Buck-a-shuck: Happy Hour at Oyster Bar

Friday is date night, and what spells romance better than oysters on the half-shell?  Normally oysters wouldn’t make my cheap list.  While they represent humble peasant food in some countries, in Canada a trip to your local oyster bar is usually more of a foray into haute cuisine.  Local favorite Ferris offers beautiful bivalves at fairly reasonable prices, but an Oyster dinner for two will certainly not come at a bargain. Once Irish
Times stopped offered oysters for a dollar during their Happy Hour, our oyster habit all but dried up.  Having heard that a new place in town was offering a daily special on raw oysters, my partner & I headed off last date night to The Oyster Bar to indulge in this guilty pleasures.

Co-owned by the prestigious Pescatores and located right beside them on Humboldt Street, one of the first things we noticed is that this place gets a lot of tourist attention.  Aside from their easily found location across from the Empress & only steps off the Inner Harbor, their prominent storefront boasts numerous logos designed to entice passersby: Eat Fish/Clams/Oysters, Live/Love/Last Longer.  Sitting centre stage is the sign we were looking for:  Buck-a-shuck daily 4-5:30pm.

The restaurant is modern and airy, with seating both outside on their patio and in booths & bar tables inside.  All surround the centre bar which proudly displays their daily array of oyster varieties.  Most are local, and common selections include the sweet Kusshis and Kumamotos, wild Malepaques & Chesapeakes, and the ubiquitous Fanny Bay.  We learned quickly that only Fanny Bays are available for the Buck deal.  They aren’t my favourite (I tend toward the small & sweet Japanese types) but we ordered a dozen as well as a couple of drinks.

Our server brought out our tray of toppings, including: a cucumber mignonette, a traditional mignonette, malt vinegar and seafood sauce.  She also furnished us with a tray upon which to rest our platter of oysters.  When they arrived, they rested gleaming inside their half-shells atop a bed of crushed ice, served alongside lemon wedges & a small mountain of freshly grated horseradish.  Indeed, one staff member was permanently affixed in the oyster station, shucking and grating the entire time we ate.

Given that I normally find Fanny Bays a big large and salty for my taste, I have to admit – these were exceptional oysters.  Cool, fresh and with a smooth finish, they went nicely with every one of the sauces.  We scarfed down our first bath in record time, and couldn’t resist ordering a few more.

Our bill for 16 oysters, 1 beer & a Margarita (lime, salted & on the rocks) came to $33 – easily more than most hearty meals for two in my list of Cheapeats will run you.  Drinks here are costly (local pints run you $7 each), and straying away from the Fanny Bays will cost you anywhere from $2.25 – $2.75 per precious oyster.  Even at a buck a shuck, let’s call this a somewhat affordable luxury.

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~ by Dee's Cheap Eats on August 31, 2010.

One Response to “Buck-a-shuck: Happy Hour at Oyster Bar”

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