Champagne in Dixie Cups. Pancakes Flecked With Gold. Fine Dining Gets Fun Again.


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THE OLD Pineapple & Pearls was, by any measure, a resounding success. The restaurant opened seven years ago in Washington, D.C., to rave reviews from local critics; diners lined up for chef-owner Aaron Silverman’s playfully elegant tasting menu of a dozen or more courses. A year in, the Michelin Guide awarded it a coveted two stars. Which is why I was surprised to learn that Mr. Silverman had burned the whole concept to the ground and started from scratch. 

A two-year pandemic closure had given the chef and his team time to think about the future of Pineapple & Pearls and the point of its existence. “You hear the words ‘fine dining’ and it’s a three- or four-hour meal and you’re worshiping at the temple of some chef,” Mr. Silverman said. “That’s not fun, at least for us.”

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