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Restaurants & Bars 2

Pearl's Oyster Bar in Rockridge

PegS | May 22, 2004 11:42 PM

Well, it looks like it's finally open. (I'm too lazy to look up the full name right now.) My husband and I stopped by for a light dinner tonight. It's in a great location across the street from Oliveto, where the old Red Tractor used to be and should be a nice place to stop in after work. The decor is very un-Rockridge, all cool sea-colored tones, modern surfaces, and ambient lighting.

They had a selection of 1/2 dozen oyster varieties ranging from $2 to $2.50 each, including the usual suspects: Hog Islands, Beausoleils, Kamamotos, etc. They also had on the menu crayfish, shrimp, 1/2 Dungeness, and raw clams.

The small plates included a corn and seafood chowder, two kinds of salads, a seaweed salad, peekytoe crabcakes, tuna poke, and hamachi sashimi.

The entrees were all fish-related, with the seared tuna the most expensive at $19. We didn't order an entree but as we saw them go past they seemed plated nicely enough.

We ordered a dozen Hama Hama oysters then 1/2 dozen Beausoleils. The oysters were fine and well-shucked, though one of the Beausoleils turned out to be off.

I ordered the Caesar, which seemed rather pricey at $9--though Caesars always seemed overpriced. It was a pretty array of whole leaf Romaine with three anchovies, and crudites. The leaves were nicely coated but the dressing was lacking in flavor.

We also ordered crayfish at $6. (I never pass up crayfish.) We got 8-9 small-med sized crayfish with a cocktail sauce on the side. The crayfish were nicely flavored and obviously been boiled in water flavored with bay leaves and possibly other herbs--enhancing the natural flavor nicely.

Service was earnest but needed polish. We watched in amusement as our waiter poured my husband's beer the way one pours wine. He stood there in bemusement as the glass filled halfway with foam. He also was just a step behind in other areas. For instance, both times he brought the oyster forks, then a little later returned with the little spoon for the vinagrette.

The Maitre'd was warm and friendly and chatty, but obviously busy. We mentioned the bad oyster to him and he was apologetic.

The oysters, salad, crayfish, and beer came out to somewhere around $65. ("Did you ask the waiter to take off the bad oyster?" I asked my husband. "No," he said. "Technically I *did* eat it; I just thought it would be gross to spit out a half chewed oyster." Uhhhhh....)

It's a great addition to the neighborhood, anyway, and we're glad it's there. Hopefully they'll be able to polish the rough spots quickly to match the hip ambiance.

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