Pearl is excited to announce the latest restaurant launching at the property, Best Quality Daughter. A popular pop-up dinner concept for the past three years, Best Quality Daughter is an Asian-American restaurant by culinary dream team Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin and Quealy Watson, chefs and owners of Tenko Ramen. Best Quality Daughter will open at the Pearl in November.
Best Quality Daughter was originally conceived by Chef Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Chef Anne Ng, and Ceramic Artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk. The three connected over their shared cultural identity as Asian women in Texas. The name was inspired by a scene in the mother-daughter film, Joy Luck Club, and created to increase the availability of Asian-American food in San Antonio. They bonded over similar types of food they grew up with in Asian-American households and decided to bring the city their vision through pop-up dinners. As the pop-ups evolved, Chef Quealy Watson was invited to join and share his technical expertise in the kitchen.
“Growing up as a third culture kid, you’re always in this search for where you belong. Lucky enough to grow up in a bicultural city like San Antonio, I didn’t experience being the other until I left for college,” said Chef Dobbertin. “In a quest to claim my identity, I moved to Asia, and sometime between years abroad and now, I discovered that what connects most of us is sharing food and experiences. I am grateful to have an outlet to do that through Best Quality Daughter.”
Pioneering “New Asian-American” cuisine, the restaurant will balance culinary innovation with time-honored dishes and reflect Chef Dobbertin’s travels and the comfort food of her youth as a first-generation Chinese-American. The flavor profiles will reflect growing up as a “third culture kid” (a term used to refer to children raised in a culture other than their parents’) in Texas – with heavy Chinese, South Texas, and Southeast Asian influences. Chef Watson will co-develop the menu with Dobbertin; they have had a longstanding culinary partnership, having worked together at The Monterrey, Hot Joy, Tenko Ramen, and hosting pop-up diners.
The unique menu will include snacks like Thai Curry Babaganoush, Crispy Fried Pig Ears, and Twice Baked Bananas; “rolled” items like Chorizo, Egg, and Cheese Potstickers; noodles and rice including Mochi Gnocchi with Sauce Mornay and Chinese Sausage, and Phat Kaphrao Pork Fried Rice; and family-style meals such as Salt ‘n Pepper King Crab and Red Cooked Beef Short Ribs. The bar program, overseen by local beverage consultant Elisabeth Forsythe, will offer handcrafted cocktails, boozy boba, and a curated selection of wine and beer. Some of the cocktails include ‘Drinking Alone with the Moon’ featuring cognac, aromatized plum wine, Akashi Ume and five spice bitters; as well as ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter’ featuring baijiu, Campari, Heirloom Alchermes liqueur, passionfruit cordial, and Topo Chico.
A warm, fun, and gorgeous environment will serve as a culinary beacon to locals and travelers alike. Local Ceramic Artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk, who previously worked on art concepts for the Best Quality Daughter pop-ups, was commissioned to create a unique host stand for the entrance of the restaurant. Made from mirrored plexiglass and colored porcelain prize ribbons, the adorned host stand celebrates all girls as beautiful and winners in every shade. Datchuk’s work is often an exploration of her layered identity – as a woman, a Chinese woman, as an American, and as a third culture kid. Datchuk will also be the art curator for the restaurant, which will feature work by Asian-American women artists.
Best Quality Daughter’s interior design, led by Lake Flato Architects Vicki Yuan and Grace Boudewyns, divides the space into four distinct dining rooms. These dining rooms will be loosely based around the Chinese concept of the “Four Symbols” or “Four Auspicious Beasts” that appear in Chinese Constellations. Best Quality Daughter is located in a historic home built in 1904 for the Chief Cooper (coopers built the barrels for Pearl’s beer) of the original Pearl Brewery, German immigrant Ernst Mueller. The historic home has a strong sense of architecture with qualities of masculinity and hard materials.
Graphic designer Jamie Stolarski, long-time creative collaborator on projects including Hot Joy, Tenko Ramen, and the Best Quality Daughter pop-ups, has created a brand concept and identity that complements these masculine qualities, introducing femininity and thoughtful new insertions of color and play. Stolarski has also designed custom signage, dinnerware, packaging, and a San Antonio-influenced chinoiserie wallpaper for the space. The prime architect firm overseeing the project and building is San Antonio-based Dado Group.
“Pearl is honored and thrilled to welcome Best Quality Daughter,” said Chief Marketing Officer at Pearl Elizabeth Fauerso. “Chefs Jenn and Quealy have been wonderful partners with Tenko and we knew their inventiveness, commitment to excellence, and experience would add depth and visibility to San Antonio’s culinary landscape.”
The Best Quality Daughter space is approximately 2,556 square feet with ample indoor and patio seating. The menu will be available for dine in, carryout, and delivery. During the era of COVID-19, Best Quality Daughter will be taking all the necessary precautions to make sure the experience is safe for both staff and guests—including additional sanitizing, frequent hand washing, mandatory masks for guests, associates, and operators, socially-distant tables, temperature checks of employees and guests, regular COVID-19 testing of employees, upgraded HVAC filtration system, and hand sanitizer stations throughout.
Best Quality Daughter will open in November and will go into the space formerly occupied by The Granary, located at 602 Avenue A, San Antonio, Texas, 78215. An official opening date will be announced soon.