After one bite of these complex croquettes, it’s clear they take some doing. To prepare them, Pearl & Ash executive chef Richard Kuo first brines a duck for 24 hours. He then simmers the leg meat, confit-style, strips it off the bone and rolls it in panko breadcrumbs; it’s then fried until the outside layer becomes crunchy, while the meat inside remains comfortingly, meltingly soft. The croquettes are served on a pickled purple cabbage puree, which provides a perky slap of acid, and artfully draped with shaved celery, for seasonal freshness. The rich, small plate, appropriately portioned for the season, is $12.
Opened in February, Peal & Ash has been getting its share of buzz. Pete Wells gave the restaurant two stars in his review for The New York Times this week, calling the restaurant “the city’s most exciting place to drink wine,” with bottles at a “very humane markup.” Though he wasn’t a fan of the duck confit, he did highlight the hangar steak tartare ($9) and pork meatballs with shitake and bonito ($11).
Having dabbled in Asian, Scandinavian and modern flavors, chef Kuo, formerly of wd-50, Corton and Frej, offers an eclectic, modern style for a menu categorized by raw, small, fish, meat, vegetables and sugar.
The dark and sexy restaurant, with its moss-filled niches, poplar wood tables and flickering candlelight, opened in February and is a sophisticated addition to the Lower East Side.
Pearl & Ash