By ROBIN DOHRN-SIMPSON
Attention foodies: There is a new fine dining restaurant in La Mesa.
Previously called The Vine Cottage, the Oyster and Pearl Bar Restaurant is now open after closing for renovations and rebranding itself with a new theme of Mediterranean cuisine and modern dishes that capture the flavor of the season. The new menu has a very strong seafood component along a variety of pastas and salads for the non-seafood lover.
Dine on the beautiful outdoor patio, grab a few of the indoor seats or sit at the inviting bar and enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine or a craft beer. Oyster and Pearl Bar is open for happy hour, dinner or a weekend brunch.
Happy hour is daily from 4-6 p.m. with creative cocktails and appetizers. Some tempting ones are the Oyster and Pearl Margarita, blended with tequila añejo, fresh passion fruit, honey syrup and spice and the Cubano 75 with aged rum, simple sugar, fresh lime and mint, and bitters.
Oysters are offered as well as salads like the Little Gem, featuring lettuce with pistachio vinaigrette garnished with watermelon radishes, roasted tomatoes and roasted pistachios.
Happy hour appetizers are equally unique. Spanish-style grilled giant white shrimp with smoked paprika, cumin seed, white beans, chorizo and lime. Try your luck with Blistered Shishito peppers (one in every 100 is said to be hot) with a ginger-soy sauce.
The dinner menu is extensive with multiple seafood choices such as oysters on the half shell, Cioppino (San Francisco-style seafood stew) or shrimp with Garganelli pasta layered with shrimp, stone crab, blistered tomatoes, spicy panna sauce and panko crumbs.
If you are not a seafood lover, try the braised rib Rigatoni with caramelized onion, short rib reduction sauce, Gorgonzola and aged balsamic vinegar.
Who doesn’t love a leisurely brunch on the weekends? Sip a creative cocktail and try a unique Oyster and Pearl Eggs Benedict with braised beef short ribs, salsa verde served over cheesy grits cake, queso fresco and crème fraiche.
Oyster and Pearl Bar Restaurant is located at 6062 Lake Murray Blvd. Call for reservations at 619-303-8118 or make them online at Opentable.com. For their latest menu go to www.oysterandpearlbar.com.