Seafood is one of the great loves of my life.
Regardless of whether it swims, crawls, slithers, or burrows through driftwood and old-timey nautical vessels, if it came from the ocean, I’ll probably eat it.
My unhealthy obsession with mollusks aside, it’s no surprise that Cafe Amore’s new seafood bar – The Black Pearl caught my eye.
Before we get too far into the review, however, we need to set a few things straight.
The Black Pearl is NOT a restaurant.
Well… If you’re going by the Merriam Webster definition of:
“a place where you can buy and eat a meal”
then it might scrape by, but for all intents and purposes, The Black Pearl is a Seafood Bar.
As in it serves seafood and drinks.
The food is intended to be more of a drinking snack as opposed to a full on meal.
With this in mind, lets talk Edmontonian seafood!
Upon arriving at the restaurant, I was immediately disappointed by the fact that the restaurant was NOT Pirates of the Caribbean themed.
To be fair, the restaurant was very nautical themed, and had sort of a driftwood/random seafaring shit-themed look to it.
It was honestly like someone with a flimsy grasp of what a boat looked like was blindfolded and asked to design the restaurant using only his sense of touch.
To add to the atmosphere, the restaurant was incredibly narrow, with the only windows being close to the front of the restaurant. Combined with an apparent shortage of lightbulbs, the back of the restaurant was dark as all hell by mid-afternoon.
Whether this was intentional, and the enterprising restaurateurs just wanted to simulate the feel of the being in a lightless pit at the bottom of the goddamned ocean, we’ll never know.
To top this all off, the wait staff weren’t even dressed in period appropriate attire. Not a single rubber boot, pipe or captains jacket was to be seen.
Instead the staff wore jeans and black T-shirts with vaguely suggestive sea-food themed messages.
I’m not going to go any further with this, they just used the word “shuck” rather creatively.
And the food?
Well I ordered the Jerk Crab, and my companion ordered the chopped tuna mash thing.
I forgot to take a picture of the menu, and they don’t have a website.
We were warned beforehand that the portions would be exactly as described on the menu, and did not come with sides or carbs.
Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.
The crab was cooked in a spicy jerk-seasoning cream sauce and was delicious. There was a noticeable kick to the sauce and I think I got a hint of coconut milk or cream to tone down the heat and mellow out the flavors.
Think Laksa but with jerk spices instead of Chinese/Malay seasoning.
The tuna was decent, but nothing spectacular. It tasted strongly of lemon, to the point where the fish was almost an afterthought, and had no other defining traits.
It came with over olive-oiled and under toasted croutons as well as these strange tiny red peppers.
While the peppers added a bit of color to the plate, they added nothing to the dish and often overpowered the fish and the lemon.
Since neither of us were actually full from our respective bar-snacks, we decided to get the dessert.
Dessert, for that day, happened to be a Kraken spiced rum flambéed bananas foster.
We were served exactly that.
To give them credit, the bananas were cooked perfectly. Slightly caramelized and laying in a pool of rum and butter sauce, you couldn’t really ask for a better example of bananas foster.
It also came with a somewhat artistic smear of something red and sour. My memory fails me but I’m certain it’s some sort of reduced berry concoction. It was overly sour and shouldn’t have been on the plate.
It’s times like these where the chef needs to take a step back and taste his goddamned food. Too many times, you’ll have little smudges of random sauce or spurts of balsamic ruining an otherwise good dish.
- The crab
- The drink menu
- The tuna
- The lighting
- The decor
- The tacky-ass t-shirts
- The lack of Pirates of the Caribbean themed decorations
- The fact that I spent $15 on a fucking banana
That pretty much sums this place up.
The food is decent, the seafood is fresh, the drinks are good, and you can pay a large premium to have people draw shit on your food with sauce.
But hey, Edmontonian haute cuisine right?