I’ve noticed there’s been a trend of daily coupon deals very similar to Groupon where a deal of the day is offered and people jump on to take advantage of the great savings, sometimes up to 50% off regular prices. Several local publications around San Diego have been offering similar daily deals on anything from yoga classes, spa services and tours. Me? I’m more interested in the restaurant deals.
When I saw that The Pearl was a deal of the day, I jumped at the chance. The offer was $17.50 for $35 worth of food. A fantastic opportunity especially since I’ve heard so much about it and have been meaning to check the place out.
I pointed out the restaurant to Paul several times during our jaunts to Point Loma where we do much of our grocery shopping. His initial thought based on the exterior: skanky and rundown. I finally wore him down when I bought the coupon. Still he was apprehensive but once inside, we were transported to Palm Springs circa 1960s. Definitely swanky not skanky.
Mod interiors and furniture all along side an open pool. We suspect that The Pearl was formally a Travelodge-type motel transformed into a ultra hip boutique hotel and restaurant. Sometimes the food doesn’t match up with the decor but fortunately for The Pearl, it certainly does.
Among their happy hour offerings is their sausage mac and cheese. Sharp cheddar is combined with spicy house made sausage, elbow pasta and topped with toasted bread crumbs ($8 during happy hour). I tend to like my pasta a bit on the soft side and the dish certainly catered to my desire. I especially enjoyed the little bits of sausage scattered in the dish. A hearty dish or if you’re like us, a perfect start to dinner.
Paul took their self-proclaimed Best Burger in Town as a personal challenge. For $15, it’s a bit on the high side for a burger. The bread from Con Pane and ground chuck from Meyer Ranch rounded out the burger. The burger was acceptable to his standards (“It was fine.”-P) and there was definitely no shortage of their crispy pommes frites. The burger had evidence of being formed by hand: an uneven circumference and the patty slightly smaller than the bun — actually nice departure from those machine-shaped versions and in my opinion the patty was fall-apart tender. Combined with the bun, the whole dish was quite rustic.
Another thing we should have considered was sharing the mussels. I had a whole bowl of mussels all to myself. While Paul was getting busy with his burger, I attempted and conquered the mountain of mussels. The seasoning was a tiny bit lacking — the garlic seemed almost nonexistent– but the cherry tomatoes were a nice addition. Although it is offered as an appetizer, it can more than fill the quota for a full fledged meal.
Despite all the food, we still had room for dessert. The waitress offered the usual suspects: creme brulee and some sort of cake, but when we heard donuts, we definitely had to have it. Five donut holes were served piping hot with a side of warm chocolate dipping sauce. The sauce had some heat and cinnamon — very reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate.
The Pearl does not take reservations unless there are large parties of six or more. After spending a few hours eating dinner and enjoying the ambience, I understand the reasoning behind it. The Pearl encourages you to hang around, drink cocktails and lounge around the cabanas located about the pool. The lounging is particulary encouraged when dusk turns into night and they project a movie onto the screen above the pool. On the night we visited, they played Goldfinger — an appropriate movie considering the location. We absolutely had to stay for the entire movie and have cocktails with James Bond.
I will definitely be returning to The Pearl, coupon or not. I look forward to trying other things on their menu and spending an evening watching another movie classic.www.thepearlsd.com
1410 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92106