100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Critic’s Rating:


A selection of oysters at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace in DC's Logan Circle. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

There are plenty of places around town where you can eat like a
frat boy, counting “fried” and “butter-drenched” as the only food groups.
Jeff and Barbara Black’s folksy Logan Circle fish house is one of the few
worth the calories. That’s not to say it’s all about the fried chicken or
fabulously messy barbecue shrimp with baguette.

There’s a terrific array of oysters—have them on the half shell
or order a round wrapped in bacon and drizzled with vinegar reduction.
Hour-plus waits are common—the restaurant doesn’t take reservations after
6:30—but if you can squeeze into the bar, you’ll be rewarded with strong
cocktails and, from 4 to 7 on weekdays, two-for-the-price-of-one oysters
and $5 glasses of wine. Don’t miss: Grilled oysters with
chili butter and gremolata; a ceviche-like mix of seafood in salsa;
seafood or duck-and-oyster gumbo; fried-oyster po’ boy; fried-shrimp
dinner; pecan pie; apple pie; Bardstown Derby cocktail, with bourbon,
grapefruit, and honey. Open: Monday through Thursday for dinner, Friday
through Sunday for brunch and dinner.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.