Newfound oyster love

Tsarskaya oyster
Tsarskaya oysters all the way from France!
Ah, oysters. Where have you been all my life?
Ah, oysters. Where have you been all my life?

Slimy spineless sea creatures. That’s how I’ve always seen oysters. Why raw? Why sitting in its shell still soaking in its own fluids and briny seawater? Slather it in all tabasco sauce you want. It just becomes a slimy spineless sea creature with a kick.

Suffice to say, I did not have a very good first impression of oysters. To be fair, the raw oysters I had were not the freshest. I tasted more of the beach than the ocean. Crunchy grains of sand are unappetizing to say the least. When cooked, they weren’t much better. I had a massive oyster boiled in bubbling hot soup – hot pot style. It was super rich, but the texture threw me off. It made me feel like I was chomping on a brain.

Even so, I kept hearing good things about oysters from my two roomies/besties. Apparently raw and fried are the only ways to go when it comes to oysters. I decided it was time to give them another shot, and that’s how I ended up at Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill in downtown Toronto.

Thanks to my friend’s parents who took all three of us out for the best oyster experience ever. Time to do raw oysters the right way. Thirty big, fat, juicy oysters from all around the world for our table of five. We each had six: one from P.E.I., one from Massachusetts, two from France, one from the United Kingdom and one from Ireland.

What does that look like?

A mountain of glorious oysters!
A mountain of glorious oysters!

All of us agreed the best one was the Tsarskaya oyster from France (apparently they’re in season from now until November, so go get them while you can!). They were sweet and meaty. If that alone isn’t enough to convert you into an oyster lover, consider this: it comes with freshly grated horseradish, a squeeze of lemon and homemade seafood sauce and vinaigrette! It was absolutely delicious.

When they’re fresh – like the ones at Starfish – they just taste so clean, like I just plucked them out of the ocean instead of just off of a mound of ice. What’s more, I never knew each country’s oysters could have such distinctly different flavours. All the more reason to order another round!

I am now a proud fan of oysters! Can’t wait to go back to Starfish and make up for all those lost years I could have spent gobbling up oyster after deliciously slimy oyster. For all you oyster skeptics out there, I strongly recommend giving them another try. Do it right, and you won’t regret it!

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