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Your Guide to Becoming an Oyster Raw Bar Expert

a close up of food

If you’re a seafood lover but haven’t quite mastered the art of eating oysters yet, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Oysters are a fan-favorite, but if you’re new to this shellfish, it can be intimidating to order at a restaurant when you have no idea where to begin. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to eat the oyster, pair them with some delicious condiments, and even learn some buzzwords to sound like a pro! Keep reading to learn more about how to navigate your way through an oyster raw bar. 

How to Determine if It’s a Good Oyster

When you’ve been served a meal at a restaurant, you usually do the smell-test, taste-test, and overall-look test to see if it’s good. With a steak, you might poke around to see how much fat is on it, and if it’s been cooked to your liking. But with a shellfish like oysters, how do you determine if  it’s “good?” You’ll want to see lots of seawater, and ideally, the oyster should be opaque. If the fish is too clear, that typically means it didn’t get enough food and nutrients when it was growing. The size of the oyster doesn’t much matter, it’s a personal preference whether you look them big or small, but it should look full within the shell. A quality oyster won’t be too thin or too salty. 

How to Eat the Oyster

When it’s time to dig in, use your small fork to poke inside the shell and move the oyster around to detach it from the shell. Then, pick up the shell and slurp it down from the wide end. While some people believe you should let it slide down your throat without biting it, chewing it one or two times will allow you to get all the flavor. There’s really no “right” way to eat it, so don’t be afraid to switch up your method and find what works best for you!

Condiments to Use

While it’s not necessary to use condiments, and some people actually prefer their fish plain, there are a variety of garnishes that can add an extra pop of flavor! Lemon, cocktail sauce, or a shallot mignonette are all common choices. These all add a little zing, without completely overpowering the taste of the oyster. 

Buzzwords to Sound Like a Pro

If you’re sitting with seasoned veterans, try using these buzzwords to describe your oyster; Sweet, salty, buttery, briny, metallic, chewy, soft, or firm. You’ll fit right in with the pros!

Choosing the Right Restaurant

Lastly, and perhaps the most important tip, is to choose the right restaurant to enjoy your oysters. Of course, choosing a seafood restaurant is your best bet. Be sure to do some research on the best raw oyster bars in your area, and read reviews. You want to find the best live-shucked, fresh, and tender oysters to get the most out of your raw bar experience!

Visit Summer Shack in Boston

If you’re looking to try some oysters in the Boston area, you can count on Summer Shack’s delicious raw bar! Our raw bar case holds 2,000 pieces of fresh shellfish and our oyster sucker has won countless shucking competitions around the city. Book a reservation at Summer Shack in Boston, Cambridge, or Mohegan Sun today to see for yourself how delicious our oysters are!