How about when you’re sitting and eating a dozen perfectly shucked ones (6 varieties) with a lovely glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc in a stylish and welcoming bar, and you get on the phone to call another place to see if they have yet another variety of oysters on their menu? Because that’s just what I did a week ago and I’m starting to question my sanity.
But I’m getting ahead of the story here.
This story actually began two weeks ago when I traveled to the Hale Street Tavern in Beverly Farms to meet my pal Greg for oysters (see Nov. 12 post). As often happens when sitting and swooning over oysters—while taking photos and notes—I engaged in conversation with the person sitting next to me at the bar. Turns out that person was Dan Enos, executive chef and operating partner at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in Boston. His description of his menu, featuring a dozen or so oysters, made me want to visit. And it didn’t take long to enlist Greg, who’s fast turning into my oyster muse, to join me.
Large, elegant, and stylish with a bar running the length of one wall, Oceanaire is a perfect oyster-eating destination. On the night we arrived, Chef Enos wasn’t working but we were well served by our charming waiter, Felix, who helped select our wines. First, my choice: an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. (Mainly because I love to say, “Gruner Veltliner.”) Second, his (and the better) choice: a Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
1. Kumamoto (Washington). Turns out Greg was a kumamoto virgin (who knew?) These were his favorite of the eve, saying they were “completely different” than any oyster he’s had. “The flavor just keeps changing and changing and changing.” To me, they were typical kumos: mild, sweet and buttery. I’m more an east coast kinda oyster gal.
2. Moon Shoal (Barnstable, Mass.). These had a milky look but were plump and surprisingly firm with a sweet finish. “Squeaky chewy,” said Greg, who looked transported while eating his but admitted it was a hard act to follow the kumo.
3. Sunberry Point (PEI). Mmmmm. I loves me some PEI oysters. These were smallish, salty and sweet with dimension in the middle. Greg found them one-of-a-kind: “They’re not the same.” “As what?” I asked. “As anything!”
5. Blue Points (Conn.)”More sea life flavor to them,” said Greg. Me? I could easily eat dozens of these: meaty, sweet, salty, fruity, yummy.
6. Little Island, Maine. Sweet and mild, not much salt. My least fave of the bunch, but perhaps they should have been tasted earlier in the rotation. Whatever, mild Little Islands got me thinking of hearty, metallic Belons, like the wild ones from Maine I recently had at the Island Creek Oyster Bar.