I'm hesitant to try out a new restaurant too soon, hoping to give time for ironing out wrinkles. I couldn't wait any longer for the Black Pearl largely because the name sounds so appealing and mysterious. So on a Saturday evening I ventured in with a couple of friends, without reservations, on the way to an “etc” (East End Theater Company) performance. We arrived early so we'd have time to savor dinner before the play. We took the only remaining open table. The menu offered a wide variety of choices, from soup and salad and sandwiches, to steak and seafood.
We were warned that the appetizer of “Oysters Three Ways” would take time to prepare since they had to shuck the oysters first. That sounded good so we decided the wait might be worth it and took the plunge. They had not yet “ironed out” their full wine list, so to accompany our wait we ordered a bottle of the house cabernet. It was pleasing enough, light on the palate, not memorable, but not bad. The dozen oysters materialized earlier than we expected: Haelen (with crabmeat, bacon and cheese), Diablo (with shrimp in a creamy and spicy sauce), and Rockefeller. All were nicely flavored but could have been cooked just a tad longer.
The Shrimp Diablo entrée caught my eye. Our waitress assured me it would not be too spicy. It arrived accompanied by a very fresh salad with delicious blue-cheese dressing. Served over rice, the many smallish shrimp were fresh and tender. The creamy sauce! It was excellent, reminiscent of a light etouffee with a touch of cilantro, and just at the edge of my heat tolerance level. It was so tasty that I used the grilled bread to soak up as much as possible. I recommend it and will have it again myself.
My friend cannot resist blackened snapper. He ordered his with a loaded baked potato, and they gave him green beans as well (plump and fresh). It also came with a generous salad. All were excellent per his assessment. The snapper was fresh and flavorful, but described as a bit dry.
Ambiance is so important. The place is lovely with a very effective transformation from long-closed clothing establishment to a trendy bar/restaurant. Both exterior walls are all glass so we enjoyed abundant early evening light. Interior colors are breathtaking. They could use some sound-deadening as the full room was quite the echo chamber. Staff were extremely personable and obliging even while quite busy due to a packed house.
It did take quite awhile to complete our dinner. But we enjoyed it. And we got to the play in plenty of time.