2/26/2013 12:00:00 PM

First Look: Pearl and Ash Opens in The Bowery House

The Bowery House opened in 2011 as a cheap and stylish spot for tourists to lodge, hostel-style, in Downtown Manhattan. Originally the adjacent restaurant space held The Bowery Kitchen, then in the 2012 holiday season it opened for a spell as Pearl & Ash before shuttering for renovations in preparation for its official debut. Last night it opened in earnest, boasting an ambitious menu of small plates from chef Richard Kuo, formerly of Frej, Corton and WD-50.

We stopped by for a few bites in the 62-seat space, which was designed by Sway Design Collective and is both sexy and playful, with dim lighting, poplar tables and walls filled with antique knick knacks. Behind the long bar is a glowing selection of sherries, ports and apertifs. There’s no full liquor license yet, but General Manager Branden McRill (ex Red Rooster, The Mark) says the plates may pair better with wines than high-ABV cocktails anyway. Maybe so, but we always like the option of a stiff drink before dinner.

Highlights of the meal were the ama-ebi and the octopus. The tiny ama-ebi sweet shrimp had a surprising, umami-bomb flavor that was cooled by a swath of smoked lime yogurt and cut with thin rounds of jalapeno and radish. The octopus tentacles were extra meaty and encased in a sweet, salty, crunchy crust that mopped up the silky sunflower seed puree. A herbaceous Fernet Branca ice cream sandwich for dessert should impress industry-types that are addicted to the savory spirit.

Portions are small but the prices follow suit (for example, the ama-ebi is a mere $6). It’s clear that Kuo was paying attention when working with Paul Liebrandt and Wylie Dufresne - the inspiration provided by these creative chefs is apparent. If you want to stop by to check it out, the venue is currently open at 220 Bowery (212-837-2370).

1 comment :

  1. Who keeps saying that the Bowery is all 2.0? Seriously, it's just a crappy and dirty as it has ever been, and not safe either. yuck. Good luck to this place, but there are too many better places to party than this area.