|Oyster Vodka Shooter|
Pearlz Oyster Bar, Charleston, SC
As far as happy hours go, Pearlz Oyster Bar in downtown Charleston is hard to beat. It opens at 4p but get there a few minutes before to find a spot at the oyster bar. It fills up quickly. The Happy Hour special is a dozen Gulf oysters, raw or steamed, for just $8.95. Shuckers Dent Wise and Tony Kattreh will keep you entertained at no extra charge. I'm always looking for new oysters, so I decided to splurge and chose a sampler of Komo Guays, Watch Hills, Blue Points (CT), and Wild Wellfleets. The Komo Guay is a surprise … Pearlz number one seller, Scorton Creeks (MA), weren't available.
|Shuckers Dent Wise and Tony Kattreh|
Komo Guay (Baynes Sound, British Columbia)
This was the weirdest oyster I've ever tasted - but I kinda can't wait to try them again. It starts off with a huge hit of salt … and ends sweet, like really sweet …like candy sweet. It's like the oyster of salted caramel. The shell is cool too. I would put this on a short list of one-of-a-kind oysters you have to try. Not everyone will like it, but you should give a whirl.
Baynes Sound, BC
Watch Hill (Westerly, Rhode Island)
I'm a sucker for Rhode Island oysters, so I was eager to try Watch Hills. After all, they show up on oyster bar menus everywhere I go. Watch Hills lean toward river oysters in taste and smell. These pond-grown oysters obviously have a nutritious and plentiful food source - the meat is clean, firm and present - and low brine.
Blue Points (Norwalk, Connecticut)
The Blue Point (CT) is the Honda Accord of oysters. It's reliable. Has nice brininess. Good meat. There's a reason they show up on almost every oyster menu on the East Coast. But given the choice, wouldn't you rather have a Porsche than an Accord? (The boys from Long Island Sound and the CT/MD oyster growers will have to duke it out for the rights to the name. No way I'm getting in the middle.)
|Blue Point (CT)|
I finished up the half dozen sampler with an oyster vodka shooter - a house specialty and just $2.50 during Happy Hour. The shooter oysters are pre-shucked from an oyster house in CA, but serving 400 a day … one can forgive the nod to efficiency. I just wish they would consider shucking oysters for the shooters. They would have been better with the taste of fresh oyster liquor.