Day one back in Boston and only one thing on my mind. Seafood, lots of it. I’d been deprived while in BsAs for far too long and it was time to fall back into the loving arms of the lobster roll, the clam chowder, the fresh grilled fish, the crab cake…and the oyster. Both raw and fried, I’d been craving oyster which to me in Boston has always been more of a staple than a delicacy. O’s casino at Citizen’s Public House, O’s deep-fried and delicious in Cape Cod, O’s in nothing but their birthday suit at Oceanaire. The kind-of sketchy, far too large, over-seasoned (diced bell pepper, sesame, paprika?) but flavorless, monster-oysters which I put my end-of-the-meal cigarettes out in and which eventually gave me a stomach ache at Bo Sung all the way in inaccessible Flores didn’t do it for me. I needed the quasi-vulvic hug of a raw oyster and I knew just where to go to get it – Island Creek Oyster Bar.
This place is awesome – incredibly spacious, beautifully decorated and lit, with a long raw bar at which to sit and marvel at the handy-work of the master-shuckers. It’s a place to celebrate a special occasion with friends, a place to order a glass of wine alone after a long day at work, a place to catch up on life with your mom over a glass (…or two…or three) of prosecco. I chose to do the latter and had, as always, a wonderful experience.
House-made warm, fresh, flaky sourdough bread with honey cayenne butter to munch on with a glass of prosecco while waiting for the main attractions. And when those came…. well it got pretty exciting.
The first thing had to be the oysters themselves. Some Island Creek, some Wellfleet, some Moonstone. All local, all slippery moist with a slight, easy bite. The Island Creeks were sweet, slightly mossy and briny. Plump Wellfleets had a crispy, clean taste to them, more ocean flavor than sweetness. The deep-cupped Moonstones were my favorite, minerally and funky sea-water flavor, super interesting and delicious. Paired with the crisp, clean, slightly sweet NV Nino Franco Prosecco, it was all pretty perfect.
Next up was the yellowfin tuna tartare, another favorite missing in action in Buenos Aires. A wonderful stack of fresh, bright red tuna chunks, flavored with bits of radish on top, a few toasted sesame seeds and chive. The sesame seeds did not mask the flavor of the fish but complemented it beautifully and the cucumber and chive added extra freshness to “hydrate” the protein tower. Served with delicious, asymmetrical little taro chips, the crispyness of which contrasted with the delicate mushyness of tartare.
For the last bite, I had to bring it back to that sweet brine I love so much. Island Creek’s famous fried oyster sliders was the perfect finish. The fried coating was thin, golden brown and crispy and the mushy little oyster inside, when bit into, exploded its sea-water soul, flooding my mouth with flavor. The brioche bun was wonderfully soft and fresh, slightly sweet to harmonize with the sweetness of the oyster inside. Chili-lime aioli was fantastic, adding the citrus twang that wakes up any fried seafood dish.
Awesome experience, as always. I.C.O.B, I will miss you!