By now, you probably know a lot about Pearl Dive Oyster Palace. It’s got some of the freshest oysters around (Hank’s, we still love you too), it dishes damn-near authentic southern creole food, and it houses one of the coolest bars to drink at in the 14th Street area (its sister bar, Blackjack).
So, I won’t try to convince you to go to Pearl Dive by telling you the food is delicious. I won’t try to convince you that the single best hangover dish in DC is a C.E.B.L.T po’boy (Fried catfish, a runny fried egg, crispy Benton’s bacon, lettuce, and tomato, all on toasted bread).
Instead, I present my two tailored meal plans at Pearl Dive: one for those with a sensitive stomach, who may not be able to handle a bowl of gumbo and fried oysters without spending the rest of the night on the bathroom floor, and one for the diner on a budget (I’m talking to you, hill staffers).
Meal A: The Non Gut-Busting, Non Fart-Inducing, Weak Stomach Meal
- Drink: Fleur 75. Light, fruity, spritzy, and overall a delightful start to a meal. Unlike beer, this won’t leave you bloated and gassy (your significant other will thank you).
- Appetizer: Local butter lettuce salad. The theme here is non-fried and light fare. Apples, blue cheese, and pecans are a perfect pairing.
- Entrée: Wood grilled bass. The Blacks (owners of Pearl Dive, Black’s, Addie’s, Black Market, and Black Salt) know how to do seafood right. You can’t go wrong with a grilled piece of fish from any of their restaurants.
- Dessert: Florida key lime pie. This is a must-have. You will go home satisfied (and feeling fine).
Meal B: The Broke as a Joke, But Still Trying to Eat Out All the Time Meal
Note: Pearl Dive isn’t actually all that expensive. In fact, it’s quite affordable. But let’s just say you got too drunk at the bar, spent $100 on a girl who promptly left with her girlfriends, and then did some retail therapy. I’d go with the following.
- Drink: Microbew. I suggest Abita Amber Ale for an authentic New Orleans experience. It also pairs really well with greasy, fried foods.
- Appetizer: Cornmeal-crusted Chesapeake oysters. Only $9 for five oysters full of Andouille sausage and sweet potato hash. Food coma set to commence in t-minus.
- Entrée: Oyster po’boy. Where y’at? This is the best dish on the menu (IMHO) and the cheapest entrée (only $13). Those two things rarely combine at most restaurants.
- Dessert: Are you kidding? If you happen to have room for dessert after all of that, get the Brazos River Bottom pecan pie for two. A La Mode, of course.
Insider Tip: Pearl Dive doesn’t officially accept reservations. However, if you identify yourself as a “Logan Circle resident” exceptions are known to be made.
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace: The Details
Where Am I Going: 1612 14th Street NW (Between Q and Corcoran)
When Am I Going: Dinner: Monday to Sunday, 5 to 11 pm; Brunch: Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm. Lunch: Friday and Saturday only, noon to 3 pm. Happy Hour drink and food specials offered Monday to Friday, 4 to 7 pm.
Paycheck Pain: Appetizers around $8 to $11. Sandwiches priced at about $13. Main entrees cost $19 to $25.
Say What?: The restaurant is small and tables are fairly close together. Expect a wait and very loud atmosphere. Outdoor bar or upstairs at Blackjack are good spots to wait for your table (they will text you when your table is ready).
What You’ll Be Eating: Seafood-centric southern creole food (think New Orleans).