Go Eat! Pearl a plush addition to Eastside

Go Eat! Pearl a plush addition to Eastside
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- You'd never know we were experiencing an economic crunch by peeking inside Bellevue's newest hot spot -- Pearl Restaurant and Bar.

"We wanted to have something that made you think about something that was just beautiful," says chef Brad Dickinson, who opened Pearl with his business partner in Lincoln Square in mid-November (in the old Trader Vic's space).

"We like a lot of things about this spot. We like having valet parking at our front door; we like being across from the (Westin) hotel; we like being five minutes from Medina; we like having Microsoft upstairs."

Chef Dickinson brings 30 years of restaurant experience to the table, having worked for Daniel's Broiler, Spazzo and Chandler's Crabhouse.

"The thing that we like about our position is that we're the local guy, we're not the chain."

Pearl is the type of plush, sexy restaurant you'd expect to find in Belltown or Queen Anne, with a kickin' happy hour to match.

"I think we're making a lot of friends at happy hour," says Dickinson. "You get the same great bar appetizers, everything's half-price; all the wines by the glass are half-price -- I think there's 35 or 40 of those; all of the specialty cocktails are half-price; all the beers are half-price."

The menu is contemporary Northwest. Heavy on the seafood.

"Right now on the menu we have fresh salmon, fresh sturgeon, the scallops are beautiful. I think there's also a little bit of Asian influence and some other regional influences as well, and kind of what I like to (cook)."

Brad says the key is treating fresh ingredients really, really well.

"We're not drawing pictures in the sauce -- that's really not my deal. That's not my style for sure. But, we're presenting flavors that are big and bold and can stand out on their own."

Some signature dishes are already starting to surface, like the sablefish.

"We marinate that overnight with a little miso and honey. It comes with a kind of spicy namya broth and some Dungeness crab dumplings."

Pearls may not be cheap, but Brad says his restaurant is all about getting a great value.

"You can come in and you can really roll up a pretty good tab here at Pearl if you really want to. You can have a big bottle of wine, some foie gras and some oysters on the half-shell and filet mignon. But I tell you what, you don't have to."

Places Brad likes to Go Eat!: Wild Ginger, Tai Tung.