Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Amen Street Fish and Rawbar (Charleston Oyster Tour)

Amen Street Oyster Chandelier
Step inside Amen Street and look up. The. Oyster. Chandeliers. Like delicate mosaics. I can't imagine how long it must take the team from Sebenati to create just one of these. Stunning. (Have to have one? Contact Tim Adams at sabenati.la@gmail.com.) 

Next, grab a seat at the first-come-first-served oyster bar or wait for a table (reservations recommended.) The day we visited Charleston was cold and rainy, and we still waited for a lunch table for 30 min. Amen usually offers a half dozen choices for oysters on the half shell. I ordered one of each: 

  • Duxbury (MA)
  • Single Ladies (SC)
  • Quonset (RI)
  • Westport (MA)
  • Cape Cod Bay (MA)
  • Bodie Island (VA)

Oyster varieties change daily at Amen Street.

Below are my reviews on the most interesting three. For more reviews, visit my Tasting Log at oystertastes.blogspot.com.

Single Ladies (Beaufort, SC)

These oysters are Coyote Ugly. I may have caught these ladies on a bad day, but there's a reason they are still single: the shell looks like it just rolled out of bed. The oyster tastes like she put in the effort though.  They aren't as refined as Rhode Island or British Columbia oysters, but they have potential. I'm a staunch fan of Carolina oysters and it's always encouraging to see the Southern belles go toe-to-toe with their Northern cousins. Single Ladies aren't the best the Carolinas have to offer, but they deserve a prime spot at Sunday dinner. Let's just hope they decide to powder first.

Single Ladies
Oyster Shell

Single Ladies
Beaufort, SC

Quonset Point (Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island)

My love for Rhode Island oysters really has no end. Quonset Points put Rhode Island oysters on the map and they don't disappoint. The meat looks clean and it smells like the Oceanside scent from Bath & Body Works. Seriously, I would design a bath line around the smell of these. They smack you over the head with a hit of brine, then they quickly chill and end with a mild algae taste.

Quonset Point
Narragansett Bay, RI
Quonset Point
Oyster Shell

Duxbury (Duxbury Bay, MA)

Despite the long history of oyster growing in Duxbury Bay, the Island Creek guys have taken over the Duxbury oyster industry - which really isn't fair. Duxbury oysters are lovely oysters. Hearty brininess. Classic Northeastern shells. The meat was a little flimsy on the one I tried, but I'm not sure that's the case for all of them. Definitely worth ordering again.

Oyster Shell
Duxbury, MA

Pair oysters at Amen Street with artisan wine on tap (cool twist) or try the Riff Pinot Grigio (Italy). Only $8/glass - made for oysters.

Amen Street is part of Oyster Stew's Ultimate Oyster Tour of CharlestonClick here for details about the two-day tour.

205 East Bay St.
Charleston, NC 29401

Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar on Urbanspoon

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