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Introduce me to Oysters

We stopped for beer and shrimp at a seafood restaurant a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out they're famous for their oysters. They had lists of what was in stock, a whole menu page of different combos you could get, the works. I've never had them. I hate to waste good money on gross food, and I know oysters are an acquired taste (it's more the texture I assume), but I'm adventurous and they looked interesting.

So introduce me, oyster lovers! If I'm giving it a go for the first time, what do you recommend?

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    1. re: bbqboy

      Los Angeles. Though I'm open to restaurants, etc. I'm more interested in just general opinions--what kinds should I look for or avoid or try or will I be really grossed out?

      1. re: thursday

        I know this may be sacrilegious, but you should consider steamed oysters in black bean sauce. You can find this in Cantonese seafood restaurants in the SGV. I think raw oysters are good, but I prefer mine cooked.

    2. Thursday, oysters... Oyster, Thursday.

      ;)

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

      My advice??

      Ask questions.. find a local fishmonger and tell him/her you're an oyster virgin.. get some tasting in before you spend good dosh on a resto meal that you might hate.

      My personal preference.. freshly shucked, with a simple squeeze of lemon.

      If that grosses you out, find a good oyster bar/resto.. plenty here in my home town that do a tapas thingy of various oysters, and try some cooked ones.

      Mayve even get some smoked oysters (available in cans in most supermarkets) and give then a try... although they are a LONG way from the beauty of the real thing

      1 Reply
      1. re: purple goddess

        "Thursday, oysters... Oyster, Thursday."

        I was gonna say that.

        DT

      2. Start with small and North East Coast (NE England and up) although Chincoteagues are good too.

        West Coast are too big until later in your quest (but really good for stew)

        go to New Orleans and hit either Felix or Acme and dig in. then you'll know.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          I prefer the smaller West Coast oysters like kumamotos, to what I think of as generally larger East Coast ones - though I'm no expert.

          1. re: MMRuth

            West vs.East: the ones from Tomales Bay are usu. good, but the stuff from Puget Sound is not among my favorites.

        2. "I lost my oyster cherry to a saucy little Bluepoint from Maine. She was full-bodied, voluptuous, her skin glistened and she curved in ways that would make a bishop stutter. Her shell brimmed with fresh seawater and she was wore nothing but a come-hither look, some fresh lemon juice and a few strategically placed drops of cocktail sauce. I'll never forget that sunny afternoon, there in Morro Bay, where the pounding surf matched the pounding of my heart and a boy became a man."

          Hang on, I need a moment....

          Okay.

          I'm still learning about oysters, so here's what I've learned so far:

          Above all else, make sure the oysters you eat are as fresh as you can get. Oysters should taste like the sea. One of my bucket list items is to go out on an oyster boat and eat some oysters that have just been harvested and shucked.

          Since you're in LA, are you near Glendale? I used to live there, and Fish King seafood market on Glendale Ave. above the 138 carried good quality, fresh seafood and the guys there were helpful and knowledgeable.There are many good fish markets in LA, FK is just the one familiar to me.

          There are various arguments pro and con about West Coast vs. East Coast and warm water vs. cold water oysters. My preference is for cold water oysters from as far north on either coast as I can get. Try some of each and make up your own mind.

          There's no wrong way to dress an oyster. You're eating it so put what you like on it. Just be aware the simpler and cleaner the flavor of your dressing, the more the oyster taste comes through. A few drops of lemon juice, hot sauce or cocktail sauce are common dressings.

          Look for a good seafood restaurant that offers a variety of oysters and ask for a sampler plate--one or two of every oyster. The busier a fish market or seafood resto is, the better. High volume means higher levels of product turnover. Seafood is less likely grow old in the walk-in before it's served.

          Links to helpful CHOW oyster discussions:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/190150

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/471281 (Best oyster bar in LA?

          )

          Best success to you in your education!

          1 Reply
          1. re: KenWritez

            Phew, KenWritez.. you live up to your moniker! Thank goodness Child Protective Services wasn't around when I was four years old scarfing my first oysters with my grandpa and his pal Andreyev on that jetty on Tomales Bay! Between the three of us we wiped out a croaker sack of tiny Tomales Bay oysters. Give me my raw oysters small, cold, and fresh, with that wee squeeze of lemon. The big question is: To Chew or Not to Chew? I, before I swallow, diddle the oyster with my molars just enough to release those exquisitely seductive juices. I have never had my fill of oysters. Never.

          2. I adore oysters, but didn't acquire a taste for them until I was well into my 20's. My recommendation is to start with smaller ones and start with them fried then work your way up with prepared oysters (Rockafeller, etc.) to raw (mmmmmmm).

            3 Replies
              1. re: dolores

                Almost.

                Raw oysters and foie gras. Now *that* is food of the gods!

                1. re: dolores

                  I agree. I got hooked on them.
                  They're a lot like fresh, salty scallops. So if you like scallops........

                  DT