Fine diners, don’t be deterred by this unassuming corner restaurant’s front bar, where clusters of fans bark at TV sports. Venture on—first into a casual dining room, where the tall seat backs of three romantic booths resemble cresting waves, and then into the sunset-colored dining room—and you’ll find a hidden pearl in the spirited, creative cooking of Anthony Rinaldi. The executive chef worked at Eleven Madison Park and Vong before returning to his native Brooklyn, and the big-city polish shows. Italian and American meat, veggie, and pasta dishes are accented with complex and exotic touches, as in the prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin, accompanied by sun-dried-tomato-infused whipped potatoes and a chutney of pine nuts and sweet yellow raisins. Rinaldi’s service at Aquagrill is also well represented in a nice array of raw and baked shellfish offerings and creative, fresh fish dishes: A salty cut of tilapia, its crisp, browned skin draped in ginger-beet sauce, nestled on a bed of bursting shrimp and creamy mascarpone risotto. The chef’s focus on seasonal ingredients make daily specials especially enticing. But whatever you order, throw caution out the window for dessert: Finish with the restaurant’s signature Fried Ice Cream, a giant ball of ice cream wrapped in banana bread, battered, deep-fried, and drenched in caramel.
— Daniel Maurer
Five stars is an injustice to Bay Ridge’s number one restaurant. The Pearl Room offers spacious seating areas, including a beautiful bright enclosed garden area. Now for the food! As an appetizer, we selected the Cold Antipasto Platter: an enormous helping of olives, roasted peppers, Genoa salami and chunks of fresh provolone with artichoke hearts and a delightful eggplant salad.
Now for the entrees! At the suggestion of our waitress, we opted for the seafood linguini. The pasta was topped with mussels, calamari, half a lobster, scallops and shrimp in a light tomato sauce. My dining companion, not a big seafood lover, was not disappointed in the least with his selection, the Pork Chops. As the name indicates, the Pearl Room is noted for its seafood, but it offers a tempting list of veal, chicken, steak, as well as a vast array of pasta dishes. With such enormous portions, dessert may seem like a chore, but one well undertaken. The pastry chef has created a Fried Ice Cream – a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream the size of a softball covered with banana bread and topped with swirls of caramel sauce…a decadently delicious conclusion to a delectable meal.
The Pearl Room is open 7 days a week for lunch, and I can’t think of a better place in Bay Ridge – or all of Brooklyn, for that matter – to enjoy a business lunch. Ask to take home a catering menu for that special event. Truly, five stars doesn’t do the Pearl Room justice!