NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – CT Style Host Natasha Lubczenko was treated to an exceptional lunch today, when she was joined in the Studio Kitchen by Emilie Penner, Owner of Pearl Wine Bar & Bistro in Branford, and Chef Joe Doucet, who came to make Pan-seared Scallops over Pesto Risotto, a favorite from their menu.

Watch this demonstration, as Chef Joe prepares an extra-hot skillet with some oil and sticky syrup, and adds the fresh, plump scallops. After they’re properly seared, he seasons them with some simple salt and pepper. Then, the scallops are added to a lovely bed of pesto risotto which is garnished with some cream, dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Looks delicious!

Pearl Wine Bar & Bistro has been open for over two years. They started out with a ‘small plate’ menu and have evolved into a full menu, offering a wide variety of food from steaks and seafood to pasta dishes, plus cheese and charcuterie boards. They also have paninis, burgers and sandwiches, and they specialize in guiding people to the perfect wine to match their eclectic cuisine. Their full bar offers cocktails and beer, as well. Their menu reads: Cocktails, Mocktails, Brews & Liquors.

Emilie is passionate about Pearl’s wine selection, and she brought several bottles to display. Among them, lots of fun, summer wines. She says, “Our wine list is great because we carry wines from just all around the world, and things you may not have heard of or experienced. You know, we picked this one, the Chacoli from the Basque region in Spain. It pairs beautifully with seafood, and we’ve got an Alagoté from the Burgundy region, more known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but the Alagoté has a delicious grape for summer. Yeah, it’s very bright.”

She continues, “We have two ‘Chards” that I brought. The buttery-ness of a chardonnay pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the scallops. That’s always a good pairing.”  “And then I brought a fun one – it’s Zelèn from Slovenia. And that’s one that’s a lesser-known wine, but it’s got a real different, distinct flavor to it. And it pairs well with the seafood.  But it’s also just fun to try it.” “And then the last one I brought, of course, is a Rosé, because what would be summer without that Rosé? And the Rosé pairs beautifully with those pesto scallops and a bunch of our dishes.” Emilie adds that their whole staff is trained very well with wine and food paring, so don’t be shy about asking for advice.

Pearl Wine Bar & Bistro features live music most weekends, Friday and Saturday, on the outdoor patio (and sometimes on a Wednesday, or Thursday as well).

Pearl Wine Bar & Bistro is located at 1140 Main Street in Branford. Open Tues. – Sun. For more information, visit their website at or call 203-208-1329 for reservations.