Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pearl Oyster Bar

So, Friday, we went to Pearl Oyster Bar, which is on College a couple doors down from Cactus Taqueria. We had:

  • 2 Kumamoto Oysters
    We each got an oyster. Since it was an oyster bar, this seemed like a reasoanble thing to do. They came with a vinegar-y garlic-y sauce, which was good. The oysters themselves were alright - I suppose I don't know much about oysters, but they definitely reminded me of say, the beach, which I thought was pleasant. They had an oystery taste, as well, which wasn't bad, but I'm not a huge oyster fan either, so... yeah. Sorry for being so noncommittal. :D

  • Sweet Potato Fries
    So, if you're a regular reader of this blog (and honestly, who isn't?) you might remember we had some sweet potato fries at Grasshopper, and were impressed by the curry aioli, but not so much by the fries themselves. The sauce was an aioli of some sort at Pearl, as well, and not as distinctive as the curry aioli at Grasshopper, but everything else about this was better, otherwise. The fries were more uniform, better fried, crispy on the outside and silky on the inside. I think sweet potatoes just don't cook like you expect say, a Russett, or something, so you end up with expectations that'll just never be fulfilled. Still, these fortunately eliminated any reason we might have to go back to Grasshopper, which I suppose is a good thing.

  • Tuna Poke
    Cuvae is still the Poki king, IMO, but this place had a nice variation on it that was interesting. You got the same basic garlic/ginger/sesame oil flavor combo that every tuna poki has out here, but this time, it was served in a martini glass, on top of cucumber that was cubed about the same size as the tuna, with a subtle spicy sauce under the cucumber. It was actually a little awkward to eat at first, but it was really quite tasty. This was the first instance, though, of a theme that sort of ran through the meal, and that was that in a lot of respects, the fish flavors were de-emphasized. Though I liked the Poki, it wasn't "TUNA!" it was a very nice combination of flavors that worked more as a harmony than to say, enhance the melody that the tuna might have been. In this dish, that was totally fine, but the next dish...

  • Thai Ceviche
    This was weird. It was five little clusters - one nice, large piece of fish, on top of a salad comprised of slivers of green - I think cucumber, maybe, in a relatively strong sauce. I think the big thing with this one was that the flavor was something I totally didn't expect, despite it being called a Thai ceviche. FISH SAUCE!!! FISH SAUCE MOTHERFUCKER!!!! BOOYEAH!!! was definitely the impression I got from this, and with every bite, it was suprising. Not because it was *bad*, just because when you think ceviche, you don't think fish sauce, I guess. But the biggest thing is that I have *no idea* what that fish was. It had a nice, meaty texture, but it could have been yellowtail, or white tuna, or any number of things. No idea. Couldn't taste the fish *at all*.

  • Lamb Flatbread
    This was a really nice Moroccan-influenced lamb meatballs on a piece of grilled flatbread with a couple different sauces. Weirdly, again, to me I couldn't actually taste any sort of obviously lamb flavor, but maybe it was part of just creating a good harmony of flavors for the sauce. Dunno. It could have been pork, or beef, or sawdust. That aside, though, it was really tasty, I'd love to have it again.
  • "Coffee" & Doughnuts - These were a bowl ful of cinnamon & sugar dusted beignets, with a coffee and cardamom-based "creme anglaise" dipping sauce (it was way too runny, IMO, to be creme anglaise, unless I really screwed up the French Laundry recipe, which I'm pretty sure I didn't. I really liked this, as a dessert. The beignets were nicely fried, and sort of silky, rather than airy on the inside. Very different than your generic 5 cent doughnut holes. The cold dipping sauce was a nice complement to the hot doughnuts, and it all just worked really well, for me.

  • Rhubarb "Dry" Soda
    A rhubarb-flavored soda that Ei-Nyung got. Surprisingly good, and not very sweet at all. Almost like Pommac. And if you get that reference, you're either my dad, or my cousin. Hi!

Overall, I'd go back. I wasn't blown away, but it was reasonably interesting fare, there looked to be a good variety, and nothing we had was bad. At worst (the Thai Ceviche), it wasn't what we'd expected. I'm curious as to whether they have other fish dishes where the fish is the "star" of the dish, or what have you. But it was good enough I'd like to try it again.


Blogger ei-nyung said...

I agree with every item. Bottom line: I'd go back because the menu has a lot of intriguing items and the execution was good enough with the things we ate that it would be worth checking out again.

I LOVED the sweet potato fries here, so we definitely don't have to go back to Grasshopper, thank goodness. My favorite are still in the Ferry Building though -- thanks, Lindsi.

I was not impressed with the coffee & doughnuts, but I still agree with Seppo regarding the interesting texture of the beignets and the contrasting temperatures of the two parts.

10:47 AM  
Blogger h said...

I play a little game every time I read this blog: How quickly can I correctly guess who is writing the entry? Sometimes it's easy, but this time it was tough. Something about the first few paragraphs was very reminiscent (omg I spelled that right!) of eingy's usual tone. Things like "and honestly, who isn't?" really had me thinking eingy, but something held me back from committing to that answer. Then I read "which I suppose is a good thing" and it was Seppo all the way.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Seppo said...

So, we *did* try it again, and when we went back with Roopa, everything about the dinner was spectacular. Delicious, interesting, great service, the works. I'd go back again in a heartbeat.

5:25 PM  

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