Lille Pearl is only a few months old, taking over the old Pasture/Pink Flamingo space on W. Grace, but it’s quickly gaining a reputation for exceptional food and service. We stopped by the other night for what was supposed to be just a quick happy hour but turned into a whole dinner after we tried some of the culinary masterpieces they’re dishing out.
We’d describe their menu as “modern comfort food,” with a unique twist on all the essential fixings of a traditional southern meal. To start, we settled on a few glasses of wine and the fried pimento cheese, both discounted during happy hour. The house red was a full-bodied blend of 3 different reds, and the house white was light and refreshing. The fried pimento cheese, which was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside with a spicy honey drizzle on top, satisfied every one of our taste buds and cemented our decision to stay for dinner.
There were many tempting menu options, but the short rib egg rolls and fried chicken entrée were calling our name. The egg rolls, filled with braised short rib, pimento cheese, and various vegetables, paired perfectly with the Thai basil sauce on the side. The chicken was crispy, sweet, and juicy and came on top of mashed potatoes and collards. Both dishes were packed with an interesting mix of familiar and new flavors.
After the fried chicken sandwich, our stomachs were full, but we noticed a few menu items that caught our eye for next time. Their signature cocktail, “Steel Magnolia,” which looked refreshing yet sophisticated, and their coffee-rubbed filet medallions have been added to our list.
The food at Lillie Pearl certainly wowed us, but what made our night was the hospitality with which their head chef and owner Mike Lindsey welcomed us. He made a point to come out and visit with each table and to personally check on the quality of our dining experience. While talking, we learned that he opened the restaurant a few months ago, along with his wife Kimberly Love-Lindsey, with a commitment to hiring black cooks in the kitchen. Through which, they hope to inspire a whole new generation of culinary careers. With face-to-face human connections at a minimum these days, it really warms our heart to meet genuinely good people trying to make an impact in this city. You can tell the positive vibes trickle down from the top, as not only was Mike incredibly personable and friendly, but the rest of the staff there were as well.
The buzz is accurate — Lillie Pearl is the new comfort game in town. Try out Lillie Pearl for yourself during their happy hour, Tuesday-Friday from 4-6 pm for $4 domestic beers, $5 rail drinks, $6 house wines, and $4-$6 appetizers.