Inside chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new culinary assemblage the Tin Building, House of the Red Pearl is a feast for all senses.
“We were inspired by the 1960s and 1970s—we wanted to emulate that era but with a modern approach,” Vongerichten says of the restaurant’s decor.
Tucked away behind emerald curtains in the back of the Tin Building’s Asian market, Mercantile East, hides an elegant, thematically decorated Chinese restaurant. By far the most secretive and intriguing of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s six Tin Building restaurants, House of the Red Pearl achieves its elevated, retro vibe through velvet-upholstered booths, dimly lit hanging lanterns and traditional Chinese motifs.
The sleek bar at House of the Red Pearl
“We were inspired by the 1960s and 1970s—we wanted to emulate that era but with a modern approach,” Vongerichten says. Designed in collaboration with New York-based design studio Roman & Williams, the restaurant’s look combines Chinese themes and ’70s maximalism.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a classy black stone bar where Asian-inspired offerings include swanky cocktails such as the raspberry litchi Bellini and the refreshing yuzu drop, made with Grey Goose Vodka, Cointreau, yuzu and lemon grass. Featuring a gold peacock etched into the backdrop, the five-top bar’s red and gold accents evoke an old-school speakeasy vibe off the bat.
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten
To the left of the bar, a sweeping, handpainted red mural depicting Chinese landscapes spans the main wall of the dining room. The 70-seat space consists of several horseshoe-shaped emerald booths lining the perimeter and tables with plush black-and-gold chairs where guests can comfortably (and stylishly) enjoy a selection of elevated Chinese dishes.
Inspiration for the menu comes from Vongerichten’s travels and training throughout all parts of China, so the delectable selections aren’t bound to any one region. Menu items range from juicy potstickers and wontons to mala chicken inspired by Sichuan cuisine and glazed Maine lobster efu noodles inspired by Cantonese cuisine.
Three-chile mala chicken
“Chinese cuisine is a variety of different flavors, dishes, spices and incorporations of meat and vegetables,” Vongerichten says. “At House of the Red Pearl, we play and experiment with these, giving our guests a taste of not one specific type of cooking from China but the more realistic, various cooking techniques represented throughout Chinese cuisine.”
From the captivating design to the panoptic menu, House of the Red Pearl brings a playful, delicious atmosphere to the Tin Building—you just have to know where to look. 96 South St.
Photography by: PHOTOS BY BRANDON SCHULMAN