Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pearl's New Orleans Kitchen

Across from the Elk Rapids golf course is a little bit of Cajun in Elk Rapids.
Alligator. Shrimp Po' Boy. Hot sauce galore. Yeah, this is the North's own little bit of Cajun. And we love it so! Welcome to Pearl's New Orleans Kitchen.

There's a lot going on with the walls inside of Pearl's.
At Pearl's in Elk Rapids, you'll find a little bit of everything. Literally. Check out the wall decor! This place is dripping, nay, swimming, in memorabilia. Yet, it seems to accomplish exactly what it has set out to accomplish; that being an inviting atmosphere reminiscent of Cajun culture, but uniquely local and welcoming as well.
Whether or not you're a fan of this form of decor will matter not once your plate is set down in front of you. These guys know good food! Let's get to it!

The decor is overwhelming, but in a good way. No worries.
Pearl's is famous for their Po' Boy and a Pint Wednesdays, wherein you can snag a Po' Boy and a pint for $8.99. I love it!
The menu starts out right, there's no doubt about that! The very first thing you'll see is the varied selection of featured mix drinks at Pearl's. These things run from $5-$9. My twin favorites have always been the Oyster Shooter (a freshly shucked oyster, jalapeno steeped vodka and cocktail sauce for $4.99) and the the Hurricane (a 23.5 oz cocktail served tall glass with dark rum, light rum and fruit juices for $9). The Hurricane takes me back to Key West sunsets.....ahhhhhhh.
For me, if I'm not snagging a Po' Boy, I'm usually tempted to make a meal out of a few appetizers. These dishes run from $7-$23. Highlights include a dozen oysters on the half shell for $23, Huckleberry Quail for $8, crawfish cakes for $8, blackened Alligator for $8, and oysters Rockefeller for $16. Many other options are available if you're not a fan of my favs, no worries.

Pearl's manages to capture that perfect neighborhood feel that so many other joints miss.
Onto everyone's favorite......Soups and Salads! Yay hipsters! All jokes aside, Gumbo Ya Ya is a serious bit of delicious. This is house made with chunks of chicken and spicy Andouille sausage, finished with rice. This dish is $4 for a cup and $5 for a bowl. Crawfish and corn chowder (same price) is always my go-to soup here. The salads range from $6-$20. The selection of salads is quite nice, if you're a greens lover, check them out!
Heading into the entrees, these things run from $14-$24. A lot of selection here. My favorites are as follows (listen close, for I have EXCELLENT taste): Pearl's Etouffee for $17. This is a sauce with onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, cayenne pepper and more, served over dirty rice. You can pair this with garlic crawfish, blackened shrimp, Andouille Tasso or a combination. Your choice!
I also thoroughly enjoy the Whitefish Florentine for $19. This is Charlevoix's Cross Fisheries whitefish baked with Pearl's shallot sauce, served on a bed of garlic spinach with red beans and rice.
A third personal highlight is Doctor John's Garlic Delmonico for $24. This is a 12 oz cut seasoned with Voodoo spices and pan seared, finished with roasted garlic butter and smok'in tobacco onions. It is served with cheddar mashed potatoes, andouille milk gravy and fresh veggies.

A fully, FULLY stocked bar. Always a good thing!
For many folks, the po' boys make this place. Luckily for them, that's the next menu section!
These outstanding sandwiches range in price from $9-$12. Some personal favs include the fried shrimp po' boy for $10, the blackened catfish po'boy for $10 and the corn fried whitefish muffuletta for $12. Yum!
Desserts are $6. And fun! I can never resist the bananas foster. Wowza.

Great food, great drink, great service. Pearl's gets it!
Happy hour runs seven days a week from 3pm-6pm where you can snag $1 off your favorite drink and a $2.99 appetizer.
I dig this place. True, it's not in Traverse City, but it's a great place to meet up with friends who yet remain in Elk Rapids. The atmosphere is truly neighborhood and the food/drink are always completely satisfying. If you're pondering a trip north of Traverse City, give Pearl's a try!
(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

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