|Ship's bow statue at Pearl's Oyster Bar|
With the help of 10,000 librarians attending their association's mid-winter meeting at the convention center Pearl's owner David Braunstein appears to have picked a good week for introducing the breakfast menu. By the time I left the market about 10 a.m. Saturday, nearly half of the restaurant's seats were occupied -- not bad considering Pearl's is only eclipsed by the Down Home Diner and Molly Malloy's in seating capacity.
Since taking over the business from his parents Braunstein (together with executive chef Jason Ledee) have made substantial tweaks to the menu. Most of the classics remain, though not the fried clams. The snapper soup is a good one: when I sampled it two weeks ago it had plenty of snapper meat, lots of traditional flavor, but none of the over-cornstarch gloppiness that detracts from some versions. The plate of a dozen Cape May Salts I tried were properly shucked with a minimum of broken shells and served with the classic mignonette sauce (hot sauce, lemon also available).
Amazingly, Pearl's offers buck-a-shuck oysters from 4 p.m. to closing on weekdays. Since Pearl's doesn't sell booze, it's hard to image Braunstein is making any money on the deal.