Photo by Adriana Grant

Where : Flying Fish , 2234 First Avenue, 728.8595.

When : Monday-Friday, 5-6 p.m. only (no matter what they tell you


Oysters, A Quarter Each

In the bartender's words, "Why would an oyster-lover go anywhere else?"


Photo by Adriana Grant

Where: Flying Fish, 2234 First Avenue, 728.8595.

When: Monday-Friday, 5-6 p.m. only (no matter what they tell you on the phone)

Cost: 25 cents a pop = $3 a dozen (X 3 dozen) = $9 plus tax and tip =$13

Official Tasting Notes: I sidled up to the bar, which was (happily) not as packed as I'd expected. Apparently, as the bartender noted, word has yet to get out about this deal.

I've been looking forward to this meal for months, busy waiting for the oysters to be done spawning and good to eat. For an explication of the gooey details of oyster hermaphroditism, and the reasons many people do not consume oysters during months without an R, my dining companion recommended Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (Kurlansky also penned the best-selling Cod and Salt). Short answer: It's all about texture and food safety. For a (not so recent) discussion on the issue, see CHOW, here.

We were served up three fat dozen Totten Inlet Virginicas, in large, round, ice-filled aluminum trays. As the bartender explained, Virginicas are an East Coast oyster that's been transplanted to Canada; last year's Seattle Weekly Pellegrini Award winner Jon Rowley named the Virginica "the best oyster on the planet" in The New York Times.

And they were fantastic: sweet, plump, the shells cupping a tiny mouthful of salty liquid, tinged with a delicate metallic flavor. These were big oysters, so if you're wary of size, you might call ahead to find out what type of oysters are on the menu for that night, as it's all of one kind. These oysters demand to be bitten into--I know, some people are of the slurp-only stance, but really, you do have to bite the creature to taste its goodness.

Insider Tip: You'll no doubt want some cool refreshment to wash down these fatties. The Sacramento, California pilsner on tap, Trumer, was a lovely light beer. (Think high-end Bud.) It was far surpassed by the bottled goods from Old Europe: Leffe. A nice Belgian beer with that distinctive banana-y, anisey-scent. This brew paired nicely with a lemon-juiced squirted oyster, ($4.95 each) though as any oyster purist will tell you, the oyster is best eaten naked. (Flying Fish offers traditional lemon wedges, horseradish sauce, and Tabasco, as well as a sweet house-made cocktail sauce.) But three dozen between two of us was a bit much. And a meal of oysters alone, as my friend learned, does not do so well to pad the stomach against alcohol.

Would I eat it again? Easily.

Go early, while they still have the pouffy stools out by the bar. Later in the season (I was told) the crowd gets three deep, standing room only. And, as the bartender mentioned, people have been known to lose their manners, ordering 3 dozen of the succulent bivalves at a time, attempting to send back the small ones. The unofficial record of oyster consumption by a single person (I wanted to know): something like 6 or 8 dozen.

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