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Oysters

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I had a few oysters last night at Le Bon Temps. I heard the shucker say they were from Texas, but I don' t know exactly where. They were small, and they were the saltiest oysters I've ever had by a factor of 100. They were nearly inedible, they were so salty. Anyone else had this experience?

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  1. I love salty oysters, but as you describe them it sounds bad. I don't eat raw oysters in the summer, the best are in December-March when the water temperatures are in the 50's. Texas oysters are really good, especially Matagorda Bay. I was in Seabrook yesterday, a town on Galveston Bay, and interestingly, one of the seafood markets had fresh oysters in the shell from Louisiana, we checked the tag on the sack. I did pick up some beautiful red snapper and Texas Gulf shrimp. The demise of the Gulf is greatly overblown.

    2 Replies
    1. re: James Cristinian

      Which fish market to you like in Seabrook?

      1. re: Cookie Baker

        We hit the second on on the right, Rosie's? They had beautiful shrimp and very nice red snapper for 5.99 a pound. We went across the street and tried two, the last one a Vietnamese named Vu something? They had beautiful snapper for 5.59 and I bought a couple. I rarely buy fish in Seabrook, usually it is not local or very fresh, this was both.

    2. Last Thursday we went to Luke and ordered a dozen raw oysters as an appetizer. When they brought them, the waiter said they gave us 15 because they were small. I asked him where they were from and he said "up north."

      They were OK, and it was nice to get the extras. But it left me wondering whether they're not using local oysters because there aren't any available or because they're afraid of the perception that they're not safe. I'd be interested in others' recent experiences at other restaurants that serve raw oysters.

      1 Reply
      1. re: twangster

        I suspect there are a couple of reasons for this. First being the terrible impact the fresh water releases had on the oyster beds. Louisiana officials opened flood gates and leaves to let vast amounts of Mississippi water pour into the gulf to combat the oil spill, but it had a terrible effect on the beds by reducing the salinity levels. Many beds had just really recovered from the damage incurred during Katrina.

        Secondly, I suspect there is another issue due to the oil and chemicals dumped in the water. Oysters are a great indication of the contaminates in the water, as they will have a greater concentration that other seafood. I suspect most restaurants and customers are taking a wait and see attitude.

      2. I've been experiencing the same things here in Austin, TX... although we have no coast, I am from MS and support the gulf as much as possible when I buy seafood and eat out here. Over the last 3 weeks or so, all my old spots I go to for gulf coast oysters aren't serving them. (I seriously almost cried when the waiter said they had to take them off the menu.) They aren't serving TX ones either, which I think is weird. I thought it was seasonal, but the excuse given by servers was more to do with lack of being able to find a reliable source. I don't usually buy oysters from 'up north' because I support the gulf, but at one place here we were given some samplers of Blue Points and others about a month ago... they were too salty for me... especially with saltines. So unfortunate, but hoping for another recovery.

        3 Replies
        1. re: drdelicious

          There is no shortage of Texas oysters. I was at Louisiana Foods in Houston today and they had shucked Gaveston Bay oysters, and last week I was in Seabrook and several markets had oysters in the shell. Be patient, as here's the deal with Texas oysters. The general oyster season opens in early November, depending on salinity and bacteria levels. This is when all the reefs are open to commercial harvest. During the closed season, oysters are still available from private reefs leased by oystermen from the state, but not the overall commercial fleet, that's probably why you are having difficulty in Austin. I also believe demand may be lower now because of the spill, many people are terrified by anything having to do with the Gulf, from seafood to beaches. The media really did a number on the area. Most restaurants in Galveston will not sell oysters on the half shell unless they are "in season," although fried are still available. Personally, I don't eat raw oysters until December, when the water temperatures are below sixty degrees, they are a much better product. As far as a too salty oyster, I've never had one, to me the saltier the better, and what's the deal with saltines? Why ruin a good oyster?

          1. re: drdelicious

            Drdelicious........Have you been to Rusty's, Walnut Hills or Cafe Anchuca lately. Have you been to Rocca's? I'm from Cleveland, MS. Good luck. You have your hands full with those Texans.

            1. re: Littleman

              Lord have mercy don't you know ... and my hands are even more full during football season here as a poor SEC fan in the burnt orange capital. I haven't been to any of those places lately... although my dad gives me regular updates on them. When I was in high school (WCHS - cause I know it matters), I used to work at Anabelle and help out at Anchuca, so I always referred people to Walnut Hills... guests always loved it. I've heard it has new owners and seems a little revived. My dad says good things about Rusty's. I've never been to Rocca's, but I'll put it on my short list to try when I get back home. Now if I can just find fresh catfish here, I'll be set.

              James C - Thanks a million for the info on TX oysters. That will greatly help me fill my oyster needs!! I didn't realize how different it was on the TX coast compared to MS/LA. I guess they don't eat them raw on saltines with hot sauce in TX either.