going to order. However, I felt like I needed to change it up a bit and try something other than a succulent steak, which I looooong for! During the work week and Sundays, it's all about boneless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, whole grains, and vegetables, so when Saturdays roll around, I want my red meat! Oh, flat iron steak... oh, short rib.
I started off with the steamed Carlsbad mussels with chorizo, aioli, and the most delicious flat bread toast I've ever sank my teeth in.
On the side note, I have to say that this is my best shot yet of any food item I have taken. To me, it looks professional, if I say so myself -- and it's from our Sony digital camera! *smirk* Anyway, the mussels were perfectly steamed and absolutely delicious. The addition of the chorizo made this mussel-eating experience ever better. Chorizo is hands down one of the best sausages out there. The rouille toast, though, was crunchy and so flavorful. Rouille is a French sauce that consists of breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic, and saffron. I dipped the toast into the warm broth and made the perfect bites of chorizo and mussel. Heaven.
Pam & Louis ordered the pomme frites and lobster mac n' cheese to share as an appetizer...
Seriously. Give me a plate of these pomme frites and I'll eat them all by myself. I'll even eat all the little sprinkles of chopped parsley too. Pomme frites, or french fries (as the hubby always reminds me what they are), are one of my favorite side items. Actually, I love any type of potato, but a potato that are thinly sliced and deep fried is what I'm talkin' about. I couldn't help but keep grabbing a fry every couple minutes. So good. They went well with my mussels too -- maybe that's why I've been craving moules frites lately.
The lobster mac n' cheese came out in this cute little dish. I had a little bite of the pasta which consisted of a traditional bechamel sauce and Swiss cheese called emmental. Savory and delicious. Louis showed me the lobster portions in the dish and I was in awe.
Mike ordered the "Catch of the Day" - a seared grouper, wilted greens, and Israeli cous cous. The fish tasted fresh and had a good flavor. He loved it and was impressed by the presentation and how well the flavors meshed.
The big surprise of the night is that I ordered the homemade tagliatelle pasta (wide noodle) with button mushrooms, pork ossobuco, and shaved Parmesan cheese. I was captivated by the pork ossobuco... anything ossobuco is a winner. I'm generally a linguine or capellini type of gal, but I thought this dish was very good. The pork was tender, the button mushrooms soaked up the light sauce giving it a burst of flavor and the pasta was a bit overdone, but still very delicious.
Pam, along with Aldo, ordered the Meyer Ranch flat iron steak with spinach, Stilton butter, and a potato gratin with emmental and leeks - my second choice. One bite is what I had and it was just of the steak. Can you say MELT in your mouth? It was cooked to perfection (medium) and I think it was that Stilton butter that made it more luscious...
Louis and Caroline ordered the Meyer Ranch braised short rib with a puree of root vegetables. Another jaw dropper. No words.
Elesha and Ron decided to split the "Best Burger in Town". I LOVE the fact that they use Con Pane buns - a local bakery just down the street.
Lastly, good ol' Joe ordered the risotto and requested that the over-easy duck egg (a side) be placed on top of his rice dish. Reminded me of the traditional Filipino breakfast with fried rice and a fried egg on top. Mmm.
We had an excellent time at the Restaurant at the Pearl Hotel. What made it even better is that the restaurant is a participant on Restaurant.com so we took advantage of purchasing a $100 gift certificate for a really good deal. After dinner, we hung out in their little hotel room with the fishy, talked about random things, and wished each other a happy new year.
I've been itching to go back for their flat iron steak and pomme frites. It will be soon -- I know it.
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