I don't know why, but I kind of wanted to not like Pearl Dive Oyster Palace (and it's upstairs bar Black Jack). It's the type of place that has the right PR team, is getting all the buzz... all the cool kids are going to it... and those usually don't live up to the hype. But after my second visit - this time with my family - I have to admit, I'm kind of smitten. It's not a fancy schmancy seafood place like Oceanaire or Hook was, nor is it a fabulously divey oyster shack. It's somewhere in between (kind of expensive, but purposefully weathered?) - but the important part is that in short order, they are cranking out great food with great service. No easy feat for the new kid on the block.
|The downstairs bar at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace (access Black Jack upstairs through that door on the right)|
They do oysters a variety of ways - I've tried the "Tchoupitoulas" (which frankly I just like to show off that I can pronounce it) with oyster confit, blue crab, roasted corn and aioli and last night my Dad got these Wood Grilled East Coast Oysters with garlic, red chile, South Mountain Creamery butter and gremolata. As he declared them the best oysters he's had in years, our server shared with us that the chef personally meets all of his oystermen and often, the oysters are only three hours from the water to the plate. It shows.
|Wood Grilled East Coast Oysters|
We also sampled the Pork Cheeks over creamy grits which I couldn't resist ordering on both visits. We were there early and benefitted from a kitchen mistake and got these Squash & Goat Cheese Risotto Fritters gratis.
|Squash & Goat Cheese Risotto Fritters|
My brother ordered the fun to say "Que Sueno de los Gatos" or What Cats Dream Of... it's a seafood stew with mussels, shrimp, calamari and more in a gorgeous saffron milk sauce.
|Que Sueno de los Gatos|
Don't stop reading... there's lots more after the jump!
Dad got the Fried Oyster Po Boy with fries...
|Fried Oyster Po Boy|
Mom has a seafood allergy, so she ordered the Pennsylvania Amish Chicken Dinner... if you can't eat seafood, Pearl Dive also hand grinds their duck sausage and has a grass fed Hanger steak with blue cheese.
|Pennsylvania Amish Chicken Dinner|
We were pretty stuffed, but when we heard the pie of the day was Egg Nog, we had to try it. It's the holidays on a plate folks... ya gotta try it. A whipped, cool egg nog filling in a gingerbread cookie crust - can't miss!
|Egg Nog Pie|
Oh my, I must go here. Thanks for the review.
Is it wrong that I included myself among the cool kids? Nice post! Can't wait to try their brunch.
Ha - you ARE a cool kid DeChelle!
Am I allowed to comment on your .com site Florida Girl?
If so...this oyster palace looks like this North Carolina boy's kinda place. I've never met an oyster I didn't love...like dogs; just aren't any bad ones!
Oh, you'd dig. If you ever come to DC, I'll take ya there.
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