If you ever ask me what my favorite food is, there are two answers. Raspberries and Lobster. I’m pretty sure my answer hasn’t changed in my 22 years, and I don’t think it ever will. I went to Pearl Oyster Bar last summer and have been dying for the chance to go back. This delicious restaurant is located in the heart of the West Village off a side street you wouldn’t wander to unless you knew what you were looking for. My friend Zac and I always have a competition to one-up each other on finding a better unknown restaurant. So when he discovered Pearl, he definitely won that round.
The restaurant does not take reservations, so when we walked in after work around 6:30pm, it was already crowded. There are seats at the bar and an adjacent counter top and a little side room with no more then 10 tables. Luckily, we just beat the real dinner rush (after all it is Manhattan and people really don’t eat until 8-9pm). We got one of the coveted tables in the side room and sat down. Instead of bread, they start you off with Oyster Crackers. Get it? Oyster Bar.. Oyster Crackers.
We ordered a glass of wine, although I tried to order red and was promptly scolded that “you don’t order red with seafood” and switched to a Chardonnay. We debated for a while what to order to start, and ultimately decided that since we are at an Oyster bar, we had to start with the Oysters.
I promptly squired a little bit of lemon juice on each one and then created a little concoction to my liking. I enjoy a little dollop of the cocktail sauce and a bit of the vinegary sauce as well. I like to slurp my oyster (unlike my friend who uses a fork). I feel like its much more fun to put the whole thing in your mouth and get all of the delicious juices.
We then ordered one of the famous lobster rolls. These delicious treats are not your average lobster roll. They are market price and overflowing with huge pieces of heaven. At Pearl, the lobster rolls are limited, so you need to make sure you get there early or else you might miss out on the best thing the restaurant has to offer.
This picture does not even do the dish justice. There are a few essentials to a lobster roll. First off, the bun. If you do not have a good bun, you might as well walk away before you even start. Here, the potato roll is so sweet and slightly toasted giving that perfect little crunch. And then there’s the lobster. The pieces are so large, you can actually tell what part of the crustacean it came from. The mayo is subtle but necessary molding everything together in one perfect, messy bite.
My friend tried to be polite and eat with a fork and knife, but I just dug right in. After all, it’s always more fun when you get a little messy. And then you can lick your fingers after. Of course the perfect side to a decadent lobster roll is shoe string fries. These particular fries have the perfect crunch. The waiter put a bottle of malt vinegar on our table, and after watching Bobby Flay add it to his fries last week, I had to try it out. I loved the acidity on the fries to make it balance out the mayo even more. The whole meal was delicious and I was sure to savor every bite, making my friend super jealous when I had a few perfect bites left, and his plate was bare.
Overall, I totally recommend Pearl. The food is excellent and its a great cozy place. The one issue is that the food comes out super fast and the waiter keeps pushing you to order quickly. Just make sure to order slowly (even if they get annoyed) and savor every bite. Because it is definitely worth it.
Location: West Village, NY
Type: Seafood, American (Traditional)
Perfect For: Quality Seafood, Impressing Foodies
Reservations: Not Available
Favorite Dishes: Lobster Roll