Subtlety is not something I expect to find inside HORSESHOE CASINO in Southern Indiana. Splashy, Flashy, over the top, that’s Horseshoe, at least until now!
Pearl, an outstanding, and subtle Asian restaurant just opened at Horseshoe. This smaller specialty restaurant is a complete and welcome change from the gigantic Paula Deen Buffet and Jack Binion’s Steakhouse. The décor is a modern take on the traditional Asian elements theme. The quiet atmosphere and water features made for a relaxing escape from the bustle of the casino.
We were greeted by Khanh Nguyen, who along with is his sister Khoa Phan own Pearl. The meal started with an amazing light, and satisfying Vietnamese iced coffee. This comes from a non-coffee drinker, they were delicious. I had two!
The appetizer sampler was a spring roll, egg roll and shrimp fried. The egg roll was hands down the best I’ve tasted. Khanh said it was not a “Chinese” style egg roll and along with cabbage, it featured taro to bring it together. It was light and crisp, the flavor exploded with each bite. The hand mixed sweet and sour sauce didn't over-power the roll (a pet peeve of mine). The spring roll was fresh, the rice paper moist, vegetables popped and the peanut sauce was excellent
The highlight of the meal was the Beef Tenderloin with rice. Again the simplicity and subtlety of this dish was something to behold. The hand-craved signature filet mignon cubes are marinated in soy and hoisin sauce. This was outstanding and will single handedly bring me back for an encore.
The Kungpao Chicken was not the heavy handed dish you’ve tried before. It was light, with a just right spicy sauce over wonderfully prepared chicken. The accompanying fried rice contained the standard, peas and carrots. But the difference maker, it featured Chinese sausage, Chinese BBQ pork and tiny shrimp.
On the lighter side, they feature a Grilled Pork and Egg Roll Vermicelli - pork, noodles, veggies and mint with a fish sauce served over - like a grilled salad! The menu also features some vegetarian choices.
Dessert was Fried Banana with Ice Cream. Even this standard dish came alive with the touches from the Pearl staff. Butter, brown sugar, crème de cacao and crème de banana, on a frozen plate so the ice cream stays firm and bananas and sauce can be served warm.
Pearl, is an welcome addition to the local restaurant scene. Time and time again Khanh talked of the attention to detail, and time consuming methods of preparing the food.
A visit will demonstrate that the time is well spent.
Photos by George Lindsey