seafood part of what's officially called the Black Pearl Seafood & Martini Bar-but early on, its accent was more on the bar. One step into the long, narrow room and there was no doubt: this is definitely a bar. I'm starting to think of its creator, John Janviriya, as the Christopher Nolan of restaurant design: Janviriya creates these dark and moody spaces-cereb..."/>
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Thursday February 11, 2016
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The Black Pearl

 

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We went back a few weeks later to actually try the food. Drinks-for me, a glass chosen from a short, dull, uninformative wine list; for my friends, fancy martinis like the "pearcicle" with pear vodka and elderflower liqueur-carried us through till the appetizers arrived. We'd ordered a few starters to split, which, unfortunately for our table of four, came mostly in groupings of three. The garlic shrimp were plump and perfectly sautéed but had just the barest trace of garlic flavor. The oysters in the bacony oysters Rockefeller were overpowered by lumpy lardoons and a shaggy coat of spinach covered with a hardened clump of Parmesan. The simple raw oysters were good-fresh and slippery-although I wish our server had been able to supply us with more information about what varieties we were getting (according to the menu, the trio consists of one Chesapeake and two "rotating oysters"). That $7 cone of french fries was a generous portion, but the standardized potatoes didn't distinguish themselves enough to be featured as a separate appetizer.

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