Pearl in the Grove
31936 St Joe Rd
Pearl in the Grove - A Gourmet Farm-to-Table Restaurant in FloridaShaded by Florida pines and housed in a small one story building which resembled a refurbished general store, Pearl in the Grove serves refined Southern dishes with a quiet elegance; the dishes aren’t overly-styled as if to let the food speak for itself and the food speaks volumes about the love and attention the restauranteurs give to their food.
Fried green tomatoes, sweet potato chips, a chilled curry golden beet bisque, fried okra, sautéed collard greens (tender without the overweight of fat back which often accompanies greens in the south): The vegetables were fresh and simply prepared. I had the Yakamein, a goulash endemic to New Orleans made with rabbit confit, pickled chanterelles, and tagliatelle pasta and topped with a poached duck egg. My wife ate the Pork Belly Roulade made with a local free range pork belly first rolled in onion and then hickory smoked. We indulged in the house deserts, a moon pie and carrot-cake madelines speckled with candied pineapples.
With the preponderance of farms in Florida, it is a surprise that there are not more restaurants like the Pearl. But with proprietors like those at the Pearl, proprietors who did not let their lack of formal restaurant experience stop them from turning their passions for food into a successful establishment, one in the center of undulating farmland no less, one hopes that others here will follow this welcomed trend.