A specific wine pairings or BYO question: Pineapples and Pearls

This is a long shot but here goes: “THE” new place in DC is Pineapples and Pearls, which has two dining options. In the dining room, dinner is $250/person all in. No tax, no tip, no extra for cocktails or wine, no bill comes to your table. You say thank you and leave. They select and serve wines with each course.

At the “bar,” they serve the same menu, same approach, for $150/person, but no alcohol is included. Corkage is $50 (although there is an ambiguity as to whether that is a flat fee or per bottle. I am assuming per bottle).

Trouble is, there is no way to determine what the wines served in the dining room are, as they have no wine list (since you don’t order the wine).

If you have been, I would love to hear what you were served, and whether you thought the wines were “worth” the extra $100/person. For a meal at this level I am tempted to bring my own, and since the staff serves you over the bar, share with them.

Here is the Post review (though it won’t help on my question): https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/pineapple-and-pearls-review-aaron-silvermans-fine-dining-lair-is-astounding/2016/05/09/6f7ca2a4-1642-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html

interesting concept but i’d have the same concern unless i knew them

I’m not a fan of paying up front for a meal. To me, it’s you’re doing the restaurant a favor by dining there not the other way around. However, I realize I seem to be in the minority these days.

Go with the wine paired meal and turn off the oenophile part of your brain for the night. See how it goes.

Compared to BYO, you are basically risking 200 bucks for two people on wine…minus the corkage and price of the bottle you bring. Plus, you don’t have to worry about which damned wine to bring! Cost-wise, I bet it would be a wash.

This way, you get a variety of tastes and see how the place pairs wine and food!


Of course…then report back! [cheers.gif]

I went during the soft opening and opted for the wine pairing. I have to say it was a tremendous dining experience…easily the best meal I have ever had in DC. Starting with the service, which is incredibly attentive yet also casual (in the best possible way), the entire experience is top notch. Food is obviously fantastic with the added bonus of Aaron basically walking you through the different servings (not sure if he is doing that every night or not. I sat at the bar and he was front and center).

Now as for the wine/drinks, I would have to say that I really enjoyed going with the all inclusive option. I don’t have my notes on hand but they really did a fantastic job pairing the different cocktails/wines with the different dishes…and they certainly came back often to top you off. All of the wines were very good. Lots of geeky delights as well as just solid, solid performers. Nothing transcendent on their own but paired extremely well.

With all of the different plates they bring out, I would recommend going all in for the full experience…at least for the first time you visit. I didn’t even know about the corkage policy and would be interested in finding out if it’s $50/flat or not…it would be a hell of a spot for a group dinner with people bringing some epic bottles.

Either way, you will have a fantastic experience. Wish I could be more helpful with calling out the exact wines…I’l look for my notes when I get back home.

Fantastic info Bobby. (And thanks to everyone else for chiming in). Being a wine geek and a type A kind of guy, I am not sure I can do as Anton suggests (“turn off the oenophile part of your brain for the night”) as I am not certain I have a switch for that. But What Bobby says makes a lot of sense too.

If these options are difficult, you can try Next here in Chicago where the only option (generally) are parings that they decide, with no corkage option

While I would typically BYO to a high-end spot like P&P, I’ve been twice so far and thrown caution to the wind both times – and left totally impressed. They’ll likely take you a bit outside your comfort zone – and the wines are all relatively affordable – but it’s a fantastic experience.

The first time I went (in April, shortly after opening), beverages were as follows: Welcome cocktail (riff on an aperol spritz); Charles Dufour champagne; 2002 Domaine Barat Vaillons Chablis; 2009 Domaine Lucci “Wildman” Pinot Noir; Hitachino white beer; 2008 Bodegas Laukote Rioja; another cocktail.

I forgot to keep track when I went back a couple weeks ago, but I do remember a PetNat from Domaine Lucci that was amazing.

All that said, I’m sure they’d accommodate BYO if you ask.

The wines I had are the same as David listed. I was tremendously impressed with the Domaine Lucci and have since tracked down a lot of their other wines. Definitely was something totally unexpected from the land down under and a lot of fun, not to mention tasty as hell.

Neal, I don’t think you need to so much turn off any parts of your personality as much as just tune it to the experience. You won’t regret it.

I only went once and the food was just amazing, easily the equal of any 3-star i’ve been at. However, we were underwhelmed by the wine/beer pairings (although they use zaltos). The somm was very knowledgeable but I dont think they had the cellar depth. Opening with a Australian pet-nat was the best part, but the white burg that carried through most of the meals wasn’t ready yet (2005 Domaine Bzikot Puligny Montrachet out of magnum, if I remember right). We didn’t like the beer pairings at all. The lightly sweet wines were ok, but nothing magical.

I would definitely bring something in case you dont like their parings. Their menu varies, but I would have loved to have mature champers (white or rose), Jura white, or mature burgundy. Lighter would be better. But again, just my opinion and when I go again, I will bring a couple mature bottles in case I dont like what they had.

Oh, also, if you have the table seats ($250/person), they dont charge for corkage from what I understand.

There’s a great restaurant in my area that has gone to the ticket system for reservations. I always thought this was weird when hearing about it at other places. Before this restaurant went to the current system, my wife and I had a lovely dinner there, which usually takes 2.5-3 hours. During that time, we saw one table decide not to have anything after being seated (they wanted to get out of there in something like 45 minutes, which is completely unreasonable at any place that does tasting menus), and another table left partway through their meal, of course expecting not to pay for the whole meal. This place is tiny. Those two tables could really mess up the restaurant’s food cost and income for that night. I’m sure they had that happen way too much before the new system.

I will have to put this on my DC list. We’re in DC at least every 6 months.

Ditto what others have said. Maybe the best meal I’ve had in D.C. Was perfectly satisfied with the wine/cocktail/beer pairings (which were different than what David and Bobby were served). They refilled glasses, answered questions, and I’m sure would have substituted anything we didn’t care for or didn’t think worked with the food. I don’t remember the specifics, except that they poured CA Chenin from Lieu Dit Winery, which I thought was very cool and geeky.

They don’t charge corkage at a table or the kitchen counter (i.e., all of the seats that charge $250); at the bar it is $35 per bottle (where dinner is $150).

If you are in the dining room, your beverages are included so they charge no corkage is you want to substitute your own. I was told corkage at the bar is $50

Did they raise the charge? This is what their website says as of a minute ago…

Huh. That’s what they said in an email. Maybe the emailer was confused

How often do you see slots for more than 1 person at the bar?

Currently, they have 2 bar seats only available at the late lunch hour of 5:15 on 9/13. Every time I’ve tried for bar seats, it’s like trying to buy popular tickets on Ticketmaster.

corkage fee are going up all over… did someone say the box wine served blind was first growth ?

I will pass on any restaurant I have to pay up front except this place Click on me… corkage fee $150

I echo what Bobby, David, and Scott said. When I went last month the pairings were:

Cocktails to start (“Gold Rush” and their take on a Kir Royale)
2015 Sparkling Chardonnay, Domaine Lucci, Adelaide Hills, Australia
2013 Karthauserhof, Trocken Riesling, Mosel
Ballast Point, Watermelon Double IPA
2015 Matteo Correggia, “Anthos,” Brachetto, Piedmont
Sake / Sugar Snap Pea / Tumeric Vinegar (like a cocktail)
St. Bernardus, “Abt 12,” Quadrupel

There were appropriate substitutions for those of us that can’t have gluten. Overall, when I thought about what the price included and the ingredients and the generosity, I had to guess that their margins are not generous. Overall, a phenomenal experience that I would happily repeat.