Pearlz Little Oyster Bar
Our first night in town (Monday, October 10, 2011), we had driven for 6 hours in rain the whole way from Atlanta. I was tired, ready to eat, but not wanting anything that had a lot of hassles to deal with - in other words, no tourist traps.
On the way in, I noticed a group of bars, cafes and restaurants in the Avondale area of Charleston (West Ashley on Hwy 17). Just as we swept by, I noticed a signage that said "Pearlz Little Oyster..." but couldn't see the rest before we were gone. However, I mentioned to my wife, if it was agreeable to her, that I would like to come back out here for dinner, as this was a local establishment that was catering to the locals (not too many tourists venture out here), and thought it might work. The whole area has a little artsy flavor to it, and thought it would be interesting.
After checking into our cottage in the historic district, we turned around and headed west back to West Ashley, to Pearlz. And, boy, am I glad we did!
We did a whole lot of samplers, which we typically do when we are really wanting to explore a menu. We had an order (6 oysters) of Baked Oysters Rockefeller, soon followed by two orders of Fried Oysters (they were soo good, the first order was gone too fast), and an order of Crispy Ahi Tuna Roll ( I liked the Tuna very much, but my wife, who is not big on Tuna anyway, didn't particularly care for - good news for me; I got her portion as well!). After splitting these appetizers, I opted for a bowl of Seafood Gumbo, which is served over a bed of rice. For some reason, the rice was undercooked, and was hard enough to break a tooth! I brought it to our waiter's attention, and he promptly brought forth a whole new setup of rice and soup. It was wonderful! For my wife, it was a little too spicy (but she thought it was still good), which was, again, good news for me - I got to eat her portion as well!
We had a great time here, sitting at the bar, talking with the bartenders, who were all friendly and efficient. This is going to be a destination bar for us whenever we are in Charleston and wanting to avoid the tourist area. This is also a safe area, with easy parking in the rear.
Note: Pearlz's also has a location in the main dining district of Charleston on E. Bay St. We haven't eaten there, but it shares the same menu as the one in West Ashley, Avondale, about 6 miles west of downtown Charleston. This location would generally be serving more tourists instead of locals. We will be trying it soon!