Monday, September 5, 2016

Pineapple and Pearls - A lot of talent in a little place

Pineapple and Pearls
715 8th St. S.E.
Washington, DC

I finally had the time, luck, and wherewithal to hit one of the most talked-about restaurants in the country. Above is the first cocktail of the evening created by legendary stick-man Jeff Faile. Jeff has worked with NRG, Fiola, and Frank Ruta. This spin on what would normally be the second cocktail of the evening is a non-alcoholic version of the Fennel and Absinthe Bonbon. You don't have to be a drinker to have a good time at P&P. All of the cocktails you'll see in this post are crafted specifically for the non-tippler.
The first bit of the evening was pineapple and country ham over asparagus. While very pretty to look at, it was not my favorite of the evening. The flavors/textures didn't meld. They were there, but didn't complement each other and it was difficult to eat without the topping falling off.
Dish number two was a little more playful. Baby elotes with some smoke coming up from underneath.
There were many NA bevs served to us over the course of the dinner. Some better than others, and I can't remember them all. However, what I do remember is the care taken in their crafting and the presentation. Look closely and you'll see this is a bud with tiny flowers all over it. Very cool.
Caviar with horseradish and avocado was beautiful. I should have asked for seconds of this. This is where things started to get interesting for me.
This was the bread presentation. Note the fruits to the left and the fois gras mousse on the right with hazelnuts. It brought to mind Michel Richard's faux gras plate.

Summer garden egg drop soup was a punch in the face of beautiful umami. Awesomeness in a bowl.
Fluke Veronique was very pretty and the fish was perfectly done.
Sweetbread stuffed chicken wings were interesting. I loved the presentation. Not my favorite dish, but it was fun to eat.
Another of Jeff Faile's booze-less creations. Yes, we ate some of the coconut too.
This was the condiment portion of the Summer Red Curry and Coconut Rice dish. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the finished dish as I was enthralled with the process when chef Scott Muns prepared it table-side. It involves a using a high-school science lab vacuum that some over-the-top types now use to brew coffee. It was very entertaining and Chef Scott is always a pleasure to chat with. I'm not sure how much of the flavor of the dish is developed during the process, but it's fun to watch. The dish itself, once composed, is excellent. The curry broth is creative and just spicy enough to keep your taste buds entertained while not ruining them for what's next.

Blueberry Shortcake and Brillat-Savarin was a lovely start to the end of the meal. Brillat-Savarin is a triple-cream cow's milk cheese named after the 19th century epicure who's quote was the basis for the name of my blog...little factoid for you there.
This is the Crispy Buckwheat and Honeycomb Ice Cream presented with the chocolate soufflé below. They stick the landing after this dinner.

The chocolate soufflé was a 10. Bitter chocolate to go with the honeycomb ice cream. We didn't leave anything for the porter to clean up on that one.

Closing thoughts are that this place is like Disney World for foodies without having to leave your seat.  It's definitely a good choice for any birthday or special occasion.
The talent here is undeniable and well-sorted. I recommend taking the time to score a reso here (do your research long before you try) and get thee an Uber. The cocktails flow, and there is no financial penalty involved for enjoying them to the fullest.
Well done Aaron Silverman & team. Well done.