Praise Poseidon, Edmonton’s seafood drought is over! The Black Pearl Seafood Bar, owned and run by the offspring of Guisuppe Crudo of the much-respected Cafe Amore, recently opened its doors downtown on 104 Street.
The interior is unlike anything in Edmonton and the Crudos took a chance in going with a nautical theme, because, one fish net too many, and people will expect all-you-can-eat popcorn shrimp and paper pirate hats for birthday parties. The Black Pearl, thankfully, borders more along the lines of ‘seafaring-chic’.
Speaking of the bar, it is—for the sake of brevity and for lack of a better description—great: great spirits, great ingredients, great cocktails, great service. It is hard to stop at just one cocktail but a few days ago I tried the Four Thieves, a blend of Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and egg whites and sage-infused simple syrup.
But, seafood is the topic du jour, so let’s dig in.
The Crudos are choosy when it comes to ingredients and fly in fresh product from Canadian waters. Oyster lovers will be happy to see that five oysters are on offer right now: Malpeque and Beau Soleil from the east coast; Denman Island, New Scona and Cortes from the west. Eat ’em raw, as nature intended, or have them baked in the shell with arugula, sambuca cream, scallions and Grana Padano cheese.
The big bowl of King Crab and a gingery, peppercorn cream linguine is a hefty $38, but will serve two to three people. And, by the way, all dishes are meant to be shared tapas-style.
The lightly breaded, wokked squid hit all the right notes with garlic, chilies, ginger and scallions.
Tres Carnales rules when it comes to authentic Mexican tacos in Edmonton, but the Black Pearl offers some note-worthy tacos of their own. Here, grilled soft shells are filled with plump sweet prawns dressed in a barbecue jerk sauce and placed over a heaping handful of lettuce and roasted corn.
Expect the menu to change depending on product availability. Expect the service to stay the same—warm, welcoming, knowledgeable and accommodating.
You can find the audio link to my review here in Caitlin Hanson’s recap of my CBC on-air session.