Visiting an oyster bar for the first time comes with a slight learning curve. If you’ve never eaten the shellfish before, it’s normal to feel intimated the first time it’s placed in front of you, but don’t be. There are actually numerous ways to consume oyster; as long as you are enjoying the serving, you are doing it right. This guide will offer some eating tips others have collected over the years to help you get the most from your meal.
What Are the Basics of Eating Oyster?
After your order arrives, perform a quality check. Quality oyster bars know that freshness is everything when it comes to eating this shellfish. They should appear well-hydrated with sea water remaining in the shell. This indicates recent shucking, but you can also use your tiny fork to make sure it’s fully detached from the shell—dried, dead oysters will stick.
Although your plate is sure to come with various flavor boosters, it’s best to try the oyster plain on a first tasting. Simply, pick up the shell and dump the oyster into your mouth. While some people state it should slide into the throat, you miss out on a lot of flavor if you skip chewing. You can then experiment with lemon, cocktail sauce, or mignonette sauce—a mixture of shallots, pepper, and vinegar—to determine which combinations you like best.
What Are the Different Types of Oysters?
There are five species of oysters harvested in the United States, and they all have different tastes and textures. The only way to determine which ones you like is to visit a raw oyster bar to sample the different varieties. However, depending on where you are located, it might be easier to find a specific type.
Most of the oysters, including Bluepoints, Malpeques, Beausoleils, and Wellfleets, harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and other locations in the United States are Crassostrea virginicas. However, the fluted and sharply pointed Pacific and Kumamoto oysters are prevalent among the West Coast. You can tell them apart because Kumamoto’s shell is also deep and bowl like. The other two varieties you could encounter are European flats, which are identified by their smooth, flat shell, and Olympias—a tiny oyster about the size of a quarter.
If you are hungry and in an adventurous spirit, head to Tin Top Restaurant & Oyster Bar in Bon Secour, AL. This locally owned seafood restaurant takes tremendous pride in serving delicious oyster, crab, and shrimp dishes, as well as many other southern favorites. Every dish is made from fresh ingredients and locally grown products. View their full menu on their website, and call the oyster bar at (251) 949-5086 to discuss catering options.