Jean Georges Vongerichten’s latest endeavor is full of intrigue. Or so they’d have you believe. Indeed the restaurant, on the second floor of Jean Georges’s ambitious new restoration of the Tin Building down at the Seaport, is described on its website as “clandestine.” Even the name of the restaurant, House of the Red Pearl, sounds like the title of a ’40s-era spy thriller starring Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre.
However, when the curtain revealing the entrance (yes, there is one) is pulled back, you enter not to a dark, sinister, smoke-filled waterfront bar but to a brightly illuminated if somewhat garishly appointed room often filled with happy-looking tourists and native New Yorkers nibbling on small bites of Chinese food. The restaurant is still in its soft-opening phase, with hours from noon to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. When it opens formally, as it is slated to do sometime after Labor Day, the small bites — which currently include shrimp and pork wontons, peanut tofu-skin spring rolls, and stir-fried cumin lamb with chiles — will be joined by larger ones.
Tin Building by Jean-Georges, Pier 17, 96 South Street, 646-868-6000.