For our anniversary, we were looking for some place new to try when I remembered hearing about Girl Diver, which opened in the Madison Yards development in late 2020. Originally announced as a Vietnamese / Cajun seafood place, it feels more general-Asian-meets-seafood-by-the-pound. But I had heard they had a killer lobster roll, and I happen to know someone that’s a huge fan of lobster rolls.
There is a giant mural of an octopus wrapped around a female pearl diver (from which the restaurant derives its name) behind the bar, along with the shell of a canoe hanging from the ceiling, lending to the nautical theme. Decor is very contemporary and the 3D bead flooring makes it feel like you are underwater, all through the restaurant.
One of the surprising things was the limited number of starters on the lunch menu (dinner seems to have more options). So we ordered mains quickly, as this was going to be late for lunch. I chose a shaking beef bowl –
beef tenderloin, tomatoes, red onions, XO herb salad and white rice (with some surprise green beans). Shaking beef is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, so I thought this would be a good choice. The beef was heavily wok-seared, with a char on the tenderloin bites that tasted very closed to burnt. My bride, of 34 years, chose the (shocking) lobster bun –
buttered bun, lemon aioli, XO sauce, pickled green chilies, sea salt and chives – and Old Bay waffle fries. This was a very good choice. There was a good bit of lobster and choosing the sauces on the side was a wise decision, as they mixed oddly. The menu also contained several seafood platters designed to be shared among a large crowd – as we were a small crowd, we passed.