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Hog Island Oysters - buyer beware...

CarrieWas218 Sep 25, 2011 10:00 AM

I've been a little depressed lately for a variety of reasons.

Business took me to Oxbow Market in Napa yesterday afternoon and spying an empty seat at Hog island Oyster's bar, I thought I would treat myself to a quick snack.

The guy behind the bar was really great in letting me taste the difference between an Albariño and a Verdicchio as they currently did not have a Muscadet by the glass.

So I ordered my assorted dozen and the Albariño and settled in for 20 minutes of joy.

Then the bill came: $46.87.

$32 for oysters, $11.50 for the Albariño, and $3.37 tax. I should have looked that oysters were more than $2.50 each and I should have asked if the Albariño was in the same price range as their other whites by the glass (around $8), so I am completely and totally at fault.

But - dang - $50+ for twenty minutes was totally not worth it. I'm back to finding the $1 oyster nights and dealing with crowds...

  1. mariacarmen Sep 30, 2011 08:11 AM

    nothing like an unexpected huge bill to further depress!

    I don't see the "outrage" at the restaurant people are dinging you for here, and you did say it was your own fault. jeez, people....

    6 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen
      rabaja Sep 30, 2011 03:04 PM

      Seriously, I was thinking that too when I read this the other day.

      Hope things are looking up carriewas218!

      A trip to Hog Island and shucking yourselves may be the answer. It did the trick for me last month.

      1. re: mariacarmen
        RWCFoodie Oct 2, 2011 03:52 PM

        Me too... I don't get the comments. Here's another "jeez, people". Hope the depression is lifting for you carriewas218.

        1. re: RWCFoodie
          estnet Oct 2, 2011 04:48 PM

          Me three - when you're depressed a little kindness can go a loooong way and sadly, a bit of a hit can seem MUCH worse. All the best to you carrie.

          1. re: estnet
            CarrieWas218 Oct 2, 2011 08:34 PM

            Thanks, everyone... Yes, my "buyer beware" comment was a self-incriminating face-palm moment and nothing else but a learning experience.

            Things ARE looking up; I spent the weekend in Monterey, Carmel and Santa Cruz - dining well at Passion Fish, Cellar Door and returning home for a great lunch today at Ubuntu in Napa.

            Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
            1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

            1. re: CarrieWas218
              RWCFoodie Oct 3, 2011 02:07 PM

              Sounds like a very healing weekend continuing today! Be well...

              1. re: RWCFoodie
                tpc Oct 3, 2011 03:58 PM

                We love you, CarrieWas218! :-)

      2. bbulkow Sep 26, 2011 09:24 AM

        I'll have to agree with the others - your outrage at Hog Island is misplaced

        $2.50 per oyster is 100% normal

        (Here's Zuni's printed menu :


        The fact that you've been getting bargain oysters is a good thing, but don't blame HIO for your previous good fortune!

        (I've gotten suckered far worse than that at the wine-by-the-glass game. $11 for a glass is also quite normal - although I think of an Albarino as a summery inexpensive wine, in a place like Oxbow I would expect a price around $11, although I might hope for $10.)

        Zuni Cafe
        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1. pilinut Sep 26, 2011 12:44 AM

          I feel for (and with) you. Oysters and muscadet are my favorite antidote to winter blues (as if I needed an excuse). But the prices charged on this side of the Pacific for shucked oysters seem pretty steep to me, so I content myself with either driving up to Marshall with like-minded shuckers for an oyster picnic or buying a pile of rocks and shucking them solo, to the strains of my favorite opera and accompanied by a well-chilled muscadet. . . Some of us tried the Hog Island $1 Happy Hour at the Ferry Plaza and didn't save much money--the oysters were soooo tiny that we needed a couple of dozen (each) just to take the edge off our craving.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pilinut
            susancinsf Sep 26, 2011 06:54 AM

            the size of the oysters has to do with which species is on special; often but not always it is Kumamotos, which are small, but delicious.

            1. re: susancinsf
              pilinut Sep 26, 2011 04:06 PM

              I adore HI's Kumamotos! I can never walk away without buying some whenever they are available. Yes, they are small, but so sweet and very easy to shuck. The ones we got at the $1 Happy Hour were about half the size of HI's regular Kumamotos--don't know if they usually serve the runts or if we were just unlucky.

          2. c
            chuckl Sep 25, 2011 11:33 PM

            Your title implies they did something underhanded. They didnt. You just didnt pay attention to the price. Its a shame you let it spoil what sounds like an otherwise enjoyable respite.

            1. tpc Sep 25, 2011 09:08 PM

              "buyer beware" makes it sound like they're doing something sneaky or underhanded. If you had asked the bartender how much an assorted dozen was, or looked at a menu, perhaps we wouldn't be here. I understand how you feel, sometimes I like to pretend I'm one of the snooty "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" crowd, and in this case, you got a sense of what it's like to be part of that club.

              1. jason carey Sep 25, 2011 12:12 PM

                Its not buyer beware.. It is you were not paying attention to what you were doing.. That being said, frankly what do you expect in a place made to cater to the rich?

                1. escargot3 Sep 25, 2011 10:09 AM

                  Yesterday , we enjoyed fabulously plump little oysters -- 6 for $6 at Farallon's happy hour. Along with a glass of Gloria Ferrer bubbly for $6.

                  Highly recommended.

                  450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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