a food blog by erin
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Pearl Bar and Dining

Loud, trendy, and sexy. Strong cocktails with a large price tag. Artisan food with a hip, refined atmosphere. When you step inside Pearl, nestled comfortably in downtown Bellevue, you'll be greeted by a skimpily dressed maitre d' and ushered past a lively, overflowing bar back into the dining area with booths and long tables with dim light and excitement pulsing from every direction. The place is a pretentious spot seeking to serve high class food and drink, but at the same time remain raw and alive with a early 30's crowd staying young.

Don't get me wrong. The place is fantastic. It's exactly the atmosphere I want sometimes. Pearl wins on its interesting atmosphere and even more interesting crowd, but exceedingly pleases in food and drink. The bartenders are crafty and serve rich cocktails  with plenty of spirit, and the wine list gives extensive opportunity. Once you're eased up by refreshment, the food solidly scores high marks with creativity and pure flavor. Both of us chose steak, mine a tender sirloin with demi and fried blue cheese fritters. Erin dined on filet beside caramelized onion smashed potatoes.

And although we could not bear to order dessert (having been stuffed with such large entrees), we partook in a delicious banana coffee cocktail from the bar, which again held up to the acclaim.

If it were not enough to have a hopping atmosphere, great food, and great drink, what stands out to us the most was the impeccable service. Seating took a short while even with a reservation, but the staff was extremely attentive and kept us up to date. Later in the evening, perhaps in part to the good drinks and good company, I didn't notice how long it was taking for our entrees to arrive. Erin mentioned, as we saw our food approach, that it had been almost an hour since we ordered. It was understandable. The place was packed and our waitress kept stopping by to let us know that the kitchen was busy and what the status on our food was. It would have been upsetting but not unforgivable. Then, when she handed us our food, she apologized again before informing us that our dinner was on the house. It was extraordinary attention to detail and service that I almost never see. I sincerely respect it since so many places screw up so badly in this regard. When you mess up, own up to it and fix it. You'll make a happy, repeat customer, who will probably go online and speak gloriously in your name. Take notes.

Pearl, we'll definitely be back.