I love sushi. For birthday dinners and special events, I will always shuttle my friends out for sushi–even though a few of them still don’t appreciate the greatness of it. Needless to say, I always jump at the chance to try another sushi restaurant. This time, it was Old Town Scottsdale’s Pearl Sushi Lounge & Bomber Bar. I visited Pearl Lounge several months ago and was quite pleased. However, Tammy Carlin, formerly of Blue Wasabi, recently took over managing the restaurant and teamed up with chef Michael Shortino who added a few yummy additions to the Pearl menu. So I was happy to give the new-and-improved Pearl Lounge a go.
First, Pearl isn’t what you would call a family-friendly establishment. Photographs of scantily-clad women (though the photos are tasteful) adorn the walls and the music is thumping. However, it does make for a great spot to have happy hour with friends and to let loose on the weekends. The design is sexy and chic, with raised booths and an amazing patio (with a water-misting system, thank goodness). And the drink menu is incredibly enticing. Carlin tells me that the Atomic Tea martini is a popular choice, and it surely sounds lip-smacking: sweet tea vodka, lemonade and fresh-squeezed lemons. I think the Pulp Fiction martini with grapefruit vodka, pineapple and grapefruit juice, an egg white and a splash of cherry juice sounds mighty fine. Plus, at $7, they’re reasonably priced. And the Atomic Tea is often featured during happy hour for $5, along with $6 signature rolls, $4 bombers and more.
Pearl Sushi’s menu is full of small plate items, sashimi, traditional rolls, signature rolls and more. The Pearl Bottle Rockets (shrimp, scallions and cream cheese in an egg roll, served with cool peach-chili sauce) were sin on a stick–but tasty nonetheless. I enjoyed the Hawaiian tuna poke tacos even more. The spicy yet incredibly refreshing dish consisted of tuna, mango and avocado in mini tacos shells. I could have eaten several of these. I also tried two of Pearl’s signature rolls: Red Zeppelin and Rice Crispy. The first roll had a kick, being topped with spicy tuna, and I loved sopping up the key lime zest vinaigrette that came with it. And Rice Crispy was sweet–thanks to the sweet soy glaze–and full of goodies like spicy salmon, cream cheese, avocado and cucumber. I finished up my meal with green tea and mango mochi ice cream, dipped in melted chocolate. Trust me, the refreshing mochi didn’t need the chocolate at all. 4252 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, 480.947.3275, www.pearlsushi.net.