The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Pearl Oyster Bar and The Spotted Pig



Kathy and I make our way through the West Village to the dimly lit Blue Ribbon Bakery and attempted to squeeze inside.

"Too many humans."


"And the wait is 45 minutes."

"Mm...screw that."

Alas, I'll have to try Blue Ribbon Bakery another time. Where to now?

We roamed. And roamed. And stopped! ...And continued roaming. Lather, rinse, repeat. At some point I remembered that I wanted to try Pearl Oyster Bar for their legendary lobster roll, despite that I never eat lobster out of being indifferent to the taste. But when you want something, you want something. Like giant crustaceans. They're hot.

Pearl Oyster Bar

We were seated in about 25 minutes. While we thought we asked for a table, they didn't have any left. The bar was fine for dinner though and it gave us a clearn view to spy on other people if we so desired. A hypothetical conversation could go like this:

"Look, those people are eating oysters."


Okay, not very exciting.

We looked at the menu, despite knowing what we both wanted: the soft innards of lobsters, chopped up and coated in mayonnaise, then stuffed into a bun sauteed in butter. Yeah.

lobster roll
lobster roll

Our bulging lobster rolls came with piles of golden shoestring fries. I dug into the fries first since it was obvious how to eat them: pick up, stuff into mouth. The lobster roll eating method was less obvious. Why? Well...

lobster close up
lobster close up

Even though the lobster roll is basically a sandwich, it's not the kind of sandwich you can eat with your hands, unless you want to get mayo all over yourself (and hey, maybe you do for some weeeeiiird reason I'd rather not know about). After attempting to lift the roll with my hands, I realized that the fork and knife existed for a reason. Fork goes into pile of chopped meat and knife aids the fork in cutting the bread into bite-sized portions. Oooh...I'm a quick one.

As I'm not very familiar with lobster, I can't rate it with any authority. I thought it tasted great. It was tender, not tough like some other lobster I've had, and while you'd think that mayo would taste heavy and heart clogging, this tasted light and possible un-heart clogging. THIS MAYO REVERSES HEART DISEASE!...just kidding. The roll fulfilled the heart clogging portion of the meal; this was one of the best buns I had ever eaten, or perhaps the best. The botton was slightly crispy and exploded with butter. EXPLODED. YES. I don't know how much or what kind of butter they used, but it was rigged with fat bombs. Tasty fat bombs.

final price
final price

I don't think I've ever spent $22+ on a single entree, but there's a first time for everything. From the mind of a cheapo, I'd say that this is worth $22 and I wouldn't oppose to eating it again. Granted, I have nothing to compare it to since I've never had a lobster roll before, but I have a feeling I won't like other ones as much after having eaten this one. (If you're wondering, I do intend to try more lobster rolls at some point for the sake, increasing my sensory detail bank of lobster roll memories.) After polishing off our lobster rolls, Kathy and I agreed that it didn't feel heavy at all; despite eating gigantic wheaty buns of meat, our stomachs felt un-full enough so that we could embark on a dessert hunt that night.


The next day, I met up with Tokyo and some of his friends for lunch at The Spotted Pig in the West Village. I've heard plenty about the restaurant, although I don't know why. ...Well, okay, it's probably the Mario Batalli reference (he's a partner in the restaurant, methinks), and the good reviews I've read. I'd never think of going to a gastro-pub that specializes in British and Italian food if someone else didn't suggest it, so I'm really glad someone else did.

alcohol pigs
downstairs, upstairs

After waiting about 30 minutes at 1PM, we were finally seated at a casual bench-like table on the second floor. By the way, if you look at these photos, there are lots of...pigs, spotted and not.

bar snacks
bar snacks

They even smile at you while you pluck roasted almonds and marinated olives from their concave porcelain bellies. Aw, so cute!...but is it really? THERE ARE A LOT OF PIGS AND THEY ARE EVERYWHERE YOU GO, FOREVER STARING INTO YOUR SOUL. If you are swine-phobic, you should stay away from this place.


Thankfully, I am not swine phobic. Or burger phobic. Or else I'd run away screaming from this formerly mooing behemoth.

mmm, burger
mm, burger

Cheese. Meat. Bread. No extras, no silly vegetables or condiments; it's just about juicy pink meat, strong, melted Roquefort cheese, and substantial grilled bun. While everyone else (at our table of four, there were three hamburger orders) seemed to think that the cheese was too much, I ...agreed, but also really liked the cheesy punch that came with the beef. THE CHEESE--IT PUNCHES. If you don't like your punchy cheese, then just give it to me. I think everyone else would've liked their burgers cooked longer, but I actually liked this stage of pseudo-meat-coagulation. What does that say about me? I like risking food-borne illness?

oh jeez
oh jeez

Um. Uhhh. Contrary to what you see in the photo above, if I may redeem myself, I didn't actually eat the whole thing; Tokyo and I split the "Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestrings" and "Sheep's Ricotta Gnudi with Sage & Brown Butter". People who like to share food for the sake of trying twice as many things are totally awesome. However, I did eat the bulk of the shoestring fries, which while too flimsy to eat one at a time turned out to be addictively delicious when shoveled in one's mouth by the forkful. I adopted the "fork shoveling" method to eat every morsel of fries + onion + rosemary + fatty goodness. It's no wonder why people get the fries as a side dish that resembles a large haystack...OF UBER FRIED POTATO DELICIOUSNESS.

plops! gnudi

Oh yeah, the gnudi. I had no idea what gnudi was, but apparently it gets compared to gnocchi a lot. Gnocchi, I have had!...once. I found these sheep's milk ricotta gnudi to resemble ravioli more than gnocchi since they were little cheese balls wrapped in dough. Really nice, spherical cheese thinly wrapped in dough. These delicate little buggers were like the anthithesis to the hulking burger that made up half of my meal. Still yummy, of course.


I liked the burger better, but you can't really compare the two. The gnudi were good. Or was good. The gnudis? The wuhwuh? Can I call em gnuds, cos I'd really like to? I enjoyed the dish and I'm sure this is good gnudi, but it's not something I'd choose to eat again. TOO DAINTY. NOT ENOUGH...CHEESE-SLATHERED RAW COW OOZING IN ITS OWN JUICES. Come on, how could I not be taken over by hamburger lust while eating a table with three plates of hamburgers? HOW?

Um, so that was an indulgent lunch. I think the final bill was about $20 per person. Or less. ...Maybe it was less. I really liked the burger and the fries. As for whether I'd return to the Spotted Pig, I don't think I have any reason to, but I wouldn't object to eating the burger again if my friends wanted to try it out. Damn. Burgers. They're...they're tasty. But only the good ones. I think I'm getting to the point where I'll cry (inside) if I eat a flat, overcooked, dry hamburger patty slapped between two plain, weak, cold, boring buns. Choose wisely, I must. (Talk like Yoda, I should not.)

I think my arm got fatter. ...No, not in the past second, but in the past few days. Sure, I don't have a subcutaneous fat testing device on me, but...*squish squosh*, skin isn't supposed to do that, unless you're a whale. And even then, it probably isn't supposed to do that. Well. This is a problem.

*squish squosh*

...Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP! Maybe I should just wear long sleeved shirts. Yes, that'll make the problems go away.


Melody / March 13, 2006 6:52 AM

Are you sure the gnudi were actually covered in dough and it wasn't just kind of like a cooked-cheese-skin or something? You were right with your association to ravioli, because I was under the impression that gnudi were just that--"naked" ravioli/tortellini/etc. :]

Samurai Nick / March 13, 2006 9:05 AM

ARRGH! That burger photo is killing me... I gotta try this thing STAT. I thought about burgers so much yesterday that I made one for dinner but it surely was not as good as this must be.

Wei / March 13, 2006 9:51 AM

That's one tasty looking burger. I've never had any other type of cheese except for American on my burgers. Defintly need to try roquefort.

eastsidegirl / March 13, 2006 4:39 PM

I know Pearl is a little pricey, but it's truly one of my favorite places in the city. If you're into oysters, it's great. And if you go again, definitely try the salt crusted shrimp--they are absolutely amazing. Seriously.

I can't wait to try The Spotted Pig.

Happy Monday.

amber / March 13, 2006 4:45 PM

hey, i just found your blog on accident, and i was reading through a bunch of the entries and i love them! pictures everywhere! andd, you go to NYU, which is where i'm headed next year, so i can actually eat some of this yummy-sound stuff!

roboppy / March 13, 2006 6:30 PM

Melody: I thought the gnudi were covered in dough, but...NOW I DON'T KNOW. OH MY GOD! Well. I hope i would've tasted the cheese if it had been cheese. It tasted like...dough. But very thin dough! You can see the cross section in the photo, hehe.

Nick: Yes, try the burger! I've never made my own burger, but it wouldn't come out as good, so I don't think I'd bother. :P

Wei: I think I've had different kinds of cheese on a burger, but not one that was this ...cheesy? Hehe. It's good, try it.

eastsidegirl: I think I've had raw oysters before, but bivalves aren't really my thing. ;) Salt crusted shrimp sounds good though, and I'm not even into shrimp. Ahh! Fooood!

Happy Monday to you too. This is a pretty good Monday. :)

Amber: Ooo, you're gonna have so much stuff to eat when you get here! But you may have to use a meal plan? I can't imagine having to use a meal plan here; that'd be torture! Not that the NYU food is bad from what I've heard, but..meh.

mini / March 13, 2006 10:28 PM

man the lobster roll looks totally delicious!

hey thought you'd be a great person to share this with. a couple friends and I recently started a food community website (chompster) where people can share their favorite restaurants/dessert places/bakeries man the lobster roll looks totally delicious!

hey thought you'd be a great person to share this with. a couple friends and I recently started a food community website (chompster) where people can share their favorite restaurants/dessert places/bakeries

oh yeah and you can map out your faves on a google map. and link back to your blog entries on the restaurant. hope you'll check it out and give us some support!

Albany Jane / March 14, 2006 1:23 AM

OMG, OMG, OMG. Lobster Roll! Was it really mayo-y, or more buttery goodness-y? I'm a real purist when it comes to seafood, and lobster is like the holy mother of all seafoods. So when I see it in a roll/salad/etc, I always wonder if it's as good as it is as just lobster(drenched in butter, of course).

roboppy / March 14, 2006 9:46 AM

Mini: Oo, cool website! I could potentially be there allll daaaay, labeling all the stuff I like. GAH, THE INTERNET IS DANGEROUS.

Albany Jane: The lobster roll didn't taste overly mayo-y, although I wouldn't say it was very buttery either? The BUN was really nice and butter, and the lobster! HAHA! Oh god, what a crappy description.

I don't know much about seafood. Fish is tasty. Mmm. Just lobster may taste better to you, but this is pretty good. MAYOOOO!!!

Mahar / March 14, 2006 10:17 AM

I want a lobster roll.

Actually, I would rather have steamed lobster with garlic butter sauce, with deep fried calamares on the side. With salt, pepper, green chilies and sweet cane vinegar.


No, I still want the lobster roll.

Ani / March 14, 2006 11:09 AM

For some reason The Spotted Bar reminds me of a restaurant I saw featured on The Food Network. It is a British restaurant and they serve every single part of an animal. I believe it is called St. John's?

burgerseeker / March 14, 2006 3:16 PM

When 12 of us went to Spotted Pig for one of our BurgerClub meat eats, we all felt that the cheese was way to overwhelming, nice touch to make it gourmet, but i'll take that burger with no stinky cheese next time, and i like stinky cheese... and the shoestrings were way hard to eat.

roboppy / March 14, 2006 5:17 PM

Mahar: Yes, you want the lobster roll. You love the mayo! Raawr! (The other thing you said sounds good though. Mm, salt, pepper, etc...)

Ani: Every part of the animal? Intriguing...I don't know of it though. My speciality doesn't lie in animal parts, haha.

burgerseeker: The cheese is definitely overwhelming, but I was okay. And I don't like stinky cheese (unless its with beef, I guess?).


I liked the shoestrings, but only after I ate craploads of it with a fork. Hehe.

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