Eat of the Week: Mother of Pearl

Eat of the Week: A column about restaurants in NYC and beyond.  

“We’re #PlantBased and #FruitForward” our host tells us, handing us menus at Mother of Pearl - as if this new East Village restaurant and tiki bar were designed around a set of instagram hashtags they wanted to evoke.

I love a good divey tiki bar (see: Otto’s Shrunken Head) as much as the next person, but I’ll admit that the idea of a chic, upscale incarnation sounded very appealing. And although the whole internet (including an interview with the owner) calls the restaurant “vegan,” the word is never used in marketing, making Mother of Pearl feel much more about quality plant-based ingredients than an ideology of any kind. Which is about all I'm looking for from my local tiki bar on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

After settling into a corner booth, adorned with elegant retro florals, I order a “Sound of Silver” cocktail. Created with rosemary, apple brandy and rye, it comes served in a beautifully etched lowball glass - which, although delicious, seems far too tame next to my friend’s “Shark Eye.” This showstopper is presented in a ceramic shark’s mouth mug and splashed with red tiki bitters tableside for a bloody effect - a finishing touch that signals to us all to reach for our iPhone cameras.

“Do you ever get tired of the theatrics?” I ask our server after he spritzes the drink. “Seeing grown adults get so excited by a cocktail never gets old,” he replies with a sweet smirk.

The short of it...

  • Cocktails: 4/5
  • Ambience: 4/5
  • Tip: If you just want to snack and sip on cocktails, head over around 5pm when they open
  • Address: 95 Avenue A