The Marshall Store - Report
We visited Point Reyes this weekend and decided to try the Marshall Store, despite rumors that it might be closed. Lucky for us those rumors were false.
We were all frozen so started with the clam chowder. It was good, with lots of clams (probably from cans), not too many potatoes (which might have been cut fresh), and lots of Italian parsley. It warmed us up nicely, but is not something I would go back for.
We then had 6 raw oysters, 6 barbequed oysters, and 6 Rockefeller oysters. Each half dozen was $8.00 and came with some nice bread, cocktail sauce, and lemons.
The raw oysters were my favorite, as they were the freshest I have ever tasted since I was on the Chesapeake Bay in 1972. (My uncle caught them that time.) Sweet, briny, and delicious, these had clearly just been hauled out of the bay. We ate them with no accompaniments and they were spectacular.
The BBQ oysters were wonderful as well; just barely cooked and with a small amount of the great sauce. It didn't overpower the oysters, just complemented them nicely.
I didn't want to get the Oysters Rockefeller, as the list of ingredients seemed to go on forever (swiss cheese, spinach, yogurt, bread crumbs, (yada, yada, yada), but I figured maybe I could get my kids to try an oyster this way. Didn't work, and I won't try it again as all the stuff overpowers those wonderful oysters.
Next time I'm getting them all raw.
The Marshall Store: http://www.themarshallstore.com/
CASH ONLY!! They do have an ATM machine - didn't use it.
I went 6/5/11 and the prices for oysters are:
Raw $11 for 6, but they give you 7
Bbq $12 for 6, but they give you 7
Chorizo (w/ chorizo butter) $12 for 6, but they give you 7
Kilpatrick (w/ bacon & worchestershire) $13 for 6, but they give you 7
Rockefeller (w/ spinach & cheese) $14 for 6, but they give you 7
Smoked w/ Crostini $12 for 6, but they give you 7
Mussels - don't remember cost, probably about same as oysters
clam chowder - don't remember, maybe $5-7? Self serve.
Dungeness crab sandwich $17 - anyone try it?
I noticed that these reviews are a few years old. I try and get here at least once a month as it's a beautiful motorbike ride around the Tomales Bay/Point Reyes area. Every time I visit, the staff is always very cordial and outgoing. I usually order a combination dozen: 4 raw, 4 BBQ and 4 Rock, but on the last visit I noticed that they are adding new varieties (which I forgot to write down). The oysters are ALWAYS excellent and the preparation is spot on. The bread is just right and one of my favourites. There is a decent beer (I usually go with the Arrogant Bastard Ale) and wine selection which you can quaff on the deck or the tables along the road. Whichever you choose, you have stunning views of Tomales Bay.
Tentative downhill report: we've stopped by the Marshall store off and on for years, when we're on our way up to Hog Island Oyster Farm and have usually been pretty happy. This time around, the staff was unfriendly, all the oysters on the half shell I saw going out were individually drowned in 1/2 teaspoon of cocktail sauce (not on the side, directly on each oyster), and they didn't know how to ring up plain cooked crab. Sure enough, it looks like the liquor license was transferred in April 2007, and it seems like the place is gradually losing its magic as they lose long-time staff to routine turnover.
Still, the location right on the water makes for a pretty nice stopover if you just want a few fresh oysters so long as you ask for sauce on the side.
My husband and I first started going to the Marshall Store years ago when Cathy owned it and we loved it. The bar b q oysters are still imo the best on the planet, the right mix of garlic butter and q sauce, just a tiny bit, so the briny freshness of the plump, barely grilled oysters shines through. She had a good selection of wines, reasonably priced in the cooler including a perfect Sancerre. And of course the locale, right on Tomales Bay with the Hemingwayesque wooden sided boats bobbing in the working marina is abfab. We continued to visit after Cathy sold the place and q'd and fresh oysters were as wonderful as always, but just before she left something happened and we could no longer drink our wine on the terrace or in the store. Way inconvenient, what's an oyster without Sancerre? We continued to visit after Cathy left and last time we tried the Rocks. Nope, too much going on and you lose the oysters completely. Next time I will stick to q's and raw. Still one of my favs on the coast, but I sure hope they get the wine thing fixed. Btw, Fish in Sausalito says they are using Cathy's recipe for their q's but while they are good, and I love Fish, their q's are not as good as the Marshall Store's, but then what is.
2 weeks ago they served fresh raw oysters with mignonette on the side. Hot sauce was available. The beer/wine situation is awkward. They sell beer, but with a store license. It can't be consumed on the premises (i.e. deck or dining area). You can drink out alongside the road at benches and wine barrel tables.
Yep - I was there today (for the first time). The raw oysters ($10 for 6, up $2 from the 2007 report) were unadorned, as they should be, with the aforementioned mignonette on the side. Definitely the best oysters I've had, although I cannot say that I am a connoisseur of them. Clam chowder was good, worth getting if you have a hankering for more than just oysters.
Judging by what the cashier told someone who was buying beer, oaktowngirl's information is exactly correct - no beer/wine consumption on the premises, but OK at the tables along the highway.
As I mentioned this was my first time here, but the wife & I found it very charming.