9.20.2011

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace


A painted lady greets guests at Black Jack.
Photos by Andrew Lightman



After sitting empty for entirely too long, the space at 1612 14th St. NW is now home to the newest project from Jeff and Barbara Black: a casual seafood joint dubbed Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and an upstairs bar named Black Jack.

The Black's eponymous restaurant group includes BlackSalt, Black Market Bistro, Black's Bar and Kitchen and Addie's. Jeff Black told me last fall he's been watching the Logan Circle neighborhood for some time. "I love the vibe," he said. "It's a very dynamic neighborhood. I just leapt at it" when the opportunity to take the space came up.



The completely revamped space looks great — the 78-seat Pearl Dive on the first floor is light and airy and makes use of plenty of reclaimed materials. A large arched window in the front that can open cleverly connects the bar with the outside patio.

A sampling of Pearl Dive's menu: oysters Rockefeller, oyster and duck gumbo, crawfish ravioli, and wood-grilled Gulf redfish with stone-ground grits. There's also fried chicken and seafood dinners, served with greens, dirty rice and slaw, priced from $13-$19.

Take the stairs up to Black Jack, where the space transforms into a spacious bar channeling a vintage carnival with thick red velvet drapes, retro lighted signs, dark walls and a tattooed lady (can you spot the Black Jack tattoo?). And people have been buzzing about Black Jack's indoor bocce courts with elevated seating for spectators.

"We're trying to give it a fun whimsical atmosphere," Black says.

Black Jack serves its own menu of pizza, sandwiches and salads. Regular specials include taco night on Wednesdays and chicken fried steak on Thursdays.

The cocktail lists for both spaces were created by brothers Ari and Micah Wilder, who are locally creating their own gomme syrups, smoked peach ice and tonics. I snuck in to sample an elegant sparkling wine cocktail scented with thyme.

Pearl Dive's hours will include lunch Friday and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner Monday through Thursday 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 to midnight and Sunday 5 to 11 p.m.
 
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack
1612 14th St. NW
202.989.5225

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