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The Oyster House


Holly Moore
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Stopped by today for a 5 PM lunch - a dozen oysters on the half shell and a plate of fried clams.

I ordered local oysters - from Chesapeake Bay (Choptank Sweet) and Delaware Bay (East Points). Both were large, well-iced and eminently slurpable. Too late I realized that during cocktail hour the Oyster House offers a variety of oysters for $1 each.

The full belly fried clams were perfectly fried and nicely tender, lightly breaded.

Some things have changed though, and I am not totally adjusting. I will go to my grave calling the place the Samson Street Oyster House.

I also will be cursing out the health department for requiring a glass partition between the oyster shuckers and me. That is just not right. I have to go through a middle man to get my oysters - like sitting at the bar and ordering a cocktail from a server rather than the bartender. It is still a good show - three shuckers going full shuck - but I miss keeping a conversation going with the shucker as he keeps my oysters coming. I know legally you can't Sam, but in the words of Ronald Regan, "Tear down that wall..."

Finally there is Greg Ling's take on snapper soup. It is an excellent soup - a full flavored turtle stock, large chunks of turtle. I can see myself ordering it regularly. But without a super-rich veal stock it is not classic snapper soup. I will miss that.

At the same time, a chef who uses double cream for his oyster stew can do no serious wrong in my eyes.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Holly,

I will make a nice reduced veal stock and add it to your soup next time, just don't tell any one. As far as the name change, I answer the phone with it and I have to do my orders with it also or the purveyors do not know where I am calling from.

"..French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe, even Caramel sundaes is getting touched.." Ice Cream

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Rick Nichols take on our Grand Reopening in today's Inky. Mr. Nichols has been as much of a regular as one can be when we've only been open for 7 days. And his calling our Negroni "serviceable" is high praise indeed. :smile:

Today's astonishing statistic. We sold 4000 oysters in our first 6 days open. And that's just from the raw bar, not counting the roasted oysters or the oyster stew. Pretty impressive maneuvering from our team of rock star shuckers.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The subject of today's whining is the Lobster Roll. Actually this is more about defining expectations than whining as I have yet to try the Oyster House's lobster roll.

Why such peremptory action? Reading with alarm this comment to the Philadadining Blog review of the Oyster house.

"I work there" wrote:

the rolls are too small for the amount of lobster I put on so I will be using a custom roll from Artisianal Boulangerie starting tomorrow.

I know there is a problem obtaining proper New England top sliced, side uncrusted hot dog rolls. When I was trying to open a hot dog place here I looked all over and couldn't find a dependable source. Closest I could get was a Pepperidge Farms top sliced bun and then slicing of the sides myself. Labor intensive, but worth it, especially for a lobster roll where the toasted buttered sides are essential - the warm crunch of the sides of the roll playing off the sweet chilled lobster..

gallery_14_1128_3442.jpg

Above is Red's Eats' lobster roll, perhaps the finest in the state of Maine. The recipe is Downeast straightforward:

1 ea - New England style hot dog roll, sides toasted and buttered

1 1/4 lbs - Lobster meat, pulled not chopped

On the side - melted butter and/or mayonnaise.

That is all. A lobster roll = lobster meat and a roll.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I was kind of excited by the news that the rolls would be coming from Artisan Boulanger Patissier, they make incredibly great bread. But you make a good point, the butter-grilled sides are pretty crucial, so the success of the roll depends largely on form, maybe even more than quality of dough.

So, anybody sampled one of the new rolls?

BTW, even my local Giant supermarket carries the top-sliced Pepperidge Farm rolls, but as Holly noted, the sides are not very griddle-friendly...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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"I work there" aka Greg Ling is having an impossible time getting the rolls, the ones from Artisian I will hopefully have by Monday.

"..French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe, even Caramel sundaes is getting touched.." Ice Cream

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Not knowing the workings of resto sourcing, I am puzzled by the inability to get the rolls of my native land. However if you want me to go to Stop & Shop and load up on 'em the next time I'm up there just say the word!

Hubby and I stopped by the OH on Wed and had a more than serviceable Sidecar and Gimlet (alas not mixed by our fave Katie) as well as some of those belly clams. Clams were probably the best I'll get 'round these parts and should be grateful for that, but were a bit more coated than I'd like, masking some of the belly goodness. Hubby liked the fact that they weren't as greasy as the ones I usually enjoy up home.

Here's a photo of what I'm pining for (in my post below)- and horrors to me, they're from RI and not Mass!

http://retroroadmap.com/2009/05/04/clam-sh...-in-restaurant/

mmmm....clamshack roadtrip.....

<a href='http://retroroadmap.com' target='_blank'>Retro Roadmap - All the Retro, Vintage and Cool Old places worth visiting!</a>

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Another late lunch - this time just after four. The Oyster House is now serving lunch and some items continue to be available in the late afternoon.

I went for a Philadelphia classic - fried oysters and chicken salad. Five large and perfectly fried oysters. I asked about the origin of this dish - David Mink said it was on the original Kelly's menu in the 1920's and dates back to well before that time. Greg Ling recommended asking Fred, the lunch bartender. It has something to do with slavery during the revolutionary era - perhaps that slaves were limited in what the could sell and two of the items were fried oysters and chicken salad.

Also had a quasi-mason jar of Katie's Oyster House Punch. You know how a certain odor or flavor can stir something long lost in one's memory. I say this with love, Katie, but the punch brought back memories of my freshman year in college, a bar down the hill called Jims Place, a drink they served that was a combination between a whiskey sour and a Zombie (or maybe I was chasing the sours with the Zombies), and waking up the following morning in a dorm that was not the dorm where I usually woke up.

My recommendation is that the designated driver take a pass on the Oyster House Punch and everyone else enjoy and think of the punch at every fraternity party you ever attended, but mixed by a professional bartendrix and not by a social chairman whose sole goal was to get everyone drunk and let the couples fall where they may.

Fortunately, with my chicken and oysters gone and some punch still unimbibed, the clock struck five and "buck a shuck" oysters wondrously appeared. They were from Long Island. I ordered a dozen. Since I can't seem to write a post about the Oyster House without offering at least one suggestion, this one goes to Sam. Start the $1 oysters at 4PM. Lure in the office crowd that sneaks out of work early.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Holly:

Waking up in the wrong dorm was usually a side effect of being young and foolish, only ever so slightly aided and abetted by the frat house punch, no? :wink:

You clearly must've been attending a finer class of frat parties than I ever did. We usually got grain alcohol and artificially colored and flavored powdered "red Kool-Aid-like" substance du jour, mixed in a trash can that was lined, if you were lucky. My hope is that the Goslings/Cognac/apricot brandy mix is sufficiently balanced with good tea, fresh lemon and spiced simple syrup to be a pleasant quaff that creates new memories for those unfamiliar with the old school Philadelphia Fish House Punch on which it's based. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it. And I'm always happy to keep whomever the designated driver is supplied with tasty non-alcoholic beverages all evening. All they have to do is ask. :smile:

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Holly:

Waking up in the wrong dorm was usually a side effect of being young and foolish, only ever so slightly aided and abetted by the frat house punch, no?  :wink:

You clearly must've been attending a finer class of frat parties than I ever did.  We usually got grain alcohol and artificially colored and flavored powdered "red Kool-Aid-like" substance du jour, mixed in a trash can that was lined, if you were lucky.  My hope is that the Goslings/Cognac/apricot brandy mix is sufficiently balanced with good tea, fresh lemon and spiced simple syrup to be a pleasant quaff that creates new memories for those unfamiliar with the old school Philadelphia Fish House Punch on which it's based.  I'm delighted that you enjoyed it.  And I'm always happy to keep whomever the designated driver is supplied with tasty non-alcoholic beverages all evening.  All they have to do is ask.  :smile:

So that is what's in the OH Punch, P.F. Lings here we come!

"..French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe, even Caramel sundaes is getting touched.." Ice Cream

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Holly:

Waking up in the wrong dorm was usually a side effect of being young and foolish, only ever so slightly aided and abetted by the frat house punch, no?  :wink:

Did I mention that at the time the drinking age in New York was 18?

My hope is that the Goslings/Cognac/apricot brandy mix is sufficiently balanced with good tea, fresh lemon and spiced simple syrup to be a pleasant quaff that creates new memories for those unfamiliar with the old school Philadelphia Fish House Punch on which it's based. 

Yup, that was our recipe at the fraternity. Then we added the grain alcohol.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Yup, that was our recipe at the fraternity.  Then we added the grain alcohol.

:blink:

:wacko:

This explains more about the wrong dorm than any theory I might have had. Anybody end up getting their stomachs pumped?? :unsure:

You also definitely had frat brothers with better taste/palates than the cretinous lot I was hanging with at the Pi Lam Human Barbeques...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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On the way to a dinner party last night I realized that just a week ago we were sitting at the cocktail bar at OH, enjoying Katie's company and libations and some wonderful oysters. We both got a little misty and toyed briefly with the idea of driving instead to the airport and coming up for another round, but figured our friends who spent the day cooking would be mad. Sigh.

I thought Nick was going to eat every cracker in the joint - turns out he'd never had "real" ones before (I've neglected his education, apparently). When he saw David sitting at the bar dipping them in horseradish it was (literally) Katie bar the door. I hope I got him out of there before there was a serious shortage.

I love the 'old school' oyster house vibe, decor and service. And the family who owns it [again] were very enjoyable to visit with. It's obvious that they belong in the restaurant business - they just have that ability to make you feel welcome and special that can't be trained (or beaten into) restaurant staff.

And I just read back up-thread about your bloody marys. Damn! My favorite thing about tomato season is a great bloody mary with real tomato juice. Incomparable. It's a good thing I didn't know about them at the time, but I'll be baaack.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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  • 3 weeks later...

Klary:

Open both days - it's a Monday and Tuesday, so no problem. I will likely be working Monday evening, but I'll know better closer to that date what my exact schedule is that week. Would be delighted to have you at the bar. :smile:

Open at 11:30AM for lunch until 2:30PM. Mid-day limited menu from 2:30-5PM. Dinner from 5PM-11PM. Oyster available all day...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Finally got to slip into the place yesterday (alas, no Katie!), and was able to squeeze in a new classic Philly fishhouse lunch: fried oysters and chicken salad, with a glass of Yards Brawler.

And it was superb, the oysters juicy and judiciously breaded, the coating virtually crackled under the times of my fork. The chicken salad was nicely turned out, with really flavorful chicken. It was just a terrific combo. The Yards Brawler was the perfect beer with this dish, robust and malty with a wisp of hop character to remind you it was a Yards. And a low alcohol session beer, especially helpful for lunch, and with a 50 mile drive ahead of me.

The place was evern more handsome than pictures have previously shown; the oyster plates displayed on the whitewashed brick walls are just stunning, and the rest of the place is just open and inviting, a great re-do of the space. Lots of happy oyster eaters dined alongside me at the bar. All the oysters looked gorgeous.

More on my blog, The Omnivore, including pictures, soon.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Stopped in to the Oyster House for "buck-a-shuck" on Friday at 5:15 and the place was packed. I've been in a few times, once for lunch and the other times for happy hour, and I love the food and the vibe.

I'm a big fan of the Oyster House Punch, and I had a really nice Bluecoat gimlet, but I'm disappointed that the happy hour has cut out drink specials. I asked and was told that people were taking their happy hour drinks to their dinner tables. It only slows down my boozing a little bit, but every dollar counts!

To that end, I wouldn't mind seeing the Buck-a-shuck start at 4:00!

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Joining the party late:

Katie, you may recall that I stopped in with two fellow PGMC board members in tow not long after the official opening, on the fourth Wednesday in June, after we had offically given our concert season a grand sendoff that included a dunk in the pool for me and my cell phone. (That occurred the Saturday prior to when you saw me.)

Patrick Hagerty and I are a little miffed, for we returned as we said we would the following Friday to see you, only you weren't there. It's all good, though, as we had ourselves libations -- I tried the Blonde Caesar before switching to beer; it was quite tasty -- and then decided to try the oyster of the day special. I think that day's featured oyster was the Bluepoint.

We each ordered six oysters. Twelve dollars and not much more than that many seconds later, we found ourselves staring at six empty shells and saying, "Those were delicious."

"Should we have more?" I asked.

"I don't know. Maybe we should save our money for something more substantial before trivia night," said Patrick.

He paused. We looked at the plates, then at each other.

"Aw, hell, let's order more," Patrick said.

Twelve more dollars and maybe half as many minutes later, we found ourselves staring at six empty shells and saying, "These could be addictive."

We will return. We hope you will be behind the bar, Katie. I'm taking on more freelance work so I can afford to clear you all out of your oysters of the day.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Rich and Sandy:

Sorry to have missed you both. I've been on my annual sojourn to New Orleans in search of greater cocktail knowledge at Tales of the Cocktail. I've returned refreshed (but only after nightmarishly getting stranded in Atlanta overnight both going and coming) and with a head full of new and interesting ideas, as well as a large box of new products winging their way to my home in the hands of FedEx as I type this. There's cool stuff in the near future. I'm back to work tomorrow and ready to start playing with all my new toys/ideas.

I'm delighted you both enjoyed yourselves. The $1 oysters really are pretty easy to eat. You aren't the only one that's meant to leave and been unable to resist the siren's call of "just one more half dozen". :smile:

I'm not certain about my schedule for next week and thereafter, but you can always PM me in advance and I can let you know if I'm working a particular shift or not.

Hope to see you both again soon!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Was at The Oyster House a couple of days ago and had a wonderful time. The Pimms and Ginger was just the thing coming out of the heat. Then a Gimlet with house-made lime cordial. Half a doz. Royal Miyagi, Lobster Roll and a Lobster Hush Puppie. Seriously, about as good as an afternoon can be.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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