W. Cornwall Joins The Taste Trail With Pearly’s Farmhouse Cafe
Photo: Justina Aylmer
By CB Wismar
The hamlet of West Cornwall, Conn. has several magnets that make it a prime destination. The covered bridge alone draws visitors who explore the beauty of the Housatonic River Valley just to rumble across its expanse. Todd Piker’s pottery shop and Ingersoll’s furniture studio join The Wish House as attractions worth a prolonged visit.
Now, there’s also Pearly’s Farmhouse Café.
Occupying the space formerly home to The Wandering Moose, Chef Sean Aylmer’s interpretation of a comfortable, local eatery has come on to the scene to great response, immediately garnering loyal customers and a reputation for excellent food that is also imaginative.
Most days, Pearly’s (the name harkens back to a family connection and gives a sense of “grounding” to Sean in his first restaurant venture) is a thriving breakfast and lunch venue (with dinners served Thursday through Sunday). There are six interpretations of Eggs Benedict, priced from $9 for the classic rendition to a luxurious lobster version with sherry-infused hollandaise sauce for $19.
Six seems to be the magic number, as there also are six variations of pancakes that range from $7 to $10 and are served with real maple syrup, butter and confectioner’s sugar.
There are six options for omelets, as well, with an $12 “Western” omelet that ignores the traditional ham and substitutes a savory, spicy marinated flank steak instead. As Sean says, “The last time I read ‘Lonesome Dove,’ they weren’t herding pigs!”
The lunch and dinner menus offer a wide range of tempting meals. The salads are very well proportioned, and include a Caesar for $7; an intriguing update on salad nicoise sans anchovies but with herb crusted salmon, haricot beans, oven-roasted potatoes, hard-cooked eggs and balsamic vinaigrette for $17; and a lobster and crisp bacon salad tossed in brown butter vinaigrette for $21. During the fall and winter months, housemade chili topped with grilled corn will appear on the daily menu, with a crock for $5 and a bowl for $6. It’s a chef’s creation and very tasty.
Pizzas are single-serving sized and, as Sean likes to describe them, “designer” in creation. The maple sausage ricotta pizza for $10.50 combines Italian sausage, carmelized onions, maple-infused ricotta, a provolone/mozzarella cheese blend and a drizzle of maple syrup. This is no traditional pizza. Neither is the pepperoni and mushroom pizza ($10.75) that boasts oven-roasted mushrooms and Sean’s signature shredded mozzarella/provolone blend.
Sandwiches and wraps offer a wide range of attraction and execution. The roast beef and horseradish sandwich combines thinly sliced beef with baby arugula, carmelized onions and sliced tomatoes with horseradish aioli for $10.75 and appears on a plate dressed with an ample serving of chips and a pickle. The cranberry turkey sandwich ($10.25) includes alfalfa sprouts, havarti cheese and a cranberry chutney to evoke that post-Thanksgiving feeling when turkey sandwiches are the norm.
Entrees include four options, including chicken pasta rosa ($13.75) and seared salmon ($19). All entrees are fully dressed and reflect recipes that have been in the family for years. They’ve gotten better with age, and the portions are ample without being overwhelming. The shrimp and asparagus risotto ($17.55) is Sean’s admitted favorite and a hearty, truly delicious combination.
In any restaurant, the hamburger is the offering against which prowess is measured. Here, The Green Monster (named after Fenway’s legendary left-field wall) is a crowning achievement. At $13, the plate nearly overflows with sumptuous ingredients. Prime beef, bacon, avocado, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, tomato, red onion and roasted garlic aioli are joined by a full order of beautifully finished, crunchy French fries and a generous pickle spear. “Medium” is medium — moist and tender — and the combination is really satisfying. Burger grade: A.
Desserts, $6, are simple and delicious. Apple pie, a chocolate cake or a cheesecake are simply presented, but serve as a great finish to the meal, and large enough to share.
Photo: Justina Aylmer
Plans are underway to add a wine and beer license at the end of the first quarter of 2018. Sean is intent on “getting it right,” and navigating the winter months to see what works and what can be improved upon. Until the license is in place, guests are invited to bring their own “adult beverage” for a $10 corkage fee.
Pearly’s Farmhouse Cafe is a welcome addition to West Cornwall and truly worth the trip.
Pearly’s Farmhouse Café
421 Sharon Goshen Turnpike, West Cornwall, CT
Open daily for breakfast and lunch.