15 May 2008

A Gem of a Pearl

Let's talk about bliss, shall we? Last night, to celebrate Jeff's completing his Masters degree, we went to Pearl Oyster Bar, which is possibly my favorite place in New York, barring (including?) my apartment. I love it. It's got seriously anti-sleek New York décor: a marble bar with a tap and 16 bar stools, bleached wood, cramped tables in the other room. Large stock pots with white-stenciled letters: STEAMED CLAMS. It's crowded, slightly uncomfortable, slightly kitschy, and I just totally love it. Their seafood is just impeccable. There is whole roasted fish. Whole steamed lobster. Lobster rolls. Crab cakes. Pie.

You have to understand: Pearl's was where we celebrated when we managed to seal the deal on our apartment. It was the place we went with my parents on that night that we had reservations elsewhere, when my dad didn't want to come out at all but did and my mom was tired from me dragging her all over the lower part of the city (or so she claims, though I maintain that it wasn't that far, really), and the four of us had a FANTASTIC time.

What I like about it is that the menu is constrained. It has it's signature small and large plates on slight, laminated menus, and then a chalkboard with the eight or so market offerings. That is what there is. Last night, we grabbed a seat at the bar, ordered beers, and poured over the menu for a good twenty minutes, munching on oyster crackers and hemming over what sounded best to eat. We went with fried oysters, bouliabaisse, and pan-roasted soft-shell crabs with spring peas sautéed in butter. And a butterscotch praline parfait, with it's amber shards of candied pralines and butterscotch sauce sandwiching vanilla ice cream to top us off. Eating good food, watching rain come down outside, getting Jeff back after weeks of finals, it was a beautiful night.

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