Serving dinner seven days a week, lunch Monday to Friday, and Sunday brunch, Pearl Diver opened quietly this past summer on 100 Adelaide Street East. Although there wasn't too much buzz about the raw bar back then, the restaurant has been making a name for itself lately with its 100 oysters for $100 Thursday nights. Hmmmm I wonder how many oysters I can eat in one sitting? I feel the need to find out now. Right now.
While Pearl Diver (Twitter: @PearlDiverTO, Facebook: Pearl Diver) is a seafood-focused spot, their menu also offers numerous non-seafood items. The kitchen is headed by chefs Tom Malycha and Martin Zechel, who ensured that there's a balance of menu choices that appeal to both seafood lovers and meat lovers, with meat options like dry-aged beef burgers, PEI Rib Eyes, Ontario hanger steaks, and pork side ribs. I think this is fantastic because there were times when after indulging on a bunch of delicious oysters and clams at a seafood restaurant I found myself craving red meat - it's like my carnivorous side decided to suddenly emerge out of its shell right at that moment. It doesn't happen every single time but nevertheless, Pearl Diver gets a thumbs-up from me when it comes to that.
Not many of you may know but Pearl Diver has a sister restaurant in Beijing, China, called C Pearl. The eatery specializes in oysters and has been opened since Fall 2014.
I dropped by Pearl Diver for Sunday brunch and ordered my favourite brunch cocktail right away. This one has a clam garnish. Yum!
PD CAESAR ($14)
Dulse rimmed glass, fresh Horseradish & Quahaug clam
I ordered three brunch plates:
SMOKED NEW BRUNSWICK STURGEON BENNY WITH BABY ARUGULA & PRESERVED LEMON ($15)
OYSTER BENNY WITH PANKO CRUSTED BC OYSTERS ($18)
PANKO FRIED BC OYSTER OMELETTE WITH HOMEFRIES & TOAST ($15)
A cross section to show the oysters in the omelette :)
Classic brunch with a seafood twist. Pearl Diver is an excellent spot if you're looking for traditional brunch items but with seafood added (local, ethical and sustainable seafood at that). My favourite was the Oyster Benny with Panko Crusted BC Oysters, which had a buttery-smooth hollandaise and snow-white, perfectly-shaped poached eggs, all on top of crispy fried oysters and served with crusty brown home fries, salad, and slices of fruit. Delicious. I also enjoyed the Panko Crusted BC Oyster Omelette but because there wasn't enough oysters for the amount of eggs used, I got a lot of bites with just egg (I think the it would've been better if there were other ingredients besides oysters in the omelette, just to avoid bites of plain egg). Haha, can you tell that I LOVE oysters?! And while the smoked sturgeon in the other benny had great flavour it was a bit dry and tough for my liking; I much prefer smoked salmon that's usually soft and moist.
Since I'm more about dinners than brunch, I'm really curious to see how dinner at Pearl Diver looks like, and of course, find out many raw oysters I can eat! For those who prefer some of their seafood cooked and varied, the restaurant also has Seafood Circus towers at 1/3rd of the price every Tuesday evening (which works out to be $28.88). The towers include oysters, clams, shrimp, crab legs and other seasonal seafood.
*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*