Last week my 11 year-old son and I ventured to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a night out of the suburbs. Our destination: Pearl’s Bake & Shark, a Caribbean restaurant that specializes in jerk and other Caribbean dishes. It was a weeknight, and with school still in session, I’d say it was a little out of the ordinary for us to venture to Brooklyn, but I was excited….and hungry. My son was, too, so together we braved the traffic and drove to Brooklyn.
Were we happy we went? You can say that again. Pearl’s is exceptional, both in its quality of cuisine and its atmosphere. We met the owner, Fallon Seymour, whose own Trinidadian heritage inspired the restaurant’s recipes and traditional dishes, from curried conch with dumplings to jerk chicken to a classic bake and shark. The retro setting is very cool but also very Caribbean, with a beautiful patio in the back where diners can eat, and the inside has local graffiti that depicts flora and fauna and is very reminiscent of its heritage.
To start, my son and I tried several small plates to get our palettes into action. We tried their Pumpkin Corn Soup with Dumplins, guacamole and plantains dipped in sweet tamarind-chili sauce. The soup was to die for, and my son munched on the carmelized plantains quite happily, even after he found out they are a version of bananas.
By the way, my son likes spicy food. You can request variations of spice at Pearl’s, which may be necessary, but he’s pretty adventurous when it comes to food. For dinner, we devoured our separate portions – mine of Brown Stewed Fish made with delicious Trinidadian spices and his of Short Ribs. They also offer Bakes, or Caribbean style sandwiches, shark and roti with chicken or shrimp, amongst other traditional dishes. Eclectic sides include bodi, roasted corn, vegetable salads stuffed in fried flatbread rice & peas. Imagine these flavors floating in the air while dining, seriously. The stand-out dish is supposedly their bake and shark, a sandwich filled with fried shark and tamarind, garlic and herbs. I’ll have to that that next time.
Even though I was with my son, I opted for a cocktail. From rum punch to spiked lemonade to the Caribbean Vagabond made of whiskey and benedictine their cocktails go down nicely as they’re mixed with Caribbean fruits such as watermelon and citrus juices. My son and I laughed, ate delicious food inspired by a place far, far away and finished with a dose of banana pudding, pictured below, which was out of this world.
What we thought was going to be a typical night out on the town turned into a culinary exploration of our senses for both of us. From its authentic decor to friendly service to delectable food, we were turned onto Trinidadian culture and transported to a world far away where we could imagine cooks passing on these wonderful recipes.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary meal to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.