Pearl Gives Back

When Mikel and I made the decision to open a restaurant, we knew that we would become part of a local network of philanthropy. We knew that the community would come to us for support and that we would be able to partner with a number of worthy charitable organizations in unique and creative ways. We have focused our support towards children, medical research and the local arts community.

This past week we were involved with three separate events.

RYAN HYDE FOR TEAM PHOTOGENIC © 2010

Poker Slam for Rise n’ Shine
On Thursday night, Pearl catered the annual “Poker Slam” at the Mercer Island waterfront home of local game inventor and philanthropist Rob Angel. Menu items included the “Full House” Wagyu Sliders, “No Limit” fresh seafood platter  with gulf shrimp and Dungeness crab and the “All In” porcini grilled chicken. But this was much more than just a poker night on the lake… numerous guests arrived by boat, the vintage wine was flowing, several cigars were smoked. You see, Rob invites his close friends along with local celebs and sports stars to raise money for a great cause – Rise n’ Shine of Seattle. I was lucky enough to be hosted at the tables that night by Lakeside Capital, a longtime sponsor of the event. With a little bit of luck I did make it to the final table where we lost to a pair of 10’s. When all was said and done, Sean Hobday won the poker tournament, but Risenshine was the big winner – as they accepted donations of over $45,000. Thanks to Rob and all the participants for such a great night!

RYAN HYDE FOR TEAM PHOTOGENIC © 2010

RYAN HYDE FOR TEAM PHOTOGENIC © 2010

RYAN HYDE FOR TEAM PHOTOGENIC © 2010

Efeste Winemaker Dinner for Sacred Heart School
Friday night Pearl catered a Winemaker’s Dinner at the Efeste Winery in Woodinville as part of the Sacred Heart School 2010 auction. Efeste is a wonderful venue for these events and they are open for tastings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Winemaker Brennon Leighton is doing amazing work and is busy collecting numerous accolades. Sacred Heart is a wonderful school on Clyde Hill and we have supported their cause for several years. I could tell this would be a great pairing before we had our first sip. The evening started with hors doeuvres and wine in the kitchen and then moved into the beautiful barrel room for dinner. Guests were treated to four stunning Efeste wines paired with a delicious menu from Pearl: spicy ahi tuna canapés, roasted King Salmon with fresh favas, black angus tenderloin with bleu cheese demi glace and ginger-molasses ice cream sandwiches.

Wine Dinner for Special Olympics Washington Chapter
Saturday night at Pearl we hosted a Chef’s Table wine dinner in support of The Special Olympics. The kitchen team was on track that night, working alongside Wine Director Matt Davis to create a memorable evening. Appetizers included beautiful Kushi oysters paired with shiso mignonette. The salad course was a classic frisee salad with warm bacon vinaigrette with poached egg and goat cheese crostini, paired with the wonderful Chaleur Blanc from Delille Cellars. The fish course was wonderful Sablefish from Neah Bay, marinated in honey and miso and served with an intense “Namya” broth and Dungeness crab dumplings. For the entrée we paired our latest signature dish – Grilled Wagyu Sirloin with bleu cheese fritters alongside two wines; Dussek Cabernet from Woodhouse Family Cellars and the The Tsutakawa from aMaurice Cellars. WOW! What an incredible steak and two awesome wines.

Three events in three nights! I’m tired, but I feel good about supporting our community. I know that we can’t do every event, so I really give it my all for the ones we can.

– Co-owner and Executive Chef Bradley Dickinson

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Spring: Message from the Chef

When a restaurant Chef focuses his menu on local and seasonal products, he can’t wait for spring to arrive. Especially here in the Northwest, don’t get me wrong; but the rich and savory goodness of butternut squash, parsnips and Brussels sprouts tends to wear thin after a while.

In my own garden, the peas and radishes are starting to show some signs life and the leftover herbs (Italian parsley, garlic chives, thyme and others) are begging to be snipped and enjoyed with our family meals. It’s been a funny kind of warm year so far with some of the flowers a little ahead of schedule. And now my neighborhood is vibrantly colored with pinks and whites from the fruit trees, the glorious colors of the magnolias  and soon the lilacs and rhododendrons will follow suit.

In the restaurant this is the time when things start to get exciting. It seems that practically every day there is another specialty item available from our produce vendors.  It started with baby greens several weeks ago, the wild ramps, green garlic for the vinaigrette, fiddlehead ferns from Oregon and even a little taste of morel mushrooms. The fresh halibut is now in full swing, and the troll King salmon are starting to show up now and then. We’ve had beautiful Sablefish coming out of Neah Bay that we just love with our special honey-miso marinade.

So keep your eye on the menu at Pearl… it seems to be changing just about every day in an effort to showcase these all of these wonderful products.

– Bradley Dickinson

Meet the Team: Ian Keene, Bar Manager

Ian Keene, Bar Manager

Starting his career at just 14, Ian worked his way from post to post within an Italian/Mediterranean multi unit concept and continued his success from there into other ventures including a local gourmet restaurant on the East Coast, where he was born and raised. His ability for effective management saw him at the helm of several well known restaurants and bars before Pearl tapped into his talents.

 As Pearl’s bar manager, Ian’s duties are more nimble than most: He traverses managing the bar at Pearl, working with computers, including handling the point of sale system at the restaurant, menu design and web page menus.  He is always trying to strive for new designs and templates for the restaurant and its upcoming events.

Ian is rewarded in how the team’s work can have a profound impact on one’s dining experience. “Its so great to be able to blow people’s expectations out of the water when they come to Pearl, and its amazing that it doesn’t matter who is working to achieve this,” he says.  “We have an amazing team and the chemistry between us all is something I’ve never experienced at any other job; also to be apart of something from before day one and to help its success is a great thing!”

 Although it’s tough to favor any single menu item, Ian finds himself craving both the Filet and the Sablefish.  “They are unbelievably good, but they always leave me wanting more, even when I am stuffed,” he says.

Ian relishes free time with his toddler son, Josiah, and when he and his wife are lucky enough to get a day off together, they spend it as a family to make every second count.  Ian is also very active in his church, participating in as many events as possible.