Everyone already knows that The Pearl does oysters. And it serves water from mason jars: everyone knows that too. And since The Pearl is a Cameron Mitchell restaurant, everyone knows to expect a polished dining experience, complete with confident servers oozing with charm and charisma.
But have you tried the pancakes?
Yes you can have pancakes, because on Saturdays and Sundays the joint whips out a brunch menu that puts out some breakfasty items and mixes them up with the restaurant’s popular regular menu.
And the aforementioned Pancakes ($10) are, in fact, on the menu. They’re fluffy, dusted with powdered sugar, a poof of butter and served with strips of crispy bacon. The order of cakes are completed with something that looks like a medicine bottle. Unscrew the little cap, and the bottle holds an endless supply of Ohio maple syrup.
The natural syrup is either divine or a deal breaker – depending on your philosophy of syrup (some people need the fake stuff).
Not into syrup? How about some Huevos Rancheros ($12)? They’re distinctly different from other rancheros renditions. Two poached eggs are nested in a bean and sausage concoction that is shockingly sweet – it’s more like cowboy baked beans. The combination is likeable and served with a dollup of guacomole and some tortillas to wrap it up with. Thumbs up.
There are some other breakfast items up for grabs: a combo involving granola and Greek yogurt, a frittata with mushrooms, and a short rib poutine with gravy and eggs.
But beyond the special breakfast items, there are plenty of other standouts from the regular menu. The brunch menu is about twenty-five percent breakfast stuff, and seventy-five percent anytime stuff. The Southern Fried Chicken ($18) is outstanding; offering fryer-fresh, crackling skin with juicy flesh. The poultry parts are rounded out with sides that are just as dynamite: down-home, long-cooked greens, and a cinnamon roll that will inspire eye-rolling and noises that recall the Herbal Essences commercials (remember those?), it’s achingly soft and sweet.
The Ricotta Dumplings ($16) are a good option for the meatless crew. Like the chicken, it’s on the menu round-the-clock. Every mouthful fairly explodes with heavenly rich ricotta.
For less serious noshing, there’s a snack section on the menu. The deviled eggs are a popular choice, but there’s also something worth investigating called Devils on Horseback ($9). It’s dates wrapped in bacon, a likable, classic combo of textures with a salty-sweet flavor.
The menu is rounded out with some soups and salads and a big section devoted to oysters, clams and shrimp, all served hot or cold – but you knew that already.
So, no surprises here. The Pearl is indeed a pearl and a feather in the cap (though not actually on The Cap – the restaurant is a couple blocks north of the landmark) for Cameron Mitchell.
You can get the Huevos Rancheros and the Pancakes only on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 10am. The regular weekday menu starts at 4pm Mondays through Fridays. The Pearl is located at 641 N. High Street.
More information can be found online at www.thepearlcolumbus.com.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.