By MADOLINE MARKHAM
If you look past Taziki’s, Baja Burger, Pablo’s and Edgar’s in the quick-casual dining selection at the Colonnade, you’ll find Black Pearl. It’s Asian food, but it’s not a buffet. You order at the counter, and they make all their dishes to order with fresh meat and crisp veggies.
The soup and egg roll that arrive before your entree make a quick, casual meal feel more like relaxing sit-down dining. Plus, two courses for $8 or $9 total, depending on the kind of meat you choose, both more than fills you up and leave you feeling like you got a lot of quality food for your money.
We tried the Mongolian Beef and Sesame Honey Seared Chicken, two of their most popular dishes. We liked how the beef was tender, flavorful and mixed with fresh onions and green onions and how the sesame chicken was slightly sweeter than your average version of the dish.
Another top seller is the Lettuce Wraps, which are filled with a mixture of
shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, water chestnuts and scallions. “It’s really fresh,” owner Jack Lin said. Lately they have been selling a lot of Pepper Stir-Fry as well.
Lin likes the Cantonese Chow Fun with wide rice noodles and your choice of meat and recommends the Asian Style Salad with assorted lettuces, Napa cabbage, carrots, basil, tomatoes, crispy wonton, toasted sesame seeds and a sesame vinaigrette. But his favorite meal is to special order fried rice with tofu and broccoli. He notes that customers can customize their meal as well.
Black Pearl can serve their sauces on the side for anyone trying to cut back on sodium intake.
For each kind of Asian fare, you can choose whichever meat with the preparation or vegetarian tofu
“It’s kind of like Burger King,” Lin said. “You can have it your way.”
Lin and his sisters, Sue and Susan, who are Taiwanese, opened the restaurant together. The siblings’ dad owned a Chinese restaurant in Marietta, Ga. Each day growing up the school bus would drop them off at the restaurant. All three worked in restaurants before opening their own. They own three locations of Pablo’s Restaurante and Cantina, one of which is also in the Colonnade, in addition to Black Pearl.
Black Pearl was originally located in a different storefront of the Colonnade as a full-service, sit-down Chinese restaurant. When they moved to their current location in 2009, they switched to a fast-casual format and slightly adjusted the menu.
“We kept the same food but changed to more casual dining like at Baja Burger or Taziki’s,” Lin said.
All meals can be ordered by phone and picked up in the store. Their menu is available in the store or on their website. The Takeout (www.thetakeoutbham.com, 823-7524) offers a delivery service for Black Pearl. Black Pearl also offers catering services.
Black Pearl Asian Cuisine
3439 Colonnade Parkway, Suite 300
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday, 4-9 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.