Whether it's your first visit to an oyster bar or you're a self-proclaimed seafood enthusiast, the variety of shellfish available makes it challenging to discern one from another. In fact, some of the biggest confusion is related to oysters and clams. While they're similar in appearance from afar, they offer vastly different dining experiences. Here's a closer look at the unique characteristics of the two species.
What's the Difference Between Oysters & Clams?
Oysters are fairly stationary creatures. Before they land at your local oyster bar, the mollusk lives its life in saltwater. Oysters choose a particular location — like a rock — and attach to it for the majority of their lives, feeding on plankton and other small aquatic species. Clams, on the other hand, move about from location to location using an extendable muscle. They prefer to live under the surface of the water's floor, which requires digging for harvest.
The vastly different habitats between the two mollusks lead to incredibly distinct flavors. Oysters are a creamy, easy-to-chew texture with a subtle buttery or sweet flavor that increases in intensity the longer it's cooked. Even though they grow in freshwater, clams offer a salty, slightly briny flavor and chewy consistency much tougher than oysters. However, in both species, the overall taste is affected by the environment in which they're grown.
Oysters are served using just about every cooking method imaginable. Eat them fresh on ice with lemon juice and sauce, or enjoy the fish steamed, grilled, baked, or fried. Regardless of the method, the complexities of oyster preparation require a professional skill level, which is why oyster bars and specialty restaurants are so popular. Clams are available fresh or frozen; while they can be consumed raw, they're usually cooked. They're particularly common in soups like clam chowder or fried on their own.
For the best seafood in the Baldwin County, AL, area, turn to Tin Top Restaurant & Oyster Bar. The locally owned seafood restaurant has served up delicious dishes made from top-quality ingredients since 2004. Whether raw, steamed, fried, or baked, they utilize only the freshest seafood. Find out what to expect at the oyster bar by browsing their menu online, or direct any questions to a knowledgeable team member at (251) 949-5086.