Welcome back to The Queens’ Table, where aces are high and the queens are wild! This month my ladies went luxe in mid-century Polynesian when we dove into the tastes and aloha feels that make up East Nashville’s Pearl Diver.
Opened in July 2018, Pearl Diver has already become a staple landmark on the main drag that is Gallatin Ave. Its exterior evokes a beautiful mid-century lounge, transporting you before you even walk in. Once you enter, you recognize immediately that owners Ben Clemons (No.308), Jamie White (No.308), Matt Spicher (The Treehouse) and Corey Ladd (the Treehouse) had Hawaiian style on the brain. Warm woods and exotic Versace wallpaper provide richness and texture. Paired with the sleekness of mid-century design, they didn’t give you a cheap tiki bar, but a luxe vacation bungalow.
The ladies took their first cocktails out back and lounged in a cabana. These cocktails included: the Maya Bay, a tropical tequila cocktail with mango, red curry, agave and fresh lime; the Banana! Banana!, a flaming rum crafted moment with banana liqueur, thai tea and cream; Lime in da Coconut, frozen beve with rum, coconut, whole fresh lime and cream; and, delivered on fire, in a giant seashell, the Kilauea Bowl was the perfect, sharable island concoction of rum, gin, sherry, apricot brandy and fresh juice. This volcano nearly had Monroe erupting. Some of the drinks offered are a playground for the innovative bar team, while others are authentic mid-century classics.
We then headed inside to dine on flawless bar nibbles. “This style of vintage decor and concept can go really wrong, really quickly if it’s not in the right hands. They have done it just right!” Casanova observed as we sat down in a vintage, diner-style booth, watching day give way to night through the nautical porthole windows.
We started off with Coconut Shrimp, served with sweet and sour sauce, and grilled fish Street Tacos with fresh cilantro and mango salsa. They were absolutely perfect with our drinks, as these are all smaller dishes, not full entrees. So good, they keep you ordering more. Next came the Veggie Egg Rolls and the Shisito Peppers.
I noticed Cya developing an oral fixation for these egg rolls as she watched a near perfect vintage of David Hasselhoff running shirtless on the beach in the episode of Baywatch that was playing on the dining room’s wall projector. We all were living for the peppers, tossed up with peanuts and togarashi. “They’re not hot!” Monroe noticed, busy trying new things.
Lastly, we tried the Rumaki and the Sticky Rice Balls with sesame and ponzu. The Rumaki, a bit of chicken and a water chestnut wrapped in bacon and served on a skewer, is a personal favorite. The rice balls were a simple palette cleanser, as the ladies’ enjoyed their final round of cocktails, solidifying another amazing evening.
Those cocktails included the Devil’s Flower, a beautiful mix of tequila, kiwi, poblano pepper liqueur, lime garnished with a cactus pad. The Sailor’s Delight is a spiced rum horchata with creme de cocoa, Cuban coffee and cayenne pepper. It offers enough caffeine and spice to catch your second wind and hit that hot drag party down the street. Last, but definitely not least, was the namesake cocktail, the Pearl Diver. This frozen, super creamy pleasure features light and dark rums, honey butter cream, fresh orange, lime and baking spices.
Pearl Diver spearheads the movement of many venues looking to bring a bit of the South Pacific to Nashville—embracing, learning and celebrating culture. If you’ve experienced Hawaii, you know that genuine hospitality is a cultural cornerstone. Pearl Diver preserves this. The only difference? You’re still in the 615. It truly reminded my ladies to slow down, celebrate life, and enjoy the Aloha.
Until next time fierce foodies! Much love and good taste from The Queens’ Table.
Pearl Diver is located at 1008 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, 37206!