Food, Drink, Recipes

Chef's Night Out

Oysters in BasketsA nice luxury for a chef is to have someone else cook for you and know you will enjoy the offerings. We, that is my wife Christine and I, are new to the Charleston, SC area having moved here jus a year ago. Dining options have been limited due to the pandemic. We have discovered though, that oysters are a culinary touchstone in these parts. I had never been a huge fan of oysters on the halfshell. I think that dates back to my early career at Disneyland's Club 33. It's a private club for members and VIP guests. This was circa 1974 and I was worker under guidance from Chef Rudy Stoy. He as old school European and at this point in his career, taking shortcuts. On occasion we did oysters on the halfshell. We used oyster pre shucked in a bucket on recycled shells. 

Advance to Charleston 2021. We went out to dine at a restaurant called The Darling Oyster Bar. There were six oyster selections on the days menu from up and down the Eastern seaboard. We had hit the jackpot when we found out is was happy hour and oyster were $1.00 each! We ordered two of everything. What is remarkable are the subtle nuances of texture, flavor and brine intensity. I enjoyed the "Low Tides" so much I ordered another ½ dozen. By the way, the regular menu items are well thought out and prepared. We enjoyed Creole Shrimp, Crab Cakes, and Avocado Toast.

External-content.duckduckgoI recall an oyster dish we used to prepare at Le Gavroche, London, circa 1978. I was sous chef working under the late Chef Albert Roux. We had a dish on the menu called Huîtres Françine. Oysters were shucked, a ring of lobster mousseline piped onto the shell and baked, oysters poached in champagne and set on the cooked lobster mousse, a cream sauce made from the cooking liquids and glazed over the oyster, a fine julienne of cucumber and a final flourish of Beluga caviar on top. What luxury!

By the way, we used to get the Russian Beluga from a shadowy source that would show up at the back door. They would open the 1 kilo tins for sampling and having made our choice, would get paid in cash. I later found out that they were smuggling the caviar into the country in the diplomatic pouch and selling it black market.

Bravo to Darling Oyster Bar for a job well done.

Oyster Menu 2021 copy

 

 


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