Looking at S. Irene Virbila's review of Red Pearl Kitchen online, our first thought was: Where are the stars? We couldn't find them. Either she gave RPK no stars or? oh? wait? there it is? one-and-a-half stars. (Did the Times change the template for reviews online? Stars are now hidden near the name of the restaurant.) Not bad for a place that's purely about scene, cheap Asian-inspired cuisine (very few authentic things about it), and a kitschy, vamped up Chinatown-esque décor. In many ways, this week's review seems like Miss Irene hated it, but felt it needed balance so she threw in a few pleasantries here and there. It's like she was revving up to trash it, but every time found some redeeming quality, or vice versa:
Admittedly, in the flurry of plates and the lively atmosphere with birthday parties, girls' nights out and friends meeting up to drink and to eat, food is not the focus. That said, the kitchen is erratic?. One night, almost every dish is executed with exacting skill and I'm thinking this place is not only fun but a great value. There's nothing like it in this part of town. The next time, the food is good but not great? On yet another visit, after just a few bites I can tell something's off. Is the chef even there? No, comes the reply. He's, er, stepped out. Stepped right out of the kitchen.This week, the "S." stands for "Sherry", because that's really what the S. stands for.