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Sea Salt vs. Pearl Oyster Bar

w
whw Jul 21, 2006 09:02 PM

Would like to take friends to one of these restaurants and we haven't been to either. The quality of the food is the most important consideration for us. Which place has better food? Please help.

  1. Robert Lauriston Jul 21, 2006 09:14 PM

    Both use first-rate ingredients and prepare them with skill.

    The styles are completely different. Sea Salt does a somewhat modern version of classic East Coast seafood-shack standards in a simple cafe atmosphere, I like it a lot. Pearl does Asian fusion, feels more like a bar than a restaurant.

    http://www.seasaltrestaurant.com/menu/
    http://www.pearloncollege.com/menu

    1. d
      DavidB Jul 21, 2006 10:08 PM

      Having been to both on several occasions, I would have to agree with the previous poster. The differences to me were:

      1) Sea Salt is more of a casual neighborhood environment and the food is very simple and good this way.

      2) Pearl Oyster Bar was very trendy and unique, most of the food is small plates. IT was excellent as well.

      3) PEarl oyster bar is much more expensive

      4) You would require reservations to get ino Pearl while Sea Salt is all walk in (except for parties of 6 or more) and waits are rarely long.

      So, in review, both places are great. You will get more innovative food at PEarl and more homey food at Sea Salt. Pearl is more expensive and harder to get seats in, and ther's more of a trendy sceene there.

      It depends on what you are looking for. Hope this helps.

      1. c
        Cheesy Oysters Jul 21, 2006 10:37 PM

        I love Sea Salt and think Pearl is OK. Sea Salt has really good fish and seafood, sides and so on. It's more of a sit down spot. Pearl is good for drinks and appetizers although they do have large plates as well as small ones. As for Pearl, they make cocktails but with sake because I don't think they have a liqour license. Neither does Sea Salt, but they don't offer drinks other than wine, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks. I would say Sea Salt wins on better food and an overall dining experience.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cheesy Oysters
          Robert Lauriston Jul 21, 2006 10:57 PM

          Pearl never got its full liquor license?

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            c
            Cheesy Oysters Jul 21, 2006 11:16 PM

            Well not the last time I was there--that was a number of months ago and that could have changed by now--hopefully!

          2. re: Cheesy Oysters
            k
            kevin Jul 21, 2006 11:59 PM

            They probably have a beer and wine license though, right?

            1. re: kevin
              Robert Lauriston Jul 22, 2006 01:50 AM

              Yes, definitely.

          3. b
            berkeleypie Jul 21, 2006 11:59 PM

            We were there last evening- they had a fully stocked bar.
            We walked in without a reservation and were seated within 10 minutes and could have been seated immediately at the bar. So maybe that initial hyper buzz is fading somewhat..Great spicy tuna poke and seared scallops on a polenta cake with sweet corn emulsion and some sort of smokey tasting roe...
            Funny thing is that we were going to go to Sea Salt (which I prefer) but decided to "spare the air" and go somewhere that we could walk to.
            Both are nice places and you won't go wrong with either.

            1. y
              yamada3 Jul 22, 2006 01:40 AM

              I used to go to Pearl a lot, but found that it was only good two out of three dinners. I had a particularly bad dinner there once, where everything was super salty and after $150 for two people, we had to go across the street to Oliveto since we were both starving. That was maybe six months ago, and I haven't been back.

              Their best assest were the oysters when I used to go there. The fusion cooked food tends to try to hard for my Japanese taste. It often feels like there is one ingredient that should be left out for a cleaner, fresher, more unified taste.

              With that said, I did really like it there before my last bad experience - although I think the food had a sharper edge to it when it first opened.

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