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Holly Moore

The Oyster House

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Sandy:

I was in tonight, but I got done on the bar at 8 and then was down in the prep kitchen for about 45 minutes making a spiced brown sugar butter for a new hot toddy drink that'll be going on the menu for the weekend. I was out the door just a few minutes before 9. Sorry to have missed you. My regular schedule is closing on Mondays, Tues-Wed. I'm done when it's no longer busy enough to require 2 bartenders (usually through Happy Hour and then I'm gone anytime between 7-9 depending), I'm off on Thursdays and work lunch Friday and Saturdays. That will vary slightly the next couple of weeks with picking up a few different shifts for coworkers going out of town for the holidays and being closed on Xmas and New Year's Days, but that's pretty much the regular hours for me under normal circumstances.

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Some delicious new cocktails at The Oyster House the other night. I'm not sure how inherently wintery they are, but I can't imagine a nicer way to wait-out a blizzard than knocking back a few of these and having some chowder, or turtle soup...

The No Alibi

OH-LAlibi.jpg

Reposado Tequila, L'Alibi liqueur, and a smoky mist of laphroaig. Refreshing, yet complex...

The Say Goodnight Gracie

OH-Gracie.jpg

Silver Rum, Creme de Violet, rhubarb bitters. A little sweet for me, but only a little, and very layered and rich, so folks who enjoy a sweeter cocktail should totally love this. I don't think this photo quite communicates the lovely color of the drink, it's a quite elegant lavender, set-off by a lime twist. Cosmo drinkers: give this a try, it's WAY more interesting, yet approachable.

The Pluto's Mistress

OH-Pluto.jpg

Gold Rum, Averna, Cranberry. This was very big and round-tasting, almost like a Manhattan. The Averna did a great job of balancing the booze and juice, making it very full-flavored but not rummy or fruity.

Of course I was drinking these cocktails with Katie Loeb, who played a large part in their creation, so my impressions may be a little skewed by hearing the back story, but I don't think that narrative can change how they taste!

I'm not sure they're on the printed cocktail menu yet, but they may be mentioned by your server as new special drinks, or just ask for them, I think any of the bartenders can make them for you. But if you happen to catch Katie behind the bar, she'll be happy to whip one of them up, I'm sure.

I'm really jonesing for a No Alibi all of a sudden. I just need to figure out whether it's worth risking being stuck in 2 feet of snow tonight to get one...

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Whole new menu hitting the hands of our guests starting on Monday 3/15. Many new cocktails, including the False Alibi and the Say Goodnight Gracie seen above, as well as new formatting done by our own Andy DeGiulio, one if my cohorts behind the bar who is also a very talented graphic artist. Also new is the first batch of housemade Aquavit which we're serving Scandinavian style - ice cold in small stemmed glasses to sip with your oysters. :smile:

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Also new is the first batch of housemade Aquavit which we're serving Scandinavian style - ice cold in small stemmed glasses to sip with your oysters. :smile:

Aquavit! Yeah! I probably won't be able to try it for another month or so, but save some for me.

What flavor? Caraway? Dill? Coriander? Other? There are so many possibilities.

Here's a photo showing just some of the 100+ bottles (and a few other spirits)at my favorite Akavit bar in Oslo, Fryet Mat & Drinke:

fryetbarmaid.jpg

While the common conception over here of Aquavit drinking is that it has to be iced cold, the proprietor of Fryet (Lighthouse) told me it should be consumed at room temperature, otherwise the flavor nuances are hidden.

He's right. After years of storing my Linie in the freezer, I've moved it to the liquor cabinet.

Besides oysters (or cured salmon or, better yet, herring -- is that on the menu?), Aquavit is best served with beer. Here's how it was served at Fryet:

fryetdrinks.jpg

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Bob:

The aquavit recipe is one I cobbled together after research and a test batch. I'm using organic spices from an excellent source in Eugene, OR. It's predominently caraway, but there's cumin seed, coriander, dill, fennel, star anise, clove and some fresh citrus peel as well. Spices are toasted and then bruised and allowed to infuse for two weeks. The color is quite similar to the example in your photo next to the beer. I've tasted the Aalborg and the Linie and I humbly submit that this one's better. More complex and less sticky sweet. But definitely better ice cold. You still get the caraway upfront but the other layers reveal themselves slowly as it warms on your tongue. I'll certainly be happy to pour you one as I'd be very interested in your expert opinion. Thanks for sharing the pictures of Fryet! What a cool bar! I'll be adding that to my list of future places to visit...

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The new spring cocktail menu is the subject of an entry on this week's Meal Ticket blog at City Paper. Some good photos of the drinks and some unflattering pics of my cohort Andy DeGiulio and I behind the bar. :rolleyes: The pretty pink drink in the little coupe glass is the Sansom Street Sour, one of my favorites. A Hibiscus and Gin Sour with Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters floated on top for a lovely aromatic. Yummy stuff.

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Got to the OH last night with SWMBO and an out-of-town friend. Although both are of Norwegian heritage from extraction, only I ordered the Aquavit.

Katie has concocted a classic Aquavit, the major variation being the citrus. Although fruit-flavored aquavits are hardly unknown, it's less common to find a predominantly herbal/spiced aquavit with a distinct fruit component (even though in Sweden, at least, all aquavits must contain at least some carraway, if only a miniscule amount, even those varieties that are designed to be fruit-flavored).

The combination works but you also better like anise flavor, because the fennel component jumps out. It's hardly arack, but the flavor is distinct.

What pleased me most is that it arrived at the table barely chilled. That's contrary to how aquavit is most commonly served, both here and in some of Scandinavia: icy cold. As I noted upthread, the proprietor of an Oslo aquavit bar insists that cold hides the flavor.

SWMBO tried the Gin and Jersey and enjoyed it, though our companion, who tasted it after much of the ice had diluted the drink, remarked that's why she removes the ice when a drink comes to the table.

My half dozen Pemaquids were briny and easy to slip down the gullet, especially with the mignonette sauce. (I, of course, ate way too many OTCs with horseradish.) I actually started with a fresh tasting Manhattan clam chowder and finished my small plate meal with the grilled sardine, its Omega 3 fatty acid richness offset by thin slices of what tasted like a pickled yellow tomato. SWMBO, not a big fish eater, complained at first bite that her burger was too "livery" tasting . . . but she finished it and enjoyed it. The fried potatoes reminded her (and this is a compliment) of the old O&C canned potato sticks, which are impossible to find these days. Our dining companion loved the seafood gumbo, which appeared to be filé thickened.

Our only complaint is the same one we've had when dining at OH previously: noise level. Even though the room was only two-thirds full, the hard surfaces do not provide a pleasant venue for conversation. Alas, that's true of all too many restaurants these days. Is it to speed up table turnover that the designers want to amplify the sound? It didn't help that there was a party of about 12 adjacent to our table.

I think the best way to enjoy the Oyster House is when you're serious about consuming quanities of shellfish uncurtailed by dining partners and you sit yourself at the bar.

BTW, the Pemaquids were excellently shucked: not a single shell fragment and it seemed like all the valuable liquor was retained in the half-shell.

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Bob:

Always a pleasure to see you and to finally get your expert feedback on the aquavit. The anise you sense is a combination of a fraction of fennel seeds and a single star anise in each 2 liter batch. Surprised you found it that prominent, but I suppose everyone's palate is dialed differently and those things we pick up on can be completely different. My next mission is to acquire a used whiskey barrel and start to barrel age the stuff in house. I think the results of that experiment should be quite reportable. I'll let you know when that's going to happen. Meanwhile, I have to start mass production in earnest, so we can put the Bloody Viking on the cocktail menu and start serving those up with no fear of running out of aquavit...

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Today, June 4 2010 marks the one year anniversary of Oyster House! YAY! To celebrate, we're featuring our usual Happy Hour $1 oysters all day from 11:30am to 11PM. Gilding the lily is the kickoff to Philly Beer Week. We'll be tapping a firkin of Stoudt's Double IPA and there are special Beer Week Oyster shooters too. Stop by and help celebrate! Wheeeeee!

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oyster house should be ashamed to participate in beer week considering their beer pricing.

the thing is, it's weird, considering that their wine pricing is pretty much in line with everywhere else, and their cocktails are too.

but their beer prices run $1-2 more than what everywhere else charges for a pint, for a glass that sure doesn't seem like a pint -- if it is, then it's slightly less egregious, but still, EIGHT DOLLARS for a glass of dogfish head 60 minute IPA*? i pay less at citizens bank park.

i will, of course, still frequent the place, since there are so many other things i like about it, but will not be buying beer there. (edit: which is a shame, because i am of the opinion that some beers go fantastically with oysters)

come on now, oyster house. it's beer. we can go on and on about quality and selection and this and that, but in the end there's no excuse for that kinda gouging.

*don't go by the online menu; i was there tonight and this was the price


Edited by mrbigjas (log)

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Although it is beer week, I would be remiss if I actually ordered a beer when Katie was behind the bar. Had a Sansom St. Sour with my burger on Friday, and it's a beautiful summer cocktail: light, refreshing, and very well balanced. At Katie's insistence I also had the Panna Cotta for dessert: good thing I did, too, it was absolutely wonderful. Not too sweet, nice tang, and sprinkled with whole pistachios to boot (I'm a sucker for anything pistachio).

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New special just started this week. Great deal for a lot of delicious seafood. Almost like being at the shore...Your choice on the clams and oysters. We'll be closed Sunday and Monday of this holiday weekend, but I'll be in Tuesday night if anyone wants to come check this out...

SUMMERTIME SHORE FEAST

We're serving a Shore Feast of summertime seafood favorites all season long, featuring:

3 Oysters and 3 Clams on the half shell;

a Bucket of Steamers,

1.5 Lb. Steamed Lobster;

Corn on the Cob; and

House-Made Cole Slaw,

Our Shore Feast is available Monday through Saturday during dinner hours,

from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. for $46 per person.

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I recently found out that I like raw oysters. I found this out while starting my 30th birthday celebration at the Oyster House. My girlfriend had a very nice evening planned out for us and had the excellent vision to allow for some unplanned stops, which led us to the OH. Ms. Katie Loeb was behind the bar and whipped up some delicious drinks (of course), and also guided us toward some un-intimidating oysters to get our feet wet. After the first trial oyster went down, there was definitely a light-bulb moment where my girlfriend and I looked at each other and said "wow, these really ARE good!" We promptly ordered more oysters, and our night was off to a great start. Thanks to Katie and also her manager who really made everything an enjoyable experience.

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I just found out the recent chef of the Oyster house was let go. That's not good. I really question the wisdom of the owner (s),. I found that Ted Mankos food to be very, very, good for the restaurant. His Lobster Roll was excellent, and The Snapper Turtle soup has been better than it has been in years . Wasn't Ted the one getting the press because of the Lobster Roll and the food? Seems to me a little of a professional clash of sorts it is a shame because the guest looses in the end.

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