August 8, 2019
All About Oysters
This al fresco dining season, it’s all about oysters! We’ve got the lowdown on the different types of oysters available on the market, the nuances that make them taste the way they do, and tips on how to best select and enjoy them.
Oysters of the same species can have significant differences in flavor coming from just a few miles apart in location. Just as wine is affected by terroir, oysters are affected by merrior. This term refers to the fact that oysters are impacted by the body of water they come from, the organisms they feed on, ocean currents and tidal pulls, mineral contents, temperature, and more.
East Coast vs West Coast
Typically, oysters are listed on menus by geographical region, being sourced from either the East coast or the West coast. East coast oysters are larger in size, salty, briney, and chewy with mineral notes. West coast oysters, on the other hand, are smaller in size, round, sweet and plump often with notes of cucumber, melon and seaweed.
When in doubt, choose a variety of both so you can taste them all!
How to Properly Enjoy
Fresh oysters should smell faintly salty and cool like an ocean breeze (and NOT like the bottom of a bucket).
You should always seek out the live shuck, meaning your oysters should be shucked on-site specifically for your order. Skip any that have been pre-shucked.
Additionally, asses the “liquor,” which is the juice that sits in the shell. It should be clear, never cloudy.
Finally, add your garnish of lemon, cocktail sauce, or mignonette (red wine vinegar and shallot).
No matter your preference, we hope you dig in and enjoy one of summer’s (and C&A’s) favorite eats!
Best Places to get Oysters
- aether Fishtown in Philadelphia, PA
- Barclay Prime in Philadelphia, PA
- Oyster House in Philadelphia, PA
- Parc in Philadelphia, PA
- Vernick Fish in Philadelphia, PA
- The Olde Bar in Philadelphia, PA
- The Crab Trap in Somers Point, NJ
- Lambertville Station Restaurant in Lambertville, NJ