Champagne in Dixie cups. Gold speckled pancakes. Gastronomy becomes fun again.

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

A two-year pandemic shutdown had given the chef and his team time to reflect on the future of Pineapple & Pearls and the meaning of its existence. “You hear the words ‘fine dining’ and it’s a three or four hour meal and you worship at a chef’s temple,” Mr Silverman said. “It’s not fun, at least for us.”


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