What’s supposed to set Pineapple & Pearls apart from its sister restaurants like Rose’s Luxury and other fine dining restaurants in the city, is that it’s a party. This should be a dinner that calls for sparkles, fancy shoes, and a babysitter. Unfortunately, just like your ex who was so great until they weren’t, Pineapple & Pearls sets high expectations it doesn’t always meet.
Some nights, you get Times Square New Year’s Eve levels of excitement. The playlist is bumping everything from “This Is How We Do It” to “As.” The chefs are dancing and singing along as they tweeze tiny edible flowers onto pristine china. Your fellow diners are laughing under the glow of this month’s gradient balloons. Everything is bumping.
But then there are the nights that feel more like that middle school birthday party only your best friend showed up to. The curator of the playlist skips the universal bangers and settles for their personal 2000s favorites. The wait staff looks as excited to be explaining the funky cheese course as you look when the mechanic explains all the work your car suddenly needs.
While your resilient inner child might’ve bounced back from such a bust of a party, your financially responsible (or hoping to be) adult self might be a little miffed to have dropped $500 per person on a dud.
Luckily, the food won’t disappoint, even if the party does. Marco’s gnocchi is a pillowy pasta in a rich butter sauce that might make you consider dropping five bills multiple times a month to taste it again and again. The menu rotates seasonally, but if this is on it, it’s the best thing you’ll eat all night.
But we know this restaurant group knows how to make good food, so that’s not enough to make Pineapple & Pearls a winner. To do that, they need Kid 'n Play levels of party success. And they don’t consistently deliver on that.
The menu at Pineapple & Pearls rotates frequently, but here’s an example of what you can expect.
This is the most fun dish at the restaurant. These literal bags of caviar topped with 24-carat gold flakes are salty with a little sweetness from the pressed beet canvas they’re wrapped in.
These butter-drenched pillows are the one thing we hope never comes off the menu because they’re happiness in pasta form. It might seem over the top to tilt the bowl to your mouth to make sure you didn’t miss a drop, but it’s not.
Even If You Don’t Like Lamb
This plate of lamb, bing cherries, and black forest cake is not what you’ll be looking at when this arrives at the table. Because it comes with a second plate that’s an actual mini black forest (that is purely for presentation purposes). This dish is as fun to look at as it is delicious to eat.
World Class Wagyu
Wagyu is a staple on a lot of fine dining menus, but this dish brings together flavors from around the world onto a plate you’ll be scraping long after the last bites are gone. The tiny piece of buttery meat is served alongside crispy collard greens and fluffy cornbread takoyaki.
LA Mezcal Pineapple
What’s the point of coming to a restaurant named Pineapple & Pearls and not having pineapple? You won’t get it until dessert, but the juicy roasted pineapple atop pink Dippin’ Dots-esque bites of mango, chamoy, and pineapple are worth the wait. Our only complaint is that we want more of the roasted stuff.