Black Pearl is a Gem

Limited Restaurant Week menu but big tastes

Denver’s Old South Pearl is not as convenient to my home as Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, but I’ve wanted to go there for some of the eating options I’ve heard and read about. Some places closed before I ever got there (The Crushery being a recent casualty), but the well regarded Black Pearl seems to be thriving and also is packing ’em in during Denver Restaurant Week. It positions itself as a “contemporary American” restaurant, which means a little Asian, a little coastal, a little Mediterranean and so on. The result is robust tastes and beguiling presentations.

My friend Laura and I were seated at a mezzanine table, whose main disadvantage was our neighbors — a party of four, three of whom were civilized but one of whom loudly dominated the conversation had a laugh so piercing that it could shatter glass. Not the restaurant’s fault, and the servers were sympathetic when we jokingly suggested bringing her food or maybe a muzzle, but of course, there was nothing they could do.

Black Pearl’s DRW menu is limited — two appetizers, three entrees and two desserts — and while they have specials on bottles of wine, by-the-glass prices appear to be the regular ones. Laura doesn’t drink, and I confined myself to one glass, because I had to drive back to Boulder. Mitch Mayers, a Culinary Instititue of America grad, is executive chef. His regular menus and the ambiance draw a regular clientele, many within an easy walk of Old South Pearl’s commercial block, and the DRW menu is also  topnotch, both in terms of presentation and taste. Sliced bread comes in an open-topped wood box, but other presentations are more conventional. Here’s what we had:

Potatoes Two Ways -- a small croquette with goat cheese in the center of the rectangular plate and on the right is warm potato salad with Bourbon-mustard glaze. There's lots of white space around the food in this presentation.


Beet salad fills the rectangular plate with thin slices of this beautiful root vegetable with a subtle smoked trout dip, grapefruit vin and microgreens.
Grilled blackened ono (aka, wahoo) in a delictately but definitely flavorful skiitake-ponzu broth with Japanese ratatouille alongside and thick udon noodles nested on top.

Duck leg confit with roasted turnip arborio rice, seared Swiss chard and a rich, dark sauce of Port wine and star anise.
Warm cinnamon with mascarpone and cream cheese ice cream atop a caramel "drizzle".
Bad picture of a good dessert: molten chocolate fritters with bacon crème anglais.

 Price: 3 coourses, $52.80 during Restaurant Week.

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2 thoughts on “Black Pearl is a Gem”

  1. It looks like your DRW selections were a bit more creative than what we chose in July. I was happy with the food but not ecstatic about it, but I would go back.

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