Monday 8 September 2008

Homespun Elegance Highlights Toilet Experience at Pearl

2855 Ocean Dr.
Vero Beach, FL USA

Where is it?

A little hard to find. The interior of this restaurant twists and turns a bit -- and also includes an al fresco area. Best bet to find the toilets is to do the following:

From the main entrance, face the back wall. Then head to the right, through the front part of the dining room and towards the windows along the north wall (the outdoor seating area is on the other side of them).

Once you reach the side wall, turn left, towards the back of the restaurant. You'll see a hallway open up there with a sign above it -- essentially a framed piece of embroidery -- reading, "Rest Rooms."

What's it like?

This cozy eatery, located near the coast on Vero Beach's upscale island community, is a modest establishment filled with sophisticated charms and a down-to-earth spirit. It's one of those places that looks chic on the outside and inside but soon loses that facade and opens up a very friendly, comfortable demeanor that welcomes all.

The interior is filled with wood tables, red walls, and some knickknacks on the walls -- a design concept that extends the place's sophisticated-yet-homey nature.

The menu has some serious gourmet aspirations, with prices to boot, though I must say I did not eat dinner or lunch here. Rather, I ate breakfast. It included a large selection of expected choices, from omelets to pancakes and everything in between. But it also offered some unique twists on standard favorites. The Overstuffed Breakfast Croissant, for example, piled an egg (I asked for over easy instead of an omelet, which is what the menu suggested), bacon and cheese on a huge, flaky croissant, making it an delectable mess. The House Special Omelet was equally flavorful, filling its eggs with shrimp, crab meat and artichoke.

The toilets edge more towards the place's sophisticated nature than its homey side. Not that I found anything wrong with that. The walls here are covered in beige patterned marble tile, giving the single-serve chamber an elegant feel that made me first think of the toilets I experienced at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Not quite there, but not too far off for a uni-chamber.

This is a roomy environment as well, with about 10 feet separating the door and the back wall, though its not excessively roomy, like the facilities at Golden Krust, Famous Phil's Cheesesteaks, or Nona Sushi. At this size, you can marvel at the small add-ons, like the pedestal beside the toilet that holds the air freshener (we've seen this concept pulled off at other places, like at Hale Groves in Vero Beach and Soho South Cafe in Savannah, but not as successfully) or the wicker basket set out for the thick-ply paper towels (very night, simple touch, even though I still give precedence to the J.W. Marriott Grand Lakes in Orlando's toilets on this add-on).

The fixtures themselves are nothing special: White porcelain sink, toilet and urinal, though like the toilets at the wonderful Sensi or Okada in Las Vegas the pale tile backdrop somehow manages to frame these items as decorative pieces instead of merely functional pieces. I also liked the sink, which was a bit shorter than average and had a pretty bronze faucet atop it that looked like an old-fashioned spigot.

Marks out of 10:

9. A very classy, sophisticated one-bagger. Very well put together.

Comments to the Management:

All I can think of to improve the situation would be to add some decoration to the walls. But then that might ruin the beautiful simplicity here....

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