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Oesterbar, Leidseplein, Amsterdam

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Buzzy2 Jun 13, 2011 03:40 PM

I used to come here years ago and had fond memories, so I just had dinner there tonight and I was not disappointed. It may not be the best in the world at what it does, but it isn't bad at all.

I started with an odd choice - steamed oysters with marinated mushrooms and chopped cucumber salsa. The oysters were plump and tender. They were a bit overwhelmed by the vinegar of the mushrooms, but steamed oysters don't have as much flavor as raw, salty ones. The cucumber salsa didn't have much flavor. It was an enjoyable dish, but next time I might choose the raw variety or one of several other cooked preparations inclusing tempura style and Rockefeller.

Next I tried their Lobster Bisque, which was totally different from any other Lobster Bisque I remember tasting. The broth was not creamy and not very thick, but it was intensely flavored, rich and dark. It had a mild bitterness that didn't really detract from the flavor, but it seemed odd. The waiter placed a spoonful of what could have been creme fraiche but was called Cognac Cream in the soup and I gradually mixed it in. It didn't seem to have much of an effect on the flavor or consistency. in the bottom of the bowl they had placed what they said were cooked shrimp, but they looked and tasted like crawfish tails. I could have done without them, especially since I had hoped for a few small chunks of lobster. In spite of the slight bitterness, the lack of a creamy, thicker broth and the crawfish, I really enjoyed the intensity of the broth. I would order this again.

My main course, suggested by the waiter, was Sole Meuniere. I think it was the most expensive main course on the menu. LOL It was pan fried so it had a nice crispness and buttery flavor with enough salt to bring out the flavors. I asked for it not to be filleted so that I could eat all the good parts that they tend to throw away. I worked on the whole fish myself, eating the bony parts around the edges and even the crispiest part of the tail. The fillet meat was moist and tender, the crispy bits exactly as they should be. I have to admit that it wasn't the best sole meuniere that I have ever had, but it was very good and worth ordering again.

This was served with pan fried potatoes which were mostly very soft in the middle and crispy outside. They were flavorful and I enjoyed them. It was also served with a salad, which appeared as an after thought and I just had no room at that point.

I should note that they served me bread twice. The first time I receeived thin slices from a baguette that qualified as one of the best I have had in quite a while, and I've been living in Paris lately. It was crisp on the outside, soft inside and flavorful without the tough texture of some over-kneaded breads. I loved it. The butter served with it was also excellent. I asked for more and the second time I got a different bread which was almost as good, still crusty on the outside but a bit lighter in texture overall.

If I had to grade them, I'd probably give them an 8+ out of 10. I am partial to simple, traditional preparations and not interested in gourmet cuisine, so perhaps that helps in understanding my perspective.