The third time was the charm. We had reservations to the highly-anticipated Island Creek Oyster Bar last Saturday and Sunday, and due to my illness cancelled both. Even though I wasn’t feeling fabulous on my last day of work, after a week stuck at home, I wanted to go out, and it had to be Island Creek Oyster Bar.
If you have been reading this blog for some time, you have probably seen plate after plate of raw oysters. We love them, especially when they are of the Island Creek or Wellfleet varieties. . . local IS best!
I arrived at Island Creek Oyster Bar (menu here), which is at 500 Commonwealth Ave, earlier than my husband, lugging multiple bags of wine club wine, and a little frazzled. The second I walked in, I was welcomed, and my bags were magically removed from my tired shoulders and tucked away in the coat check. Thank you.
I sat at the beautiful, beautiful bar for awhile while I waited, sipping Prosecco and just looking around. You have to see it for yourself. Made of some sort of cool black stone, the bar stretches for most of the length of the room and is the perfect place for a few (dozen) oysters and drinks. It was full to capacity but still spacious which made it comfortable for me sitting alone or for groups or couples sitting together. Two thumbs up for not jamming the bar with stools.
Due to some horrendous traffic, my poor, tired husband was pretty late for our reservation, but the very friendly hostesses seated me at our table anyway when I gave up my bar seat for two people who wanted to sit together. I love that they didn’t give me an attitude about having my entire party there. Likewise, our server made me feel completely at home and served me a glass of Aubry Brut Champagne while I waited.
As I sat there, I got a chance to check out the décor, which is made up of muted greys, seats with wooden slats on the back, and walls covered in cages filled with oyster shells. It offers a cross between urban and beachy and nautical without being cheesy or a theme-y.
The Aubry Brut was the perfect choice for celebrating International Champagne Day. It had a nice gold hue and flavors of citrus and toast. Once my husband arrived, it was also the perfect choice for pairing with oysters.
We had a dozen: 4 Island Creek, 4 Moon Shoal from Barnstable, MA, and 4 Coupe Des Anges from Prince Edward Island. I watched Anne of Green Gables while I was sick; I had to have PEI oysters!
Other than one of the PEI oysters tasting really ick, these were delicious. The Island Creeks were my favorite, but I would eat oysters from all of these locations again.
We also indulged in a few hot dishes: A meaty crab cake with mustard sauce and apples, really excellent crab meat, slightly too salty, but otherwise really delicious.
Steamed Pope Island Littlenecks
tomato, scallions, spicy chili & garlic paste
These clams were perfectly cooked in a flavorful tomato broth that I could have easily eaten as a soup. I proclaimed the grilled bread perfection.
BBQ Glazed Shrimp
Anson mills creamy grits, pepper relish
My favorite dish of the night, the sauce was tangy, the shrimp, again, perfectly cooked, and the grits were soft, smooth, creamy comfort. I will return again and again just for this.
With all of these delights from the sea, we were stuffed. Dessert looked so good, house-made cider donuts with caramel and cider, but we couldn’t eat another bite.
With Jeremy Sewall of Lineage at the helm and the focus on great local seafood, I had a feeling I would love Island Creek Oyster Bar, but it exceeded all of my expectations. They make everything in house, have a fun wine and beer list, and despite being in the busy Kenmore Square, maintain a laid back, comfortable feel.
The service was absolutely fantastic, from the second I arrived, all the way until we walked out the door. Everyone was friendly and accommodating without being overly so. I am excited to make this a regular in our restaurant rotation.
Happy Friday everyone! Are you oyster fans? What are you up to this weekend?
Island Creek Oyster Bar, Island Creek Oysters, Hotel Commonwealth