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Mar 23, 2014 12:59 PM

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

We (hubby and I) are headed to NOLA on Wednesday and will be there for a week. We love oysters, esp. raw. After reading about dirty muddy shells at Casamento's and Acme, we are wondering where to get our fix at a reasonable price. Staying in the Quarter, no vehicle. Thanks.

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  1. Never had that problem. The insides are never muddy.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. We ate oysters at Cochon, Felix, and Luke without encountering any problems with mud so you might want to consider those place. (I didn't read the post the OP is referring to, so I don't know if those three restaurants served muddy oysters to someone.)

        Having said this, I'll confess that I'm a fan of tangy/briny oysters and Gulf oysters seem bland in comparison. That's why I preferred the grilled versions we ate on our trip.

        My favorite version was at Cochon. If you like food on the spicy side, consider ordering their grilled oysters with Chili butter. There was enough chili heat in the dish to walk the line at my comfort level, but that was half the pleasure: the first burst of heat followed by the mild oyster itself.

        If there was any garlic in Luke's version of oysters persillade, I couldn't discern it. There definitely wasn't any vinegar or hot sauce as it came to the table. I added about two drops of Tabasco sauce to each oyster and enjoyed the results, although I think Crystal would have been a better option than Tabasco. Both have legitimate Lousiana bona fides.

        I enjoyed the grilled oysters with white wine and lemon at Felix. Less enthusiasm for their raw oysters, but that had to do with the flavor of the oyster itself and nothing to do with mud or poor shucking.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Indy 67

          There was no specific Chowhound post regarding muddy oysters at Casamento's, but it did come up in many reviews that we read, hence my question.

          We also prefer briny oysters. Our absolute favourites are Chincoteague, but as we are in Canada don't have many opportunities to have them.

          The grilled oysters with chili butter at Cochon sound fabulous.

          Do you know if any of the oyster bars serve mignonette with their oysters, or can it be ordered? Is green Tabasco ever available?


          1. re: durhamgal

            I must be ignorant but I do not see how mud can remain on the shells from harvesting to shucking. Oysters are removed from the bed and hauled up through a layer of water. Put into a water well on the boat, filled with, you know, water. Taken to the processing plant where they are washed with, again, water. Sorted by size and boxed or bagged. Transported to some extremely famous restaurants where they sit on ice at the raw bar. Then they are picked up by an experienced food service professional who shucks them but pays no attention to the mud on the shell which must come off easily when the unsuspecting oyster eater eats the oyster. Seems like some magical mud to me.

            1. re: Chulacat

              Seems like you've never taken a sack home and poured it out. Mud everywhere. At oyster bars you often see the shuckers scrubbing the outer shell before shucking. It removes the mud and if they don't scrub, you'll notice.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                Absolutely true. Sticky, sticky mud....anyone who thinks that Gulf Coast (esp LA) oysters aren't muddy as hell on the exteriors has never experienced them.

                And since when do oysters go from the fisherman to the "processing house". Many LA oysters go from the fisherman to a wholesaler to a restaurant with minimal handling. All are certainly NOT sorted by size or washed.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  My experience is with Texas oysters, same deal, no processing house. We can by them right where the boat unloads and where they are sacked.

            2. re: durhamgal

              Chincoteagues! You are a woman of taste and discernment! Did you ever make it to Pony Penning Day?

              At Felix, there was no mignonette. You're given an empty cup where you mix the ketchup, horseradish, and, I think, Tabasco that was available on each table. Since Tabasco contains less vinegar than Crystal, I thought the sauce needed more acid. (One lone wedge is provided with the plate of oysters.) I prefer mignonette and, even when eating cocktail sauce, I like mine quite acidic, I asked for many additional lemon wedges and kept squeezing the small wedges until I got something closer to what I prefer. But it wasn't mignonette!

              I suspect any restaurant with red Tabasco on each table also has one bottle of green somewhere in house.

              I got grilled oysters in the other places so mignonette wasn't an issue.

              1. re: Indy 67

                Alas, no, we were never there in the summer, only in the fall. We did go to the Chincoteague Oyster Festival once. Lots of fun!

                Sounds like we have much the same taste in oysters. I agree about the Crystal (which I believe is not available here, although we do have Texas Pete). I'll be sure to ask for extra lemon wedges, and think I'll carry a little bottle of green Tabasco in my purse :)

                One more day - can't wait!

          2. Casamento's is about the only place I have been that they were exceptionally muddy. When they were that muddy some of the mud got onto the meat or when I drank the nectar. Felix's were clean and no one offered mignonette, Gulf Oysters are so plump and have their own flavor. they are my favorite but we can not get them because their shell is so thick therefore expensive to ship.

            1. Pascal's Manale has an oyster bar in their front room. Always cold and delicious. IMHO the best oysters and experience in NOLA. The French Quarter mainstays (Acme, Felix) have moved away from quality in order to meet the needs of the tourists.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sirvelvet

                We have a dinner reservation at Pascal's Manale, and will definitely be eating oysters there. The entire menu sounds really good; making choices will be the difficult part.