The Pearl Hotel Debuts Charles and Dinorah

Photo by Sam Wells

Nearly 60 years after its arrival onto the San Diego boutique hotel landscape, Point Loma’s iconic mid-century modern The Pearl Hotel has recently unveiled the latest chapter in its storied history highlighted by different ownership and a new moniker for its ambitiously reimagined restaurant, Charles and Dinorah, aptly named after the property’s original husband and wife owners.  

Helmed in the kitchen by Chef Andrew Santana and behind the stick by TJ Majeske, Charles and Dinorah brings an adventurous, yet approachable dining and drinking experience to Point Loma locals and visitors alike with a modern take on traditional comfort foods and libations.

Through his menu, Chef Santana utilizes the umami flavor profile as the foundation of his creations in an effort to resonate with what he calls the “new eater”—  a guest who is conscious of the ways in which a multitude of cultures have framed the current gastronomic landscape.  Charles and Dinorah presents familiar items in an unfamiliar way through the introduction of elevated, global ingredients such as fermented chili, doenjang aioli and chimichurri intended to enhance the essence of each individual dish. Always seasonal and market-driven and best when shared around a table surrounded by family and friends, expect playful riffs on fried chicken, beef tartare and short rib all displaying the culinary innovations of the kitchen in a relaxed setting.  

Highlights of the dinner menu include “Charrtare with black garlic and allium dust on locally made Wayfarer Bread, Cauliflower with smoked aubergine, mapo doufu and gremolataCioppino with mussel, scallop, white fish and soft shell crab, Ceviche with mango pearls, pickled thai chili and Vietnamese herbs and Curry Fried Jidori Chicken with doenjang aioli, kimchi and pickled shiitake.  

On weekends, guests will have the opportunity to savor Chef Santana’s brunch menu with savory standouts including the always-popular Chilaquiles with two sunny eggs, black beans, farro and salsa verde, Chicken Fried Steak with sausage gravy and hash browns and Croque Madame with black forest ham, mornay, irish cheddar and sunny egg along with sweet signatures in the likes of Nutella French Toast with brioche and Buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, both served with a house-infused cardamom maple syrup along with Toast options served on locally produced Wayfarer Bread with iterations including avocado with tomato, togarashi and kale, peanut butter and house jam and albacore tuna with celery, green apple, fennel and aioli.

With the terrazzo bar as a platform for his ingenuity, TJ Majeske has created an innovative stream of cocktails intended to seamlessly complement Chef Santana’s culinary creations. Using a multi-faceted approach, Majeske has curated a compelling list of direct variations on classic cocktails incorporating techniques such as barrel aging and fat washing.  While he’s crafted a list that’s as adventurous as it is approachable, Majeske is equally adept at catering to the whims of each guest and makes it a personal mission to engage with every patron in a relaxed, yet educational format.

Expect well-balanced libations including the Dreamsicle with coconut fat washed pineapple infused plantation rum, lime, blood orange, orgeat and coconut milk, “X” Marks the Spot with Real McCoy aged white rum, green chartreuse, falernum, pineapple, orgeat and lime, and the Slice of Heaven with sauvignon blanc, Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur, pineapple cordial and rosemary.

In addition to the 23-room property’s reimagined food and beverage program, guests will also notice multiple design changes to the retro-inspired interior.  Paramount to this refresh are a succulent wall, of-the-moment rattan swinging chairs, new tables, lights and lounge chairs – all evocative of the Mid-century Modern design movement of the 50s and 60s and intended to harken a sense of nostalgia from when the structure was originally built.  However, hotel loyalists who have been visiting the property for years will be comforted to know that while much has changed some key elements remain the same including the highly-popular weekly Dive-In cinema series, enjoyed around the oyster-shaped pool.  More information can be found at: www.thepearlsd.com.