Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl

In a really nice mellow part of the East Village, Mother of Pearl is a Tiki place on the corner which is hard to miss.  It is a bit small on the inside with less than 9 tables, but they do have a full bar with tiki bar stools if there is no room on the inside or out.

Most likely, you are coming here to drink, not eat. But if you do want to eat, keep in mind that it is all vegetarian. This means that even if you get the mushroom burger, keep in mind that it is a portobello mushroom in place of where the burger patty might normally be.  It is served on a delicious pretzel roll and comes with a combination macaroni and potato salad which is very good. For nibbling we got the Togarashi Fries served with saffron, black garlic and sriracha aioli dipping sauces.  Honestly, this is something they should just bring to the table free of charge since you are paying $17+ for a single cocktail.  The size was about the same of as a McDonald’s fries you might find on a .99 cent menu but they charge $8 for it. I totally get that every drink, dish or plate that comes out of the kitchen has to help pay for the rent, staff, electricity, etc, but $8 for a small batch of fries that fit in a small saucer needs to be rethought. Another example is the Yum Yum Rice, this too is something you can find at any local Chinese take out for less than $2 and twice the quantity.

But the main event which I came here for are the cocktails. From here on in, this is the reason you come here.

My wife has a knack for selecting great cocktails.  I was very pessimistic and almost turned off by the floating flaming Skittles candy in “Taste the Rainbow”, but it turned out to be the best one of the 3 we ordered.

Our friend got the Shark’s Eye.  This one I’ve made at home, and it is the most fun, and the only one they actually serve in a ceramic mug.  A shark mug of course. This is their signature drink and to give it real justice you can see the video here on how to create it: 

I totally went across the grain and ordered Tiki Peat which was a Scotch-based cocktail. I was pleasantly surprised. It takes some work to get Scotch to taste good in a cocktail, and it can’t be any Scotch. I asked the mixologist the brand name of the Scotch she used but it was not a name I was familiar with.

The cocktails might be expensive, but they are worth it. This is real craft mixology by some of NYC’s best mixologists. Regardless of whether or not you are into Polynesian or tiki drinks, if cocktails are your thing, this is one place you must visit.

Now, for the true Tiki-Aficionados that come here, you too own’t be disappointed as long as you can tolerate the music. At first I found it interesting but it soon turned to annoying because all of it was female solo artists.  Here are some of the music played:

  • Remember my Name by Mitski
  • Diving Woman by Japanese Breakfast
  • Different Now by Chasity Belt
  • Ladies Don’t Play Guitar by Tennis
  • Under the Sun by DIIV
  • Laid So Low by Tears for Fears

The kiss of death for me is 80s music.  While they had an interesting playlist, after about 45 minutes they broke into a Tears for Fears marathon which is not only out of place, but totally nauseating for me.  I hate 80s music because I hear it in every place I go whether it be a mall, strip mall, pizzeria, Walmart, Kmart, supermarket, etc etc.  But more than that, I think of the 1980s as the death of the tiki bar and the bastardization of cocktails when sweet and sour mix dominated the cocktail scene. I don’t care what kind of music you like, but 1980s has NO place in a Polynesian themed or tiki bar.

The place is well air conditioned, but I found it amusing they also have the old fashioned palm leaf fans installed on the walls.

The staff is friendly and it is a fun place. I will certainly return here when I can.

Mother of Pearl – 95 Avenue A New York, NY