I had a rare unplanned new experience last week. One I did not expect to have, ever.
We had arranged to meet our dear friends Bettina and Virginia at Blue Island Oyster Bar for our monthly fish-and-chips outing. I chose this venue because it is also part of the Winter Warmer passport program, which we have been enjoying all month (including earlier in the week at La Biblioteca with cousin Karen). I emphatically did not choose it for the oysters, and didn’t really even give their presence on the menu a second thought.
My Winter Warmer special was a Sayville Sling (the name refers to the location of the Oyster Farm on Long Island with which the restaurant is partnered) made with St. George green chile vodka (yum!), which I really enjoyed. After B & V arrived, our outstanding server explained the menu, taking care to point out the daily oysters available on a sushi-style paper menu. Once she walked away, it somehow came up that I had never eaten a raw oyster and did not intend to start now. Bettina immediately called me out, with “hey, what about your 50 new experiences and commitment to trying new things?” Drat. With no religious or medical impediments to eating raw oysters, it was time to (as they say) “put up or shut up.”
So when our server returned, I asked her what she would recommend should it possibly be the case that one had never eaten a raw oyster before. She made some recommendations and left us to our menus and our laughter. B & V & I each chose an oyster from those recommendations and marked the oyster sheet accordingly. A few minutes later, a lovely tray arrived.
I watched first to get a little insight on technique, then added some cocktail sauce to my oyster and went for it. It was actually pretty tasty. I’m not sure I’ll be eating many oysters at $3-4 each, but I might be tempted to try them again at happy hour prices.
The rest of our meal was also very tasty. Maureen went traditional with the (not so traditional) cracker-crusted fish and chips and I went for the clam pasta, one of my favorite dishes. Neither disappointed.
I would recommend Blue Island Oyster Bar without reservation. (You will want a reservation, though, as the place was hopping by the time we left, and it was a Thursday night.)