Pearl Dive is the newest of the Black Restaurant Group places and the first in Downtown (it's on 14th Street Restaurant Row in the Logan Circle neighborhood). We've written about B's love for Black's and our meal at BlackSalt. Pearl Dive has a more casual feel than Black's with about the same noise level and bustling bar scene as the boisterous BlackSalt.
Since Pearl Dive has "oyster" in the name, we had to start with an oyster dish. The waiter recommended the Tchoupitoulas hot oysters: a sinfully rich blend of oyster confit, blue crab, Tasso ham and roasted corn. If you don't like oysters, try this dish. It's a great foray into the oyster world and doesn't taste slimy in the least. I also like the name Tchoupitoulas. A few years ago, I went to New Orleans about a dozen times for work. The local guys I worked with (all Louisiana railroad men) taught me how to pronounce the name of Tchoupitoulas Street so I wouldn't sound like such a tourist (it's sort of like chop-it-too-luhs). They also swore that the locals call it "T-Chop" for short.
Pearl Dive set such a high bar for meals in 2013, I'm a little worried we're in for a let-down from here on out. Good thing it's a short trip over to 14th Street when I need my seafood fix.
Second Thoughts From B
Before I sat down to write this post I went back and read what I wrote about Pearl Dive's sister restaurants. I now have the problem of having nothing new to say.
I'll be the first to admit that my vocabulary (even when counting the words I make up) is not particularly impressive. And having to describe the consistent excellence of Jeff Black's dishes is becoming more than a little challenging. How many times can I say that his seafood creations are perfectly cooked, mouth-wateringly seasoned, delicate yet bold, balanced and thoughtful?
Ordering a dud for once might actually be refreshing. What can't this guy do? Next you're going to tell me that he's ruggedly handsome, married to a supermodel, is a scratch golfer and is solving the country's debt problem in his spare time. Is it possible to have a crush on a chef? I think I need an intervention.