I first went to Perla's Seafood and Oyster Bar the weekend of my sister's graduation on a whim - we were strolling down South Congress around dinner time, saw its Maine-inspired decor and decided to stop in. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very familiar yet different from everything else in Austin. We were seated on the comfortable outdoor patio and watched as the sun set over the downtown skyline. Strings of lights were dangling overhead and it felt like vacation.
After our first dinner there, we saw Anthony Bourdain's interview of Lawrence McGuire and Thomas Moorman Jr. (chefs) and so we decided to bring Frenchie's parents back when we were in Austin this past weekend. The restaurant is decked out in a decidedly preppy seaside theme, with its waitstaff dressed in Vineyard Vines collared shirts and belts. The cocktails were nice - nothing extraordinary - but I had the best mussels here that I've had anywhere. And I do like my mussels. They were steamed in Fireman's 4 Blonde Ale and the chunks of fennel sausage were an added bonus to the broth. The Frenchie family enjoyed the vegetable sides a great deal, which was a surprise give this is a seafood restaurant and veggies are obviously not the focus. Definitely do try the wood-grilled brussel sprouts and lobster stock, cheddar and green onion grits if you get a chance. Frenchie and his dad also really liked the oyster offerings. Our waitress was honest and refreshingly open with her opinions on the menu offerings and overall, the dining experience and food is one that I think is a must try in Austin.