I recently finished reading Robb Walsh’s book Sex, Death and Oysters and am now obsessed with oysters on the half shell. If I could, I would be on my way down to Galveston Bay. I have always enjoyed oysters but have never eaten them with great frequency or in large quantities. Now, I want to learn to shuck them, and I want to eat enough so that I can differentiate between different species and tell whether I am eating a great oyster or just a good one.
I found the book both informative and entertaining and as with ‘Are you really going to eat that?‘ it made me want to travel, as well as eat. I would have liked a little more of the world – possibly Japan and South Africa but perhaps I couldn’t have handled the jealousy. The book contains destinations and practical information for oyster tourism but also a guide to shucking oysters and holding your own oyster party. There are also recipes for some of the famous oyster dishes.
There are a few places you can find oysters on the half shell in Columbus, but often they are a pricey proposition. Earlier in the year Deepwood was serving Oysters on the half shell (pictured below) on their Tavern menu but sadly they are now offering fried oysters instead.
Luckily for me Rigby’s Kitchen have just started a Monday oyster night with $1 oysters in the bar. This week the oysters hailed from Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury Massachusetts and using Walsh’s book as a field guide, I would hazard a guess that they are C. gigas. They were served on a bed of ice with a mignonette (shallot and vinegar sauce), cocktail sauce and lemon as well as two kinds of the wonderful Eleni Christina bread. The shucker wasn’t the speediest, so expect a wait – especially when word gets out, although I’m sure he will get faster with more practice.
We paired our oysters with a happy hour $4 gin martini (well-gin which wasn’t great, but you can’t complain too much for $4). Pairing oysters with a gin martini is London style and in my opinion a match made in heaven. Twelve oysters and two drinks set us back $21 – definitely a bargain. I’m tempted to keep it a secret because there aren’t that many seats at the bar and I want to make sure there is one for me, so if you go next Monday have fun but save me a seat.
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December 30, 2010
Thanks for the oyster tips! Columbus Fish Market has a very nice oyster sampler–delicious–but it’s not cheap (a little more than two dollars an oyster). Flat Iron also has very good oysters, but they’re fried or baked.