Pearl’s Oyster Bar has made me a believer in delicious, fresh, sustainably sourced seafood in Oklahoma City. Stop by for lunch, dinner, or weekend Champagne Brunch, and see for yourself!
This is a sponsored post. Our dining experience was hosted, but the opinions are all mine.
I grew up on the East coast, so I’ve had access to fresh seafood all my life. Moving to Oklahoma was culture shock in a number of ways, including the lack of fresh seafood. I actually refused to eat any seafood for the first year I lived here. After about a year I began to purchase frozen seafood from Sam’s Club, and a few years later discovered a fabulous fresh seafood restaurant & market in Tulsa. However, I’m still extremely selective about eating it at restaurants, because by the time the seafood makes it to these landlocked states, it isn’t nearly as fresh.
A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Pearl’s Oyster Bar in Oklahoma City. I had a great experience, took my parents a few months later when they flew into town for a visit, and then went one more time a few months after that. I haven’t been back since. It’s partly because my focus was new restaurants and recipes for the blog. And also, there are so many restaurants in OKC that I haven’t even been to yet. So when the opportunity arose to visit Pearl’s Oyster Bar again, I jumped at the chance.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar is part of the Pearl’s Restaurant Group, which also owns Trapper’s Fishcamp & Grill and Crabtown. All of the restaurants feature seafood and Cajun inspired dishes, and each restaurant has its own very unique atmosphere. Crabtown is in Bricktown, and has a casual, laid-back atmosphere. Trapper’s is in the airport corridor, near the OKC Fairgrounds, and has a very rustic, fishing lodge look. Pearl’s is the most upscale, but still retains a casual air.
All three restaurants are members of Keep It Local OK, a program that supports Oklahoma-owned businesses. You purchase a card for $15 annually, and earn discounts when you visit participating businesses. It’s easy to earn your money back and, most important, a great way to support locally owned businesses.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar opened in 1984, and is in the Western Ave/Nichols Hills area. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch
We arrived just before 6pm on a Tuesday and quickly realized that’s a great time, because there were only a few other occupied tables. On the other hand, it’s usually packed during peak hours. We considered sitting outside, but it was too hot. The manager offered us a booth, but I asked to sit near a window for better pictures.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar has a full menu, lunch specials, gluten free menu, kid’s menu, desserts & daily specials, and the very popular weekend Champagne Brunch. I don’t do well with large menus, and the Full Menu is just that. You can choose from such a wide variety of options, including fresh seafood, fried seafood, Cajun specialties, steaks and chops, and even sandwiches/sliders/tacos. Plus, bread comes to the table first.
As we perused the menu, the manager mentioned that Tuesday’s are Buck a Shuck…$1 per oyster. Reilly’s eyes literally lit up, and he quickly ordered a dozen oysters, fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, for us to share
You either love oysters, or you hate them. I’m that person: if I decide I don’t like something, I won’t even try it. For a long time I refused to try oysters, because of the texture. Friends finally convinced me to try them one night, and I quickly changed my tune. It still took me a little while to get past the texture, and they don’t look pretty, but they sure taste good. Fresh is the key to oysters…I once paid the price when I ate oysters that weren’t. These oysters are so delicious. The cocktail sauce has a nice, bold flavor, without being overwhelming. The horseradish has a kick, but it isn’t too powerful, and it works very well with the cocktail sauce. We seriously discussed returning every Tuesday.
We also decided to try the blackened scallops, one of the newest appetizers on the menu.
I usually buy large sea scallops, but these small scallops are perfect for an appetizer portion. The lightly fried scallops are amazing. The blackening spice adds a significant kick, as does the green chili sauce, but somehow when they mix together it’s not overpowering. The creamy scallops also help tone down the heat of the spice and sauce.
Reilly had a bowl of clam chowder and another dozen oysters for his entree. He said that we could share the oysters, but then proceeded to eat them all before we could help.
I didn’t try any of his soup, but he said it was delicious
Michele had the Peppered Ahi Tuna. All entrees come with your choice of 2 sides, so she had the mixed vegetables and squash Rockefeller
I grew up eating all protein well done, so I never ate tuna steaks. I have tried bites at a couple of restaurants, but I’m still too gun-shy to order an entire dish for myself. This perfectly seared Ahi tuna absolutely melted in my mouth. The tuna is pretty mild, and the pepper adds a wonderful bite. Michele got the sauces on the side, and in separate containers. She preferred the soy-ginger glaze. I dipped mine into both, and really enjoyed the mix of flavors.
We were all new to Squash Rockefeller, but I was glad Michele took the plunge so we could try it. Squash Rockefeller has a lot of flavor layers, and they work really well together. The Hollandaise sauce doesn’t smother the squash, and the combination of spinach and cheese is almost like a spinach artichoke dip. The Pearl’s Oyster Bar website even includes the recipe for their famous side dish! I will definitely be making this at home soon.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t do well with large menus. And then once I narrow down my choices I still have a really hard time making a decision. After a lot of back and forth, I decided on the Costa Rican Swordfish, another new item on the menu. For my sides, I did smoked gouda grits and a garden salad with Creole garlic dressing
I love that Pearl’s Oyster Bar uses red fried onions, which have a milder and sweeter bite than yellow. I always get dressing on the side, because so many restaurants drown the salad. After one taste of the dressing, I ended up using most of it on my salad.
The photo in the menu showed a thick cut of fish; unfortunately mine was thin, and it was also quite dry. Thankfully that was the only negative, and the swordfish was still delicious. Swordfish is a very mild fish, so the crab and creamy avocado add a wonderful contrast in flavor and texture. I dipped the swordfish into the wasabi aioli. Not only did it add another layer of flavor, it also made the fish more tender.
The smoked gouda grits are fabulous. I mean, grits, butter, cheese and bacon is basically a perfect combination. Gouda is a great melting cheese, and the more intense flavor of smoked gouda pairs well with the other ingredients.
We decided to share a dessert to end the evening. Pearl’s Oyster Bar offers 6 desserts, and we decided on Blackberry Cobbler
I’m not really a huge fan of blackberries because of the seeds, but I decided to be adventurous. Oh my goodness, I could have eaten the entire blackberry cobbler by myself. The hot cobbler, paired with the cold ice cream, is divine in each bite.
Michele and I planned to to return to Pearl’s Oyster Bar the following weekend for brunch, but unfortunately we weren’t able to make it. Not to worry, we will definitely get back there.
We definitely need to go back to Pearl’s Oyster Bar more often. The atmosphere and food make it one of the best restaurants in town.