Tonight I met a few oysters and found a couple new favorites. This is sort of a “Part II” to the post I published earlier this month on my visit to Nonesuch Oysters. During that outing I learned the oyster bar I’d been sort of watching and waiting to open in Portland had. Well, of course I needed to go.
The place is like this: food delicious, atmosphere simple and the air conditioning cranked (bring a sweater). My dinner companion J is an oyster lover. Arriving in Maine from the southwest she has only known oysters for a few years and seems from her knowledge of them to have made up for lost time. She can shuck too – something I’m a bit wary of being a klutz (I’ve cut myself opening avocados – seriously whose capable of that!!?). Well, maybe I should just try it really give it a go and now I know where – Browne Trading Company in Portland. A visit there, a towel, a knife some determination and box of bandaids and I should be shucking in no time.
So, here’s what we ordered:
One dozen oysters on the half shell: Winter Point Selects (West Bath, ME), Dodge Cove (Damariscotta, ME), Duxbury’s (Duxbury, MA), Shigoku (Shelton, WA), Kumamoto (Shelton, WA) and Indian Creek (PEI). J loves the Kumamoto so full credit has to go to her for introducing me to them and folks I LOVE them as in we ordered another round of those and the Dodge Cove (so good, so darn good).
The Kumamoto Oysters in Washington State, according to Rowan (he is the “Oyster Man” so he’s covered all the bases), are mostly produced by Taylor Shellfish in Oakland Bay, part of the South Sound. Small and featuring a “sculptured” shell they have a cucumber finish, are sweet and meaty. They are originally from the Kumamoto area of Kyushu, Japan.
Here is what Rowan (Jacobsen) has to say on the subject of Dodge Cove Oysters in his updated Maine Roundup:
A Maine institution, Dodge Cove was one of the first oyster farms in Maine and has been going strong for more than thirty years. Another Damariscotta River oyster, the summer Dodge Coves had a remarkable sweet-and-sour-citrus flavor and a restrained brine. The lovely shells were dappled with interesting pastel colors, which show up quite a bit in oysters from down south but are a rarity in Maine.
We also polished off two orders of Greens (Nori Vinaigrette, Pickled Vegetables) and one of the Fluke Tartare (with Cucumber and Basil).
This is what you see in front of the shucker when you walk in.
I left my oyster guide at home so we relied on the waitress’ notes.