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Hog Island Oysters - buyer beware...

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...

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  1. 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

    1. 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. "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. 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. 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

              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

                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. 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. 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

                  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

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

                    1. re: RWCFoodie

                      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

                        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

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

                          1. re: RWCFoodie

                            We love you, CarrieWas218! :-)