If anyone happens to be visiting Charleston, S.C. this year, make sure you visit The Ordinary, a must-visit “fancy seafood/oyster hall” located in a renovated, spacious and elegant old bank building.
I loved everything about this place: the ambiance (casual and elegant); the service (friendly but not intrusive); and the simple yet creative menu featuring cold and hot small seafood plates, salads, soups and three large plates and—of course--oysters. It would not be an exaggeration to say—after tasting the grilled octopus with potato, eggplant and Meyer lemon—that I lusted for every item on the menu.
The Coosaw Cups were meaty and sweet with a light brine start and long slight-iron finish.
Located just northeast of Charleston, at Caper’s Inlet on the Isle of Palms, a guy named “Clammer Dave” farms clams and oysters. Nearby tidal bays and creeks add the distinctive “merrior” flavor to the meat.
From the website:
“Oysters grow in clusters in elongated shells, locally known as "Blades". Sustainable cultivation is simply removing the large ones and always leaving the small. Hand harvested, they are uniquely reduced to singles by a method of chisel and stone…in continuation of the sustainable practice dating back 300 years.”
After harvest, clams and oysters are held in floating racks in the highly oxygenated surface water to purge grit from the shell and stomach. The last step in the process involves a pressure wash before they hand graded and packed for shipping.
At some point I’d love to visit this farm and check out the operations. Until then, I’ll keep an eye out for Caper’s Coves on future oyster expeditions.
(The Ordinary, 554 King St., Charleston, SC, 843-414-7060)