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Black Pearl

I don't think Black Pearl is here any longer. And the Black Pearl in
Brooklyn is not related.(3/06)

People always seem to make a point of pointing out that Black Pearl is a
mini operation inside a dive bar, Julep. I don't get the big deal (though I
had the feeling it was the sort of place where you would get barged in on
while on the toilet, despite locking the door, and thats exactly what
happened). I have zero experience with authentic clam shacks, but I've never
been under the impression that theyre rarefied affairs. Ave. A might as well
be coastal Maine to me.

While waiting for my dinner date as I usually do (it doesnt matter how
late I try and force myself to be, I'm always the first to arrive with
friends and loved ones and inevitably sit solo like a doofus for long
stretches) I was entertained by an antsy wound-up waiter who reminded me of
the volatile death-obsessed mailroom clerk on Seinfeld who Elaine
accidentally promoted to creepy copywriter. The server wasn't scary,
however, he just liked to chat and had a mildly mercenary quality that I
prefer to read as passionate. His mention that his girlfriend preferred the
cod over the haddock forced me to ponder how she might possibly look, but I
didnt dwell too hard.

I don't think I'm a real New Yorker because I rarely eat out on
weeknights. But when I do, an urge for alcohol always hits. Strange, because
I never drink at home after work. Being half restaurant, half bar, I was
able to take advantage of the two-for-one special (twice). But the point
wasn't stumbling around the East Village, it was to get reasonably priced
lobster rolls and the like. I went for the clam roll, a simple bun bursting
at the seams with little breaded nuggets. Traditional tartar sauce, a
spicier diablo rendition and cocktail sauce were offered. It was diablo for
me, since I suspected the pinkish dip would make a fitting fry condiment in
a ketchup/mayo/mustard secret sauce vein. I was right, the fries, which
would be just as appropriate piled next to hanger steak or a bowl of
mussels, were fine naked, but the dip added fatty panache.

The only down side is my short term memory where battered, fried seafood
is concerned. Crispy, oily crustaceans, mollusks and finned creatures, while
delectable, always give me post-prandial trouble. Maybe its just best to
live in the moment, and worry potential stomach cramping and nausea later.

Black Pearl * 14 Ave. A, New York, NY

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