Best Bet: Shrimp Boil

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal
Shrimp, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes meld their flavors in tasty harmony in the Shrimp Boil at Pearl’s.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal Shrimp, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes meld their flavors in tasty harmony in the Shrimp Boil at Pearl’s.

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal
Shrimp, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes meld their flavors in tasty harmony in the Shrimp Boil at Pearl’s.

Photo by Michael Donahue

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal Shrimp, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes meld their flavors in tasty harmony in the Shrimp Boil at Pearl’s.

My co-workers rediscovered Pearl’s Oyster House while I was off last week. When I got to work Monday, I was greeted with raves about Pearl’s Shrimp Boil. I ordered it for dinner the next night.

I am now a believer. This is an incredible dish. All I needed was an ocean view.

The shrimp was served in a shallow bowl with new potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage with pickled purple cabbage and a lemon wedge as garnish and a hunk of jalapeño cornbread on the side. Everything tasted extremely fresh. And I could taste each ingredient. It’s seafood heaven. The broth in the bottom of the bowl is the icing on the cake. Make sure you get a spoon so you can scoop up every bit of that liquid.

Pearl’s, which opened six years ago in Memphis, has made a comeback, said chef and general manager K. C. Lambert. It went through a downtime when the food wasn’t consistently up to par, but now it’s back where it’s supposed to be, he said.

When Lambert started at Pearl’s 10 months ago, he began working on the recipes. “I’ve tweaked almost all of them,” he said.

He didn’t have to do much with the Shrimp Boil, but he did add the purple cabbage. The shrimp and sausage give the boil “a good yin and yang,” he said. “It all balances out to where it’s not ‘either or.’ It has a fresh seafood flavor.”

The corn and potatoes and other ingredients just make it better. “All the flavors are merging together and infusing.”

Don’t forget to try Pearl’s Char-Grilled Oysters. My sister showed up after I finished the Shrimp Boil and asked if I’d ever tried them. I ordered a plate of six. Topped with garlic chipotle butter and Parmesan cheese, they are one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten. Travis “T.J.” Jackson’s take grilled oysters began with a can of chipotle peppers, Jackson said as he took a break from grilling oysters behind the bar. “I didn’t know what to do with it,” he said.

He thought about using the peppers with barbecue shrimp, but decided to pair them with oysters. The Parmesan cheese kept the oysters plump and juicy and didn’t burn as easily as other cheeses.

“Char-Grilled Oysters were born.”

Pearl’s Oyster House, 299 S. Main; 901-522-9070

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