Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Are we risking having to listen to our kids' complaints over unfamiliar dishes or walking out hungry after having picked at our plates? Of course. But, on the flip side, if we weren't willing to branch out and try new restaurants, we would miss the opportunity to be introduced to the ones that offer great food, friendly staff and a fun atmosphere all in one!
Case in point, our recent visit to Pearl Bistro in Rockford, Illinois!
Featuring a casual yet sharp atmosphere and a varied menu of food and drinks, Pearl Bistro caters to groups of all sizes for everything from special events to conferences to dates to a family lunch.
The high and low top granite tables circle the large bar area, the chilled glass wine room houses every possible wine imaginable, the flat screen high definition TV's keep guests entertained, the large windows let in plenty of natural light, and the free WiFi is a bonus for everyone who likes to stay connected at all times. It all adds up to a modern, swanky ambiance filled with details and touches that can't help but make you smile!
Our family was greeted and shown to our choice of table right away where, without a doubt, we were excited to see that there was a huge variety of options and multiple menus to pick from!
Appetizers, soups, salads, pasta, steak, seafood, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pizzas... the list is endless!
Upon finally making our selections, we placed our order and sat back to admire more of the details throughout Pearl. Big Sister E and Little Sister B were in awe of everything from the artwork to the holiday decorations to the brick oven used to bake all of the artisan pizzas. Big Sister E even had a clear view of the chef tossing the dough and making the pizza that she ordered!
It unfortunately took a while longer for our appetizers to arrive than we expected, as not only were both of the kids getting antsy but us adults, too. I did notice that there was only one server taking care of every table at Pearl, so whether it was due to her only being able to be in one place at one time or whether they were a little slow in the kitchen, we did find that our stomachs were growling by the time our starters were brought to the table.
But when they did, yum!
We opted to try both the House made Tortilla Chips & Artisan Salsa as well as the Steamed Edamame-Soy Sauce & Sesame Vinaigrette and the silence around the table as we all munched spoke to the delicious flavors of each dish.
After both plates were completely cleared (every last piece of chip was eaten!), the dinner salads that accompanied the entrees arrived to follow.
We were a little disappointed to find that the dinner salad literally consists of only lettuce with a few carrot strips, but the house dressing on it did give it a wonderful flavor. And, considering those plates were cleared down to the very bottom as well, they did end up being a hit all around!
Not long after the salad plates had been cleared, Big Sister E's Margherita pizza arrived and the smell was absolutely divine!
Fortunately for Big Sister E, the rest of our entrees arrived a minute or two later, as they stopped us from devouring her pizza entirely — once you've taken one bite of the fresh ingredients and the classic, brick oven taste, it's hard to stop!
However, my husband's Sausage & Broccoli Ravioli, my Avocado Tacos, and Little Sister B's Chicken Alfredo Pasta (with the chicken on the side) were all equally as amazing!
The sauce on Little Sister B's pasta was the best Alfredo that I have had in recent memory and, although my Avocado Tacos were extremely messy, they were downright savory and delectable!
Our afternoon at Pearl Bistro was topped off by a visit to the ladies' restroom so the kids and I could wash our hands... only to discover that there is a surprise one-way mirror into the restaurant that provided us with extra entertainment! The girls and I went in and out, in and out trying to peek through at each other and giggling!
As we went to leave, we admired Pearl's large dining room featuring cozy banquette seating as well as the private, tucked-away booth that seats eight guests.
As a bonus, before we headed out the front door, we spent a minute oohing and ahhing over the two 8-ft waterfalls that flank the entrance way and the beautiful crystal chandeliers on either side. Gorgeous!
I would love to visit Pearl again on a future trip through Illinois, as the food was extremely tasty and we really enjoyed talking with all of the friendly staff and seeing all of the details that go into making this bistro a unique, special place. I'd also love to come back in warmer weather to see their patio and gazebo in full bloom with all of the gorgeous flowers and plants!
While the prices at Pearl are reasonable in comparison to the amount of food that we were served, using our Restaurant.com gift certificate made the whole meal quite the bargain. Our waitress had no problem redeeming the certificate on my phone and it helped make the whole experience even more satisfying and positive!
For more information about Pearl Bistro, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook. To find out about all of the money-saving options that Restaurant.com has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to Restaurant.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
As a member of the Restaurant.com Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.