The latest Gardener Guides gathering took place at Pearlz Oyster and Raw Bar in the Vista. For an after work destination, our team knew we wanted someplace casual enough where we could relax and grab a cold beer, yet exceptional enough to find high quality food. As everyone who’s been to Pearlz’ happy hour, you know it definitely fit the bill.
It was clear from the menu that as a group of seafood lovers, we would all find something we would enjoy. Pearlz’ seafood is not only some of the freshest in town, but has a menu curated with an imaginative and eclectic assortment of dishes. Selection of local, seasonal shellfish for the raw bar crowd? Check. Variety of regional and low country delicacies? Check. First-rate happy hour menu with an assemblage of small bites that pair well with any of Pearlz’ beers and cocktails? Check!
Since it was the first time at Pearlz for a few in the group, our friendly waitress was extra helpful in assisting with our order. We chose options from both the Happy Hour and Main menus: Warm Crab Dip, Grilled Mahi Taco, Southern Fried Oysters and Peel & Eat Jumbo Shrimp. Since this was also a few of the Gardener gals’ first time eating fried oysters, the oyster lovers in the group were hoping to have the lion’s share to themselves. Unfortunately for them, the fried oyster novices (Tina and Miriam) enjoyed them immensely, and so we were all forced to share the deliciously seasoned, crunchy oysters, bleu cheese, celery, and buffalo sauce. All of us were impressed with the Peel & Eat Jumbo Shrimp. Miriam declared that they were the biggest shrimp she’d ever eaten! The oxymoronic crustaceans (JUMBO shrimp) were perfectly prepared in their beer boil, spicy with Old Bay, and were so good that a second order of another half pound was warranted (and we probably could have even tackled a third!). The Grilled Mahi Taco, one of the healthier options we chose, tasted fresh and summer-like in tandem with with the crispy cabbage, pico de gallo, and Mexican crema. Finally, the Warm Crab Dip with spinach and bacon appetizer (Carmen: “the winner”) gave us all a wonderful excuse to fill our bellies with warm, grilled flatbread.
The lights dimmed inside Pearlz, perfectly lending to the laid back and casual mood of the cocktail hour crowd. We were comfortable, sated, yet still eating and discussing what we would most like to return and try. We’d seen and smelled other dishes coming out
of the kitchen, like the Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp and Grits, and Tuna Burger, and became inspired to make another trek to Pearlz, another day. The food, drinks, prices, ambiance and amiable staff made Pearlz the perfect place to unwind after work and to meet up with friends. Next time we’ll make a night of it, with a visit to the Upstairz Lounge for some live local jazz and blues music, and maybe even walk next door to their sister restaurant, Kaminsky’s, for one of their signature desserts and sweet drinks. Until next time!
Address: 930 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201
Monday – Thursday: 4pm until 12am
Friday: 4pm until 2am
Saturday: 12pm until 2am
Sunday: 12pm until 12am
Phone Number: 803.661.7741
Check out their Facebook Page
Wanna join us on our next one? Every other Tuesday our office gets together to try out a new or tried & true restaurant in Greater Columbia for adult beverages and appetizers….it’s a great way to relax and enjoy each other outside the office. Join us! Send us your email address…we’d love to meet you and get your take on the dishes & drinks you choose to order. Send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org