2005_06_food_blackpearlsign.jpgWe adore Pearl Oyster Bar. The raw bar, the fried oysters, and of course, the lobster roll. Several weeks ago, when we first heard of Black Pearl, a clam-shack-style window tucked into the back of the East Village bar Julep, we were intrigued. When we read the New York Times review, we knew we had to go immediately, if not sooner. The review described the lobster rolls as "the real deal. Top-loading hot dog buns are slathered with butter, crisped on the grill and filled with the meat from a Maine hard-shell eighth (a lobster weighing a pound and one-eighth) bound with as little mayonnaise as possible. No celery, no celery salt, no lettuce, no nothing." Now, lobster rolls, like most things culinary, are a matter of personal preference. Our ideal lobster roll has no mayo to speak of, just a drizzle of drawn butter, so we knew we had hit the jackpot.

2005_06_food_blkpearllobste.jpgJulep, in which Black Pearl is housed, is a great place in and of itself, with a kick-ass jukebox and a two for one beer special. But add plump Ipswich clams ($14.75) and tender Bluepoint oysters ($13.50) fried up perfectly, incredibly aromatic garlicky steamed mussels ($12.75), addictive french fries, and a lobster roll ($20) done up just to our liking, and we knew we were destined to make this a regular venue. Had we been seated at a table rather than at the bar, we might have taken advantage of the $14.95 Tuesday night lobster special. Never fear, we'll be back.

Patience is a virtue at Julep/Black Pearl, especially on lobster special night, when the wait might be over an hour, and the lone bartender takes a bit of time to make her way from one end of the bar to another, but after biting into our first fried oyster, we were willing to forgive and forget.

Black Pearl, 14 Avenue A (Houston Street), East Village, (212)358-7583.