Restaurant: Little Pearl

The Hill Center was a Naval Hospital in the Civil War. Now it is an event and miscellaneous gallery/child and adult arts and education space including various classes including Tai Chi Chuan. Check out the Hill Center website.

Why have I listed two addresses? The Hill Center’s Carriage House is home to Little Pearl. The Carriage House is located on the corner of the Hill Center property which is truly at the corner of 9th and Penn S.E. If you want to enter the site from Pennsylvania Avenue you will need to walk up a series of stairs.

However, if you go around the corner to 9th Street, there is a driveway and small parking area where you may be dropped off and picked up. And there are no stairs involved but you will have to walk around the Carriage House to get to the front door of the restaurant.

I think Little Pearl is the most interesting restaurant in terms of location, food and décor that Debbie and I have been to in a long time. We went to Little Pearl with Beth and Sandy.

The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating options. The area in which we were seated has floor to ceiling glass on three sides.

The restaurant seats up to 80 people inside and out. Weather places some limitations on the outdoor seating.

Lauren seated us and thru the evening continually moved around the restaurant checking to be sure everything is going well.
To the left as we entered are a number of two-tops. We asked if two of them could be pulled together for the four of us and Lauren told us that they were reserved.

There is also a long high table that seats ten, five on each side, and a smaller high table that seats three. These two tables have higher chairs.

We were seated at the long table that seats ten, two by two in the third and fourth chairs at each side from the front end of the restaurant. The higher chairs were a little awkward for me at first but were fine once we got settled.

When we were seated at the long table there were two people around a corner at the end of the table closer to the door. Later in the evening, two other folks were seated around a corner at the other end of the table. The other two chairs remained empty through the evening. (It was August.)

The kitchen is on the second floor and given the weight of some of the individual serving dishes it must be real work going up and down the stairs.

Our server was Cosmo. He and Lauren have worked at the restaurant since it opened in January 2018.

On any given evening, the dinner menu consists of eight or nine of the chef’s favorite dishes to be shared by everyone in your party.

Here was the menu for the night we were there, it cost $49 per person.

ANGEL EGGS – deviled egg filled sprinkled with chive power on top of meringue (in exact shape of a half egg)
SUMMER SQUASH SOUP – Coconut milk with Dal and crispy chickpeas
FANCY TOTS – potato tots with dollop of hollandaise and spicy cod roe

MUSSELS MEUNIERE – served with homemade garlic focaccia
MEXICAN STREET TOSTADA – corn off the cob and spices on open face taco

FOCACCIA CRISP with BRILLAT-SAVARIN – cheese, chamomile honey and tiny flowers

PEACH SHORTBREAD – with hazelnuts and Thai basil ice cream

CRISPY CINNAMON CHURROS – with spicy chocolate sauce

A Wine Pairing costs $39 and a Fancy Wine Pairing costs $59. I requested a non-alcoholic drink and Cosmo suggested La Petillant de Rhubarbe. I really enjoyed it and said so to Cosmo.

As we were about to leave, Cosmo gave me a piece of paper with a website from which I could buy the rhubarb drink. I went on the website which turned out to be in French, a language with which I am not conversant.

There is a translation button which I pushed. That was helpful but at the end of the day I could not make it work. Subsequently, Debbie checked with a friend who is fluent in French, but we still could not make it work. The website is Apparently one can only purchase from the website in Canada, etc.

The unisex restroom has a white square counter with a sunken wash basin and a mirror on the wall above. There is a white ceramic commode with an attached water tank. There are appropriate handicap bars.

There are white ceramic wall tiles and a brown, muddled floor. The wall opposite the wash basin is bright red from floor to ceiling with painted yellow bananas scattered over the entire wall. The door to the restroom is black. Outside there is a sign that reminds you to “Wash Your Hands”.

Reservations are taken for parties of 1-6 people, the month prior starting at 11:00 a.m. on the first day of each month. The online reservation system is excellent and flexible. On Saturday, August 30 reservations were available through the month of September, but nothing was available in October.

Dinner hours
Tues-Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Café hours
Tuesday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Little Pearl
In the Hill Center
Carriage House
921 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E.


407 9th St. SE
Washington D.C. 20003