Kelly the Culinarian: Food find: Clyde's second try

Monday, November 12, 2007

Food find: Clyde's second try

Lis got a job! Trust me, she's more excited about being employed than the food in the picture.

After my last sub par visit at Clyde's in Gallery Place right off the Chinatown Metro stop, I decided to give it a second try. There's always an off night.
Also, I read Kitchen Confidential over the summer and after hearing Anthony Bourdain describe his first encounter with raw oysters freshly fetched from the ocean, I decided I had to give it a try.

So off to Clyde's we trekked for a second try and a culinary adventure. First off, Clyde's does the bar scene much better than the upscale dining Tim and I were hoping for last visit. This place was packed, even though it was a Monday night. From 3 to 6 p.m., the raw bar items are half-priced, so that may have something to do with it.

We had a celebratory beer (Blue Moon with the orange) and proceeded to the ordering of raw things. Up until about a year ago, I didn't even eat sushi -- why go out and pay someone so you can eat uncooked things? How far I've come. We sat at the bar to expedite the dining process, but it still took considerable effort to capture the bartender's attention. However, when another bartender came on duty, he was far better at his job. I hope the tip went to him.

We decided to get a dozen for the three of us to share at a bargain price of $11 total. We got two of each type of oyster they had. Moving clockwise from the top, near where the empty glass is: cape breton from St. George Bay, NS; large size, plump in the shell with a brine finish; Onset point from Buzzards Bay, Mass., large size, plump in shell with a sweet finish; kusshi from Deep Bay, BC, small size, slightly briny with a sweet finish; raspberry point from New London Bay, PEI, medium size, crisp and briny with a sweet finish; Wainno, which isn't on the menu and I don't have any info and Island Creek from Duxbury Harbor, Mass., medium size, buttery taste with a briny finish.

So I started with the kusshi and decided that I wanted a purist experience -- no lemon, no sauce, no horseradish. I picked it up, slurped it off the half shell and chewed it tentatively.

It tasted like the ocean.

Maybe I don't have a refined enough palate, but I had a hard time tasting the sweet or buttery finished noted on the menu and got stuck on the briny part. However, once I added horseradish, the experience was heavenly. The meat was tender, the liquid within the oyster was delightfully salty and the overall texture and taste delightful. I guess I'm just not an oyster purist -- I like my sauce.

My only complaint was that I swear there was some gritty sand in some of the oysters. Now I know a small amount is unavoidable, but they manage to make sushi not taste like fish or have scales embedded in the nigiri. If I'm going to go raw, I at least want to feel like I'm eating something somewhat removed from the ocean.

25 comments:

bp said...

Know what you mean about the sand spoiling it some. And I also like my oyster with some sauce =)

Shar said...

I LOVE oysters! had a wonderful experience myself in an oyser bar in Paris. I didn't know there were so many varieties of oyster....and I'm with you on the sauce!

Thanks for your comment on my site re the nose piercing. Yeah, maybe it is a bit yesterday...

Cheers!

Flowerpot said...

I've never got teh hang of oysters - but I used to love sushi in my London days! Good to meet you Kelly!

Tracy Tan said...

those oysters look very nice! i like oysters but can only eat at the most 2 or 3 at one go and i need loads of Tabasco sauce and lemon with it :)

wenching & esiong said...

Thanks for visiting Sugar Bean! I love oysters very much! Maybe you can try fried oysters too. They taste really good as well! :)

Kim said...

delectable assortment of oysters Kelly...
I was brought up on oysters as I lived right on the ocean and I have been known to eat 3 dozen au naturale all at once.....
the sandy bits could have been the grit from the shells and it sometimes depends on whether they are "fresh" or they are bottled oysters put into the shell.....:)
the difference between an oyster straight from the ocean and restaurant oysters can be quite noticeable :)

T.W. Barritt said...

It took me a long time to work myself up to oysters, but it was worth it - there's something about the different sauces that brings out the best in oysters.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Hi Kelly! I love Clyde's. I went to one that looked like a rustic lodge - they brought the building all the way from Vermont or something. Congrats on having oysters!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I think you deserve some sort of award for eating the oysters...the thought of them can make me gag! Congratulations to you (for oyster consumption) and Lis (for getting a job). And thanks for making the long trip over the pond to my blog ;-)
Pigx

Asha said...

She is great poser!!:D

nicisme said...

I'm not one for oysters, but you go for it! Great photos on your blog. I lived in Tucson for nearly 6 years and I enjoyed reading your posts about your trip there.

Dagny said...

Can't say that I'm much of a fan of oysters. I'll eat them occasionally. I'm more a fan of clams and mussels instead. Either way around, they always need horseradish or a little tabasco.

katiez said...

Okay, okay....I'll give them a try!
Mon mari loves them! His sister and brother love them! Everyone I know here loves them...
I had a pre-battered, frozen, deep-fried one once - on a 'seafood platter' in a cheap restaurant and it was like rubber. I've avoided them since.
I'll re-think... I eat other stuff raw..

Tiffany said...

(i dont eat seafood) but it was still very interesting read! ;) i wonder what tasting like the ocean is like? i had no idea about the small amount of sand in oysters! very brave of you to eat some without sauces!

Deborah said...

I have actually never tried oysters before. I really want to try sometime, though!!

Maria said...

Hi Kelly!
A new name on my blog!
Thank you for visiting but thank you more for leaving a comment! :-)
How did you find me? I can see one commenter here that we have in common, being Shar!
Oysters! I have been hankering for them for a while now.. I need to get me half a dozen! I admire your willingness to eat them. And yes, they can be a bit gritty..sometimes..unfortunately.

Sushi is the best.. I need to have it weekly.
Love it that your blog has food in it!
:-)

♥ ♡ Alvin ♡ ♥ said...

Oh~ i love oyster very much! it is good if eating with the tobasco hot sauce.

dc365 said...

Two words: Orca. Platter.

Ebbit's (same franchise as Clyde's, same medriocre food but fantastic raw bar) does oyster happy hour late night when all their raw bar goes half price.

It is a real joy in my life. Details here: http://dc365.blogspot.com/2007/10/thing-71-oyster-happy-hour-at-old.html

Butters and Johnnycakes said...

You should try oysters with minuet sauce. It's wine based I think. I don't like oysters usually but I tried it w/ minuet sauce and found it quite tasty.

suicide_blond said...

sooo oysters aside..how would you rate your 2nd clydes (gal place) experience???...i used to do some"secret shopping/eating" there and report back to hq..and well it took a while for them to find their groove...and in my opinion the food and service can still be hit or miss... but with cold weather on its way...im sure ill start to crave the chili soon...
xoxo

LadyBanana said...

Ohhh I could NOT let one of those in my mouth! lol

Dr ve Thru said...

Oh no, fresh oysters, my all time favourie. I could easily have a whole dozen to myself.

It is amazingly cheap as well.

sage said...

I grew up on the water and we had just to run across the waterway to pick up oysters--I've eaten right out the water--heavenly. This also makes me think of a story I need to write about--oysters on the half shell--I'll have to remember to blog about it. nice blog Kelly and thanks for stopping by mine.

SciWonk said...

The more oysters you try, the more you'll be able to discern the flavor nuances.

Clydes' oysters are well-rated, and I tried 'em for myself recently. There were pretty good. I dislike the sports memorabilia bar scene, though.

Best oysters are at Oceanaire or Old Ebbitt. Can't decide. Hank's does well, too. Avoid Black's in Bethesda. And I was sick off Kinkead's.

Jenny G said...

Isn't Kitchen Confidential a great book? Thanks for stopping over. I have a recipe blog, but I rarely ever post there. I've never had oysters, but I love mussles and figure they're pretty similar.