Quickly after Pearl Dive Oyster Palace opened in 2011, restaurateurs Jeff and Barbara Black’s fifth restaurant became the Delta prize of Logan Circle. And it’s not hard to see why: Weathered wood floors, busy fans hung from whitewashed ceilings, too many mermaids to count, and a thick, coiled rope chandelier make up just some of the décor. When the weather’s nice, the building’s old garage door by the bar can be flung open, allowing drinks and light fare to be enjoyed curbside. (A little secret: When the garage is open, it’s a nice spot to grab a quick beer and order a bucket of fried chicken to go.)
Pearl Dive has a menu that really struts its Gulf Coast roots. The Blacks hail from the South and were some of the first restaurateurs to tap into Washington’s bivalve addiction. Pearl Dive offers a variety of both East and West coast oysters, all of which come expertly shucked (read: you won’t mistakenly find any shell fragments in your mouth) and served with a cilantro-jalapeño “dive sauce.” For a real treat, ask for a list of the premium oysters available. Corn muffins that accompany the complimentary bread basket are perfect for soaking up the belly-warming seafood gumbo, which is loaded with oysters, Louisiana shrimp, local crab, Tasso ham, okra and more. But perhaps Pearl Dive’s most popular dish is its messiest: the C.E.B.L.T. po-boy—a B.L.T. dressed with a lightly battered-and-fried catfish and an ooey-gooey egg served between two slices of toasted French bread. Order it, just not on a first date.