Pearl Oyster Bar happens to be one of the first restaurants I ate at when I first moved to New York City. I read lobster roll and bouillabaisse and didn’t wait any longer; however, I did wait five more years to visit which was a huge mistake. The cute New Englandish seafood shop offers two rooms for seating, one with a bar and one with a crowded dining room. Reservations are out of the question but if you come solo or as a pair you can pretty easily snag a seat at the bar. The bar is always more fun anyway right? Especially if it’s a date. If you do choose to come with a larger group you can put your name down and stroll down Bleecker or grab a drink at Blind Tiger a couple blocks down. Once you get your golden seat, big decisions need to happen. The menu bursts with chilled raw seafood platters full of oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp cocktails and large plates such as sea scallops, whole lobster and two choices of whole fish as specials of the day.
We downed the appetizers sampler that came with lobster claws, shrimp, clams mussels. Those jumbo shrimp are plump and legit. Maybe just order a shrimp cocktail appetizer so you can take full advantage of these babies. The lobster claws rock, too. The Caesar Salad is a bit wet and has a strong garlicky taste. Stick to the seafood, no need to waste space on some greens. The famous lobster roll has been debated as one of the best in the city. Served with shoestring fries, this lobster sandwich is full of meat and also full of mayo. I loved the whole grilled fish of the night which was Pompano. It offers a more oily taste than Branzino but not too much. Paired with grilled zucchini, eggplant, squash and green beans all this fish needs is a squeeze of lemon and someone to debone it. It’s perfect for two to share as an entree and light.
Sitting at the bar is a real treat. It brings you straight to a casual ocean vacation setting and on a Wednesday night people start clearing out by 10 p.m. You can strike gold with the dessert menu. Think Hot Fudge Sundaes, Pie of the Day and a Butterscotch Praline Parfait that is a problem distraction and will leave you with you mouth hanging open after you see the tables around you devour it.
Don’t fear the talked about wait at Pearl Oyster Bar and check it out during the week for an easier chance to get a taste of the sea.