The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Ann Arbor Rocks! (kinda) – Black Pearl

Both of the regular followers of this blog know that I occasionally like to give a shout out to places and events in Ann Arbor that rock, and an F-U to those that suck.  Here’s a quick list of ones I’ve covered…

–       Sava – Rocks

–       Dominick’s – Rocks

–       Vinology – Rocks

–       Thai restaurants – The whole Thai scene here sucks, one or two less than the others…

–       Common Grill – Sucks a big one

–       Produce Station – Rocks you like a hurricane

It’s been pretty easy to classify a place as one or the other, but I’m having trouble with Black Pearl, the seafood/martini place on Main Street.  Me and my buddy Beowulf have been there several times for cocktails and Boom Boom and I have been there a couple of times recently for food.   Overall, the results are mixed but indicators are leaning towards “Rocks!”   So, in fairness to the terrific staff and to you, gentle reader, I’ll lay out my observations and let you decide.  I guess the simple solution for situations like this is to create a third category called – Ann Arbor is Meh…  But who’d read that?


Black Pearl Rocks

–       Extensive bottled beer list – Outside of Ashley’s and maybe Bar Louie, they may have the biggest list in Ann Arbor with lots of smaller producers represented.  Word of caution – Don’t order the Brooklyn One.  You’ll get a severe beatdown if you drink it all and there’s none left for me.

–       Long list of specialty martinis – I’ve never had it, but any drink named after Freddie Mercury (muddled cucumber, apple vodka, elderflower) is perfectly fine by me.

–       Fish Tacos – no, not that kind you perv… These are the signature menu item and they are absolutely fantastic.  A little pricey, but fish and veggies are fresh and crisp, nicely seasoned.

–       Asian Beef Tips – Beef tenderloin with hoisin glaze

–       Occasional live music that’s NOT jazz.

–       Great bar scene and people watching – On weekends it’s a meat market for the over-50 set.

–       Great bar staff – especially Kat and Aaron.

–       Outdoor seating.


Black Pearl Sucks

–       Generally unimaginative menu.

–       $18 for the fish tacos that are made with tilapia.

–       $12 shrimp and guacamole is over-priced and bland

–       Crab rangoon.  That’s it, just crab rangoon.

–       On weekends it’s a meat market for the over-50 set.

–       It’s pretty dark in there, which I guess is needed so you don’t see all the wrinkles on the over-50 set.

–       If you’re not at an outdoor table, you’re sitting at the bar or at bar-type tables.

–       If you’re at an outdoor table, you may have to contend with the occasional pack of loud motorcycles cruising on Main like they’re super cool.

OK, that last one isn’t Black Pearl’s fault, but I had to stick in this complaint.  Seriously, there aren’t that many but enough to be noticed – probably 2-3 packs per hour.  I came thisclose to yelling, “GO BACK TO ROYAL OAK, DBAGS!”

Like I said, there’s more positives than negatives going for the place, but not enough to inspire a “Rocks!”.  You decide.

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

4 comments on “Ann Arbor Rocks! (kinda) – Black Pearl

  1. Max Doinel
    September 14, 2011

    Well, let’s put it this way: I was more intrigued about Vinology than I was about Black Pearl. Actually, I’m curious about a possible rocks/sucks evaluations of Pacific Rim and Logan.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 14, 2011

      Are you buying? I can tell you right away Pacific Rim is enthusiastic Rocks! I only went to Logan once back in late 05, so I really need to revisit. Based on my faint memory of it, I’d have to say “sucks” because i thought it was an $80 meal for two and I paid $140. That may be unfair b/c we had just moved from Chicago…

  2. The Sicilian
    September 14, 2011

    Pacific Rim rocks/sucks for me. Have had amazing things there that were prepared entirely different (and not as good) the next time.

    I really do like Pacific Rim’s fish tacos. Want to make at home. Remembering–red bell peppers, red onion, probably a rice wine/sesame oil vinaigrette? Cilantro? Cabbage?

  3. The Sicilian
    September 14, 2011

    I mean Black Pearl’s fish tacos…

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This entry was posted on September 14, 2011 by in Ann Arbor, Dining and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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