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Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

B&G (Boston) vs. Pearl Oyster Bar (NY)


Restaurants & Bars

B&G (Boston) vs. Pearl Oyster Bar (NY)

Ian | Sep 25, 2003 04:13 PM

As noted in an earlier thread, my wife and I ate at B&G on Tuesday night, and I had to be in NY last night, so I ate at the Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village so I could compare the experiences, and in particular the lobster rolls. (At least one ex-New Yorker on this board has asked how B&G compares to Pearl).

I enjoyed both very much, but to me B&G is the superior (but also the more expensive) of the two. At Pearl last night, I ordered a dozen oysters ($17, vs. $24 at B&G) and a lobster roll ($18, vs. $21 at B&G). The oysters at Pearl were very good, but I don't think as good as B&G, and unlike at B&G, you cannot choose what type you want, as they serve only one (I'm not an expert on oysters, but they seemed similar to the Welfleet's I had at B&G on Tuesday). The lobster roll at Pearl, which may be even more overstuffed that that at B&G, is, however, prepared with LOTS of mayo, which may be more traditional, but nets a less good end result than does B&G's more delicate preparation. Like at B&G, Pearl serves its lobster roll with fries, and while the quantity well exceeds B&G, the quality doesn't come close.

Both restaurants are intimate, interesting spaces, with a good buzz going late into the evening. B&G is one wide open (albeit small) space, whereas Pearl, which is equally small, is divided into two rooms, a bar area with benches lining the bar and a restaurant-long counter on the opposite wall, and a small dining room with perhaps half a dozen tables. Both the B&G and Pearl menus offer interesting looking alternatives to the lobster rolls, with Pearl's menu being a little more extensive.

I apologize if this post makes it sound like I think there's some sort of competition between B&G and Pearl; there certain is not. And I assure you that I do not have any sort of Boston vs. NY bias that is influencing my views. Both restaurants are great; I absolutely will return to both (and perhaps will give Mary's Fish Camp -- Pearl's neighborhood competitor in NY -- a try, too). But I do believe that B&G operates at a slightly higher level than Pearl. Whether that justifies the incremental pricing is another question altogether.

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