Thursday, January 29, 2015

Old Schooled

Rediscover the lost art of oyster eating


Its time to kick it old school.
No, not this Old School.

More like smoking jackets and bow ties at Pearl Tavern, a downtown oyster bar that takes its cues from the days when you could smoke inside and there was nothing retro about vinyl.

Miss Mad Men? Pearl acts as a kind of preview for Season 7, with a sprawling marble bar below copper light fixtures hanging from an embossed ceiling. Sophistication abounds, as do scallops on the half shell with blood orange and sea salt, paired with champagne served in vintage coupe glasses. 

In addition to a daily selection for East and West Coast specimens, this shellfish sanctuary serves razor clams, mussels steamed in cider...and yes, something called a crab churro.

Best enjoyed in the comfort of the dining room tucked into a green velvet booth with a pretty young thing, shared plates range from grilled octopus over scallion caponata to peel ‘n’ eat shrimp with red remoulade.
Your go-to accessory for the night, after warming up with oysters and bubbly, will probably be one of the house cocktails. Try the La Perla (10 Cane rum, port, blueberries, lavender and lime) or the Angry Mermaid (Del Maguey mezcal, St. Germain, lime, and habanero syrup). This is a classy joint, so leave the beer for the sports bar and upgrade to wine by the glass instead.
As long as you're eating vintage, might as well drink vintage.

Pearl Tavern
180 N. Upper Wacker Dr., The Loop
(312) 629-1030

Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Subway: Blue, Green, Pink, Orange or Brown Line to Clark and Lake
Scene: Afterwork happy hour crews and chic seafood lovers
Best bets: Tuna poke; house mussles; lobster roll
Nearby: Primebar; Goodwin's; Caffe Bacci

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