Pearl Tavern in the Loop just debuted a new fall menu, and hosted a lovely menu preview for myself and some other fabulous Chicago food bloggers. Actually, to be fair, it was technically an oyster shucking party, where we got to learn all about oysters. For example, did you know that fall is when they are in season? Most people associate oysters with summer, but they are actually perfectly in season during the fall months.
Chef Frank Valdez has incorporated some new dishes into both the lunch and dinner menus, as well as made some autumnal edits to some classic dishes, to reflect the delicious flavors of fall.
A lovely server, who is also an oyster-shucking extraordinaire, gave a demonstration on how to properly shuck an oyster. She made it look so easy. Then she invited some bloggers to come and try to shuck oysters themselves!
Chef was walking around and chatting with guests as he explained some of the fall menu items being served that evening. Short Rib chili was one of the dishes, and it was absolutely delicious. It is the perfect dish to warm you up for the cold winter months that are inevitably ahead.
The shrimp and orzo salad is a dish I had had at Pearl Tavern before, but Chef has incorporated some new flavors into the dish, like Granny Smith apples and toasted almonds. There was a sage dressing that was such a great reflection of fall flavors; I really enjoyed it.
However, my favorite new addition to the menu, hands down, are the lobster empanadas. I mean it is almost impossible to not love something made with lobster, but these are unreal. They are stuffed with loads of fresh lobster meat, and they have an added kick of spice. With a side of dipping sauce, these empanadas are a dish I will be craving indefinitely.
What’s a good event without some cocktails? On hand Pearl had two of their signature cocktails: the Angry Mermaid and the Dirty Pearl. The Dirty Pearl is truth be told, one of my favorite cocktails ever, and I won’t disclose on how many occasions I have made a trip to Pearl Tavern just to have one. It is a stiff dirty martini, with the extra saltiness from an added oyster; served up—it is literally amazing.
I had never had the Angry Mermaid before, but I enjoyed that too. Made with Mezcal, it is smoky, and has added spice from a habanero syrup—sweet and spicy, two of my favorite flavors combinations.
Pearl is so cute and I am always delighted when I am asked to attend an event there. Even before blogging, I have long loved Pearl; my husband and I have actually celebrated two anniversaries there. It is a cute spot with an even cuter patio. Now with these awesome autumnal dishes, there’s even more of a reason to get there before the seasonal menu vanishes.