Enjoy Eastern Mediterranean Cuisine at Pearl in Petaluma
International dining has taken a new twist in Sonoma County, with the opening of the Turkish-inspired Pearl in Petaluma. Chef-owners Brian Leitner and Annette Yang, add their own twists to the Middle Eastern cuisine, too, in California chic dishes such as an amaranth waffle topped in ricotta and strawberry fig jam ($9), or beef and lamb meatballs paired with adassi lentil rice and sunnyside-up eggs ($18).
In another interesting touch, Pearl operates as daytime café and a weekend brunch destination – it’s open from 9 a.m. to 3p.m. Wednesday through Monday. So you can start your day with an Israeli breakfast of labneh cheese, za’atar pita, green hummus and tangerine marmalade ($12), then move onto lunch of chicken paprikash with pork shoulder, shell beans, chard and dukkah spices ($20).
Or, you might go more Cal-traditional, with buckwheat polenta topped in earthy Cascadia Creamery’ s Cloud cow’s milk cheese and walnut basil pesto ($14), and cassoulet of French tarbais beans, artichoke, Toulouse sausage, duck confit and poached egg ($20).
Tying everything together is a rainbow of spices, like sumac, turmeric, cinnamon and saffron. Guests can expect bold, clean flavors throughout, keeping in mind that Leitner trained with Chez Panisse and then owned two other restaurants in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.
This is also a fun spot for unusual drinks, such as avocado date shakes ($5), vanilla limeade ($4), and a Moroccan Mary of homemade savory and spicy Mary mix and Drake’s Pilsner with a cinnamon salt rim ($8).
And don't leave before dessert. Homemade creations are intriguing. Try the Moroccan rice pudding made with Madagascar pink rice and tart rhubarb ($8), or the honey lavender cake with poached tangerines and cherries plus a scoop of lemon cookie ice cream ($8).
The wood trimmed eatery offers an extra friendly amenity, by the way. As the menu states, “Menu prices include all service, no tips allowed!”
Details: 500 First Street, Petaluma, 707-559-5187, pearlpetaluma.com.