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Holly Moore

The Oyster House

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Some photos on my Flickr.

The Royal Miyagi oysters really blew my mind. They taste like cucumber at first and then it changes to melon. The flavor lingers for a very long time.

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I've been gone from Philly for about 18 months now, but find I still keep up better with the Center City food scene than I do New York's even though I live here now. I happened to be in Philly last Thursday for work and immediately started thinking out my eating plan for the day. There's so many ways to go, but when I walked out for a late lunch, I made a bee-line to Oyster House. Aside from the gorgeous space (I still had the Sansom St. Oyster House in my mind), it felt like Sansom as a whole had been cleaned up, less cluttered and less "alley" than a couple years ago.

I've always tended toward clams when at a rawbar, but the waiter was so good at delivering the oyster spiel I really wanted to taste these different flavors he was mentioning. I had some east coast for brine (I want to say something from Cape Cod, but I forget exactly which), some from west coast to see if it really did have a cucumber flavor, and a few from NJ since they were $1 each. Wow, I'm sold on oysters. At least good ones. I guess I've always had inferior oysters, because I've just never gotten the sense there was much to them beyond some goo floating in a pretty tasteless liquid (the most forgettable being a batch from Oceanaire). As a safety net, I also got 6 cherrystone clams, but really wished I had 6 more oysters -- hell, 12 more oysters. While the west coast oysters were interesting with such a different flavor, I actually liked the NJ version the best.

As great and eye-opening as the oysters were, I was most excited to taste my first Katie cocktail, a bourbon old fashioned. I'd seen a couple commercials for Mad Men earlier in the day and felt like an old-time cocktail would be cool. While I enjoyed sitting at the shucking bar, I'd have preferred to sit at the actual bar, and thought I had requested that when I walked in, but the hostess and I must have gotten our wires crossed. It's probably for the best, since I'd have worked my way across the cocktail list and needed to get back to work for another couple hours.

Like a truly loyal Moriarty's regular (must have eaten more after-work meals here than anywhere else in PHL combined in my 3 years in town), I ended up at the bar after work for an order of wings and way too many beers.

Like I needed any more reasons to miss the city, with all the great (yet oh-so-friendly) places to eat, add The Oyster House to the list. The good news is, the project I'm working on should mean several more trips in the coming weeks and months!

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RonV: You wouldn't happen to be the former editor of the Philly edition of Metro, would you?

If so, it's a bit of a shame the parent company is editing the local papers by remote control from New York. However, kudos are due you for your Newspaper of the Year Award this year. I've been impressed at how the paper zigs where the established duo zag (and loved your local primary election headline: "If you don't care, why should we?") and at how the paper has figured out a way to go deep on subjects while remaining true to its short-attention-span story length standards by doing multiple pieces on a subject.

Back to food: You already saw my comments about the oysters. I invite you to go over to Philadelphia Speaks and check out the topic in Food and Drink about our July happy hour at the Oyster House. Seems everyone ate all the lobster rolls before I arrived - I had to settle for lobster hush puppies that tasted too much of fritter and not enough of lobster for my liking - and everyone absolutely loved them.

However, once again, no Katie, just her cocktails. They taste good still, but it's not the same without her. (I had a house punch for starters, then switched to Dock Street Summer Session, the best summer brew I've ever had - like drinking malt lemonade, and I don't mean Mike's.)


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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And I've missed you yet again. Seems to defy statistical probability. I worked lunch today and was out at about 5:15PM. Sorry! :sad:

I know the punch was good because I taste tested the big batch this morning before stocking up the bar with it. I hope you enjoyed it. And thanks for missing me. It's nice to know my presence makes it all taste better... :wub:


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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RonV: You wouldn't happen to be the former editor of the Philly edition of Metro, would you?

If so, it's a bit of a shame the parent company is editing the local papers by remote control from New York.  However, kudos are due you for your Newspaper of the Year Award this year.  I've been impressed at how the paper zigs where the established duo zag (and loved your local primary election headline: "If you don't care, why should we?") and at how the paper has figured out a way to go deep on subjects while remaining true to its short-attention-span story length standards by doing multiple pieces on a subject.

That's me. I appreciate your thoughts and it's certainly nice to hear feedback from people who read the paper regularly, especially when you're pointing out the sorts of things we're constantly trying to do. I think my staff's sick of hearing me say things like "zig while everyone else zags" and I was especially happy that the Philly guys came up with the "If you don't care, why should we" concept (I showed your post to someone in the office and he asked if I wrote it myself). While I know why you'd have concerns about moving some of the newsroom functions out of the city, you can be assured that most of the decision making remains right there on South 15th Street. Most of the duties that shifted were logistical, but we maintain reporters and editors in each of our cities. Plus, looking around the Metro US newsroom (located in NY), more than half the staff has worked in Philadelphia at one time or another. Sorry to have this conversation on a food forum, but I'd love to hear more of your thoughts, so don't hesitate to shoot me a PM or email.

As for Oyster House, even though it's been a couple weeks, I can't stop thinking of that raw bar. Can't wait to get back.

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Thanks Luigi! I hope to add the cocktail to the menu shortly. Meanwhile I'm amazed at how quickly news travels. Apparently, the results were Twittered shortly after the contest last night and I had a mountain of congratulatory emails and phone messages by the time I got home. Awesome!


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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YAY! We got a really nice review from Trey Popp today in the City Paper.

Mink Dynasty

Even the Oyster House Punch got a mention. Awesome...


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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YAY!  We got a really nice review from Trey Popp today in the City Paper.

Mink Dynasty

Even the Oyster House Punch got a mention.  Awesome...

Nice writeup there!


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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Our Philadelphia Inquirer review by Craig Laban appeared in last Sunday's paper. Two bells - reads like 3. Every customer that's mentioned it thought it was an excellent write up. The thing about the lobster roll buns is that we tried the "proper" split top rolls right when we opened. They fell apart so we switched to the potato hot dog buns that hold up better and whose sweetness is a good match with the sweet lobster meat. Some things are a matter of preference, I guess. All around props for the bar, so I'm a happy girl. :smile:


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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As of tonight I am no longer at the OH, Ted Manko is the new Chef. Good luck to everyone there.


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

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My greatest achievement there was getting 5 grease stains from Holly. It was an honor.


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

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I had the lobster roll at Village Whiskey last night, and it could not compare to Oyster Bar's, this from someone who until a few days ago did not even know what a lobster roll was.

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My greatest achievement there was getting 5 grease stains from Holly. It was an honor.

May your five grease stains follow you throughout your career. Just don't lose your recipe for oyster stew with double cream and sauteed fennel.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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Sorry to see you go, Greg. I liked the take you had on the traditional fish house fare, especially the snapper soup (despite any grumbling from the traditionalists.)

Hope they continue with your model. Good luck with whatever's next for you.


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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My greatest achievement there was getting 5 grease stains from Holly. It was an honor.

May your five grease stains follow you throughout your career. Just don't lose your recipe for oyster stew with double cream and sauteed fennel.

They are still doing the stew, but without the double cream.


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

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Then it will not be as special.

Thanks for putting up with my constant lobster roll whining. Great continued success wherever you unroll your knives.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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Another fine dinner at Oyster House last night. Everything was very, very carefully prepared. Another reason I won't miss Oceanaire. Now if they could only get TV's behind the bar, I would live there!

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Greg, the oyster stew, snapper soup, lobster roll . . . such a long list of delicious memories. We'll follow you if you tell us where. Thanks!

Tom

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...Now if they could only get TV's behind the bar, I would live there!

We have a TV for the World Series. It'll go away when that's over, but you can eat oysters and enjoy the game for the next week or so...

Not sure how they'll feel about letting you move in. :laugh:


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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Just one more shout-out to the Oyster House - I simply had to. I've been following these boards for about a year now and finally bit the bullet and decided to start posting. Mike and I stopped by for some food and drinks on Monday night and found seats at the bar, the magnanimous Katie Loeb and the Phillies on the TV (sans screaming fans at every other establishment in the city). We bunkered in and ordered Manhattans (me) and an Old Fashioned (he). Katie the Manhattans I just can't stop thinking about. They really were perfect. We ordered Stone Crab claws from the raw bar and they were everything I've been looking forward to since last season, though the romantic in me wonders if I just love them because they're so beautiful to look at. We followed them up with the Winter Clam Bake which put me into a food coma, though the Phillies were playing so well it brought me out of it a bit. Just had to say thanks! Katie I do hope to see you at Capogiro one of these days!! :biggrin:

Cheers,

Sarah


"He was a bold man that first eat an oyster." -Jonathan Swift

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A few of us visited the Oyster House (OK, our real intentions were to bug Katie) for lunch, the day after Thanksgiving.

As others have indicated, the space is really much more sleek with sexy clean lines and walls covered in oyster plates.

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Our first stop was the bar, manned by our favorite Bartendrix - Katie. We sampled some of Katie's libations including the famous Oyster House punch. This drink can really sneak up on you, so I suggest sipping it slooowwwly through the course of your visit.

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We started by ordering a couple bottles of Brute Rose a few dozen oysters from OH's great selection. I don't recall all the ones we tasted but we sampled varieties from the East and West coast and maybe even Louisiana if I recall, including Wellfeet, Skookum, European Flats, etc.

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We then sampled some steamers and soup - Clam Chowder, Manhattan Clam Chowder and Snapper Turtle soup

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We should have been full by now, but in the interest of sampling more of the menu, we pressed on and ordered

Lobster roll - Decent, not overly decadent with the right amount of mayo to lobster. Won't get into the split top vs side split - I didn't care since it was well buttered :wink:

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Fried clam roll - Delicious juicy, succulent fresh clams, in a tangy

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Salmon Ruben - Interesting idea and heard it was good.

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Grilled Blue fish w/collard greens - Didn't taste this, but heard it was good.

Overall, the food was fresh, well executed and service was great. We left content.

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I never seem to be in the vicinity when you're at the bar, Katie. Feh.

Maybe I'll convince some hungry choristers to make it an early dinner sometime.


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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