BY ROBIN DOHRN-SIMPSON
Gourmets take note: there is a new fine dining restaurant in La Mesa.
The Oyster and Pearl Bar Restaurant, formerly called The Vine Cottage, is now open after closing for renovations and has been renamed with a new theme of Mediterranean cuisine and contemporary dishes that capture the flavor of the season. The new menu has a very strong seafood component along with a variety of pastas and salads for the non-seafood lover.
Dine on the lovely outdoor terrace, grab some of the inside seats or sit down at the inviting bar and enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine or craft beer. The Oyster and Pearl Bar is open for happy hour, dinner, or a weekend brunch.
Happy hour is daily from 4pm to 6pm with creative cocktails and snacks. Some tempting ones are the Oyster and Pearl Margarita, mixed with tequila añejo, fresh passion fruit, honey syrup and spices, and the Cubano 75 with aged rum, simple sugar, fresh lime and mint and bitter.
Oysters are offered as well as salads such as the Little Gem with a salad with a pistachio vinaigrette, garnished with watermelon radishes, roasted tomatoes and roasted pistachios.
Happy hour starters are also unique. Spanish-style grilled king prawns with smoked paprika, cumin, white beans, chorizo and lime. Try your luck with blistered shishito peppers (one in 100 is said to be spicy) with a ginger soy sauce.
The evening menu is extensive with a variety of seafood such as oysters on half the shell, cioppino (stew with seafood in the San Francisco style) or prawns with garganelli noodles with prawns, stone crabs, bubble tomatoes, spicy panna sauce and panko crumbs.
If you’re not a fish lover, try the braised ribs rigatoni with caramelized onions, short rib reduction sauce, gorgonzola, and aged balsamic vinegar.
Who doesn’t love a cozy weekend brunch? Enjoy a creative cocktail and try a unique Oyster and Pearl Eggs Benedict with braised beef ribs, salsa verde, served over cheese groats, queso fresco and crème fraiche.