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I had my first oyster yesterday. Not really impressed.

Me and Donna went to Loch Fyne yesterday, and you can get a single oyster for £1.50, so I thought why not.

It arrived on a big tray of ice, with a slice of lemon, tobasco sauce, worcester sauce and some chilli dip thing. I picked it up and chewed it, but IMO it had a mild chickeny taste and the rest was salt and a kind of harbour taste. I bit into the lemon slice a bit halfway through.

My other starter was moules mariniere, which I enjoyed way more. I think I would have oysters again as part of a beef-shin and oyster pie, which I've wanted to make for a while, but on their own I'm not a big fan.

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  1. Each to their own, I guess.

    I love oysters, although I'm very much a late-comer to them.

    Albeit a large chain, Loch Fyne do serve up pretty decent seafood, IMO. Often have some cracking lunch deals (currently £10 for two courses, which might be marinated herring followed by grilled plaice).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      Yeah, the mussels were spot on, and Donna's fish cakes and Goan curry were great too.

      I was impressed that they let me order a lobster off-menu, one hlaf with garlic butter, one with regular butter. One side was a bit cold though. And the chips were awful, but when they came to ask if everything was alright, I said I hated the chips, and could they take them off for us, and she was fine with that.

      It cost a lot what with the lobster and the wine (which wasn't great), but I would go again. Sorely tempted by the duck served with bubble and squeak... And that was on the £10 for 2 courses deal.

      Oh, and there's a voucher for a free glass of wine on their site with the a la carte too.

    2. (disclaimer, I Love oysters)

      I'm happy you gave them a try!! there are many people who will simply dismiss food because they _imagine_ it's not good.

      Eating only one variety of oysters is one thing, eating 2, 3 different types makes it much more fun and you can tell the difference between them.

      An eating them in a restaurant is not fun either, lot more expensive.

      M.

      1. That is more or less my life-time relationship with oysters in a nutshell. I grew up in an oyster-loving family, and always had to at least try one. There isn't enough cocktail sauce in the world to make them taste good to me. Eventually my parents accepted that I'd tried them enough times to know I didn't like them and started adding boiled shrimp to the menu for our Christmas Eve oyster roasts.

        1. Well Soop, I'm glad you at least _tried_ an oyster. Personally, I Love them having first tasted them as a young teen-ager. I agree with Maxmilien up-thread, there are several kinds of oysters and each has its own distinct characteristic. One flavor does not fit all...

          http://www.listphile.com/Oyster_Varie...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Yeah, had to try at least one. Are they really that different?

            1. re: Soop

              I don't have a good enough palate to tell a difference between the two oysters you're likely to come across, Soop.

              "Rock" oysters are available all year round, while the "natives" (which I think are larger) are only on sale between September & April. We were in Whitstable in July - great place for oysters.

          2. I had gone nearly 15 years since my last oyster (which by the way was bad - I got terribly ill). Then someone offered me one and I couldn't refuse. I skipped the sauce and just squeezed a minute amount of lemon on it. I sucked it back and was impressed by the briny taste. My one question, and I do not claim to be an expert, but I have rarely heard of people chewin gthe oyster. I think you may have eaten it wrong. From what I know, you're supposed to enjoy the briny taste with the slick texture and whatever given topping you have chosen.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jhopp217

              I was going to chew half and swallow half, but it was too small really. I don't like the idea of paying for the food and just swallowing it straight, so I would have chewed it anyway.

              1. re: Soop

                So you feel you get a better value if you chew the oyster rather than letting it slide down your throat?

              2. Had my first oysters at a restaurant in Calais, as part of an "assiette de fruits de mer" starter, only last year. My notes tell me each plate had three oysters, whelks, winkles, grey shrimps, a couple of prawns and a langoustine. I followed that with a monkfish tagine, cheese and chocolate fondant. Herself had a steak, the cheese and a "traditionelle Calais" - coffee cake with coffee icing and espresso icecream.

                Fabulous lunch. Hope to be back next spring and stay overnight so we can have dinner.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  I'd really like to try langouisines. I like lobster ok, but you don't really get much meat. And though I like the claws best, a langouistine is pretty much a liitle lobster tail, right?

                  1. re: Soop

                    LIttle lobster tail - or bloody big prawn.

                2. A bad oyster turned me off to nearly all seafood for decades. A few years ago I had one (1) at an excellent high end restaurant and it was one of those 'wow' experiences. I like them with red wine vinegar and shallots.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: amokscience

                    Maybe I will try them again. One day.

                  2. different types of oysters are VERY different from one another. some have a clean briny taste, others are sweeter, some more bottom of the sea, some bracing and salt. atlantic and pacific oysters taste different.

                    i tend to prefer smaller oysters to larger ones, but there is a great variance in taste and textures. do not dismiss them on one tasting

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: thew

                      Right, nice one. I suppose you'd usually only get one type in a given restaurant unless they specialised in oysters

                      1. re: Soop

                        I love raw oysters but typically only get them at seafood specialty restaurants to try to ensure best/fresh quality. And at least where I'm at, that typically means a "sampler" plate can be ordered of different varietals. I love getting a mixed dozen oysters - say 4 each of 3 types - to really get to taste how different they can be.

                        For me a good raw oyster is like a head rush of being at the ocean and getting a mouthful of briny oceany goodness. When I haven't had the chance to be at the beach for ages, it makes me feel like I'm there, for a moment. Plus I just love salty/sweet foods, so a raw oyster with lemon and hot sauce is like my perfect taste sensation.

                      2. re: thew

                        I was about to make the same point.

                        1. re: thew

                          My dad taught me to eat oysters as a young teen and then I married an oyster loving man. I agree with Thew's description, oysters can taste so different and at their best, eating one sends me straight to the smell and taste of a wonderful beach vacation vacation memory.

                          I still remember a wonderful meal where my husband and I sat at a bar right in front of a huge pile of oysters on ice and sampling different types. It was the National Grill in Allentown PA and it was a very memorable meal.

                        2. I love the original post! I thought the same thing. Here I am- a "foodie" getting to appreciate foods that I hadn't eaten growing up and I couldn't get myself to like oysters for nothin'. The first time I ate them, I was eating with my boss at a very nice seafood resto. He adored oysters and I was "too cool for school" and acted like I was so psyched to eat them too.
                          Yuck. Not that I let on, mind you.
                          Thanks for your honesty.
                          And, I love mussels, too.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: monavano

                            You remind me of the 1980's, especially in new York, when the idea of the modern Power Lunch developed. Young brokers etc often went for the raw foods in, we were told, an apparant effort to show toughness. So they ate oysteres and steak tartare. A friend at a lawfirm there told me that at least two of his collegues hated raw meat but felt compelled to make the effort. too bad, really.

                            1. re: hazelhurst

                              hah, that's crazy :D

                              If I needed to "eat tough" I'd happily order a massive steak with no sides and eat it with my bare hands!

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                Oh, I didn't stop at that stupidity. I remember eating a wonderful resto in Yountville, CA and thought I'd be oh, so sophisticated and order oysters with mignonette.
                                Nope, still hated them!
                                Man, the money and stomach space I wasted on such a great opportunity!

                                1. re: monavano

                                  At least you know you don't like them though. I'd much rather be that way than stick to cheese and tomato pizza and fish fingers.

                                  One of our friends is like that. Another friend came back from a food fair with some wild boar sausages and some nice cheeses and a baguette. Every mouthful, she was insistant that she didn't want any, but we persueded her, and each time she liked it.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    Mignonette? What's that, please?

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Basically a champagne/champagne vinegar-based sauce served with raw oysters. I thought it sounded awfully fancy at the time ;-)

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        It's a classic sauce...usually white wine, some vinegar(sherry is the favorite) shallots...used to see it all the time. Wilton's has a classic one.

                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                          'Tis indeed a classic - just never heard the name of it. It's what was served the first time I had oysters - red wine vinegar, shallot, pepper, a hint of chilli. Lovely.

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            Mignonette is much milder than the usually overwhelming cocktail and horseradish sauce. A shucker at the Union Oyster House in Boston recommended that a "pure" way to enjoy raw oysters and really enhance the natural flavor is with a few grains of salt and a few drops of white vinegar.
                                            When I lived in Manhattan I frequently enjoyed the Oyster Bar beneath Grand Central, where they routinely have 15-20 fresh varieties on the blackboard. I would get a mixed dozen with 3-4 varieties and really savor the contrasts. Oh, and with a good chablis.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              I once saw a reference to oysters and lemon(only) as a "cultural milestone." Somewhere in his Nero Wolfe books, Rex Stout lets off a remark about a gourmet dinner (of the "Ten for Aristology") to be held at the home of (from memory) "Benjamin Shriever, the shipping magnate who, every Nov 1, wrote a letter to the Times [New York, that is] denouncing the use of horseradish on oysters."
                                              I disagree but it is funny.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                My German father would put a few drops of vodka on his oysters.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  YES!!!!! To me, oysters are definitely in the category of "less is better." After "eating" the oyster, tip the shell up to your mouth for the ultimate briny sea flavor.

                                                2. re: Harters

                                                  I find the shallot and vinegar too strong with good oysters, actually. I like a drop of lemon and a tiny bit of fresh horseradish on then (or a speck of Tabasco). Chablis please...could I have this now, please...
                                                  Soop - I have only had oysters once in the UK (at Bentley's, in London, they were brilliant, from Cornwall) but I generally find I like the ones from the most northerly waters the best here - Prince Edward Island ones are particular favorites.
                                                  I'm crazy about them but my husband, who loves seafood, finds them uninteresting, not repellent, just dull.

                                      2. Hahahaha! The subject line to this post is simply hilarious!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: babydoctor

                                          A pile of Oysters,(malpecs) draped over a momofuku inspired Bo Ssam OH...........I just Blacked out!!!!!!!!!

                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                            I generally eat Oysters once a week-can't remember ever chewing one.

                                            Of course prices here are half those in the UK maybe that's why.

                                            1. re: Sam Salmon

                                              Last UK restaurant price I paid was £1 per oyster (these were rock oysters, not the more expensive natives). How does that compare with where you are?

                                        2. There are many different varieties of oysters, and their flavors cover a pretty broad range. Then there's the question of quality - they can run the gamut from marginal to sublime, even without considering variety.

                                          In your shoes I wouldn't rush out to try another - you might or might not enjoy it. But speaking from personal experience, you can eat a fair number of oysters before finding one that's truly delicious. That's no guarantee you'll ever really like 'em; just don't rule out the possibility.

                                          1. I'm in a 12 step program for oyster addiction. Be careful!

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              And moving to New Mexico was steppe 1?

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                As long as you like 'em smoked and canned, distance from the sea isn't a problem...

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  Yes, will you forgive my past transgressions? Step 5?
                                                  Is there a 12 step for green chile?

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      Actually, we get fresh, shucked oysters in a plastic container at our local Smith's. Gud n'uff for New Eengland oyster stew or oyster Po' Boy.

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        The Willapoint farm grown oysters from Washington state? I get those here in Florida, and they are good fried or in my oyster dip.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          When I get back to Maine in June, there are 2 oyster farms in Hanckock Co. that shall be depleted! June & July I will become a pure Marivore!

                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                            Try to have some of those terrific belons..I always have those at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central (well, when they have them...)

                                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                                              For 15 year The Oyster was a special event at Xams w/ my dad, my bro and me.

                                              2. Loved Manovo's post. Hee hee. There's an historic place out here called the Oyster Bar, and they serve them a few different ways.

                                                The main way was in a large shot glass with a delicious salty concoction that tastes like a bloody Mary with plenty of worchestshire and topped off with beer. It sounds disgusting, but it was actually quite good.

                                                1. My suggestion would be try some from different areas. My husband took me out to a lovely place for lunch and he bought us a big assorted tray of oysters from local areas near. I was shocked how different they tasted just even a few miles up the coast and found some I really didn't care for where others were rather tasty and left me wanting more.

                                                  1. I love/hate oysters. I love the flavor. But, it has to be in some cooked form. The raw form makes me queasy - The icky texture and cold touch just doesn't do it for me.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ediblover

                                                      And I'm the opposite - just like them raw.

                                                    2. Been eating 'arsters since I first felt the wet sand between my toes and the salt water of the sea.

                                                      Had a fun experience in grad school eating them monthly in a study conducted by the state shellfish commission, seen here:

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6661...

                                                      2 Replies
                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Actually, quite sociable, as our cadre wondered for the first few days, if we'd taken the bullet in that oyster roulette. Nothing like the cocked pistol of those shellfish officials, to give worry to what kind of gastro we'd get.

                                                      1. Oysters, from place to place, do indeed taste different. some are sweeter, some are brinier, some are creamy, some are crisper. i do a combo of chewing some, swallowing others whole. But even when you are swallowing whole, you won't be wasting your money - you'll still get the aroma, that ocean flavor, the mouthfeel.....mmmm!

                                                        i personally like them without any accoutrements - just as the good sea made them. the only thing I'll sometimes put on a few (if i'm going thru a couple dozen) is some fresh grated horseradish.

                                                        i would definitely encourage you to try a sampling before you give up on them.

                                                        1. I'm with you, oysters leave me cold. The only way I can stand to eat them at all is raw, with horseradish, and swallowed as quickly as possible so they spend as little time as possible anyplace where I'm still aware of them.

                                                          I dated a guy who was crazy for oysters so I've eaten many many many more oysters than I care to remember. They're just not for me.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                            I cannot for the life of me imagine eating "many many many more" of a single thing that I don't like. So many foods, so little time :) Plus in most places they're not a budget food so that really would be a waste of money also.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              If you go to an oyster bar - which is where he usually wanted to go - then you'd better get used to eating oysters. Especially when it's oyster night.

                                                              I ate them to make him happy. If it had been liver, he'd have been out of luck. As it was, it made him happy to share something he really loved with me. That was OK with me. Sometimes people who care for each other put themselves out to make the other person happy. That's just part of being in a relationship. It was doable, so I did it.

                                                              Now, however, it pleases me best not to eat them.

                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                Ah, he was oyster-loveable but not liver-loveable :)

                                                                When I go to Grand Central Oyster Bar, I don't always have oysters. I don't "always" have any particular thing. But at the tender age of 63, I've gotten pretty comfortable with not defining my relationships by the food we share. Too many other things to fight about!

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  And that's part of it too. It was my first relationship after my divorce, lo, these many moons ago. These days I'd still go along for the ride, but I'd be way more assertive about eating something more to my preference. It was great fun to watch him suck down those oysters though. He just shone with joy. I've never seen anyone get so happy over food.

                                                                  And trust me. NO ONE is liver-loveable!

                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                    Liver was on my list of try-try-again foods this year. I bought some veal liver thinking if I could eat it all maybe the veal would be milder. My husband loves it so he cooked it. First bite was only a little disgusting. Second bite I spit out.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      You're doing better than I would! I was well over 30 before I could tolerate having a mushroom in my mouth - because the texture reminds me of liver!

                                                                      Liver makes me gag!

                                                                      No offense to those who love it. Unfortunately it was used as an instrument of abuse when I was a child.

                                                          2. Oyster Shooters, w/ tequila or vodka. After the third one, you'll love 'em!

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              After the third one, you'll love anything or anybody!

                                                              Almost 20 years ago we went to the Masters golf tournament. We stopped in a bar at the end of the day. Near the course. I ordered an oyster shooter (Stoli) and loved it. There were a group of men standing behind us at the bar (real after-golf crowd). One of the men said "If you'll do that again, I'll pay for it." I thanked him most graciously but had the sense to decline.

                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                Fresh oysters on the half-shell accompanied by a vodka gimlet (up, icy cold) always put a smile on my face.

                                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                                  Like this? Martini though. In Rio.

                                                                   
                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                      Had to have been 10-12 oz.. At lunch. BIG nap that day.