JANUARY 2019 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 69
A NEWFOUND GEM
By JEFF and VERA WURST
What better way to start out the
new year than by experiencing a new
At Pearl in Island Park, owner Paul
Holand and executive chef Michael
Ross have teamed up again after
their first venture, Pasta Grill in
Rockville Centre, which opened in
1993. We have been waiting for them
to re-emerge and we are thrilled that
we can again enjoy their wonderful
This talented pair brings us a
restaurant with a sophisticated atmosphere
that is chic, posh, and inviting.
There is ample bar room, which keeps
the bar crowd from interfering with
the diners at tables, and a fireplace.
Chef Ross has been wowing diners
on Long Island for more than 30
years. Following the closing of Pasta
Grill, his creations charmed us at
some of our favorite places including
Fiddleheads in Oyster Bay, Bel Posto
in Huntington, Sally’s Cocofe in Huntington,
Jewel in Melville, and Salt &
Barrel in Bay Shore. He grew up in
Brentwood, hence his cognizance
of local products, and attended The
Culinary Institute of America. His
signature dishes are incomparable.
Pearl’s menu is exciting. It was
difficult for us to select items from
the many choices to enjoy on our first
visit. There is only so much we can eat
in a single sitting. Fortunately, we
had some friends dining with us, so
were able to broaden our samples. We
will revisit Pearl again and again — at
least until we taste each of the items
on this diversified menu.
We have followed Michael for
more than 20 years, to a great extent
because of his talent with fish and seafood.
The fresh raw littleneck clams
and local oysters were superb, as is
the ceviche. An awesome tuna tartare
is joined by scallions, chives, a lemon
truffle dressing and sesame seeds.
Other appetizers that we sampled
included the calamari a la plancha
served with scallions, herbs, sea salt,
black pepper, and red wine vinegar,
a fresh, tender, and tasty dish. The
grilled octopus was presented with
Pearl’s beautiful and delicious pan-seared diver scallops are served
with Sicilian green olives, capers, basil, anchovies, saffron-tomato
broth and couscous.
chickpeas, olives, sweet peppers,
tomatoes, and herbs, on a plate decorated
with black tahini.
Our entrées were the pan-seared
diver scallops — huge, supple scallops
that stand out in an accompaniment
of green olives, capers, anchovies,
and a saffron-tomato broth with
basil, united with couscous. What a
combination! We also had the butcher
block special, a 28-day dry-aged
sirloin served in a red wine glaze,
with colossal vidalia onion rings and
charred whole vine tomatoes.
Chef Ross has perfected the art
of making pasta. Fresh homemade
pasta dishes on the menu include
fresh linguini with lobster with basil
mint garlic, tomatoes and EVO (extra
virgin olive oil), and paccheri, a very
large tube-shaped pasta energized
with shrimp, scallops, clams, calamari,
tomato and basil.
The evening ended with the lemon
cheesecake with crème anglais and
fresh whipped cream, and the Pearl
flourless chocolate cake served with
an exceptional chocolate gelato, both
desserts made in-house. Our next trip
will certainly finish with the Pearl
sundae, made with vanilla bean and
salted caramel gelatos, fresh chocolate
sauce, chocolate pearls, almonds,
and fresh whipped cream.
Congratulations to Michael Ross
and Paul Holand, who once again
are giving Long Islanders this pearl
of a restaurant: the consummate
restaurant with a versatile, artistic,
distinctive, top-drawer menu, and a
venue that is aesthetically pleasing,
congenial, and elegant.
Pearl, 4338 Austin Boulevard,
Island Park, 516-432-0723, Pearlrestaurantny.
5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m.,
Closed Sunday. Appetizers $8-$14,
Entrees $22-38, Desserts $6-$8.
Jeff is a practicing attorney. Vera
is a retired schoolteacher. Both love
Long Island food and wine and
are delighted to share their discoveries
with you. Contact them via
BEST OF THE WURSTS
Roasted beet salad (a la Pearl)
with watercress, sorrel, pistachio
and goat gouda, and citrus
Pearl’s inventive Crab & Sea Urchin Pancakes with Shiso butter and