What Is Offered At A Seafood Restaurant That Has An Oyster Bar?

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If you enjoy seafood and find a restaurant that offers an oyster bar, you are in for a true fresh sea-fare treat. An oyster bar is not necessarily a bar that you probably imagine, but more like a description of what you may find available on the menu. Many seafood restaurants will state they have an oyster bar when they are referring to simply offering fresh and cooked oysters on the menu. However, there are some restaurants that serve oysters at a bonafide bar.  

Oysters are easily a favorite food in the shellfish lineup. And, each restaurant can have its own collection of oyster types and preparations on its oyster bar, proverbial or otherwise. Check out a few things you may see during your visit. 

A Collection of Different Kinds of Oysters 

Oyster bars most often provide oysters harvested from local waters, but you will also find oysters sourced elsewhere. There are many types of oysters in terms of species and where they are harvested. Each one can have a slightly different flavor. For example, oysters harvested from saltwater can have a different flavor than oysters that come from brackish or fresh water. Likewise, European flats can taste different than blue point oysters. Therefore, most seafood restaurants serve several types of oysters so customers have a bit of variety to choose from. 

Raw "Fresh" Oysters and Cooked Oysters 

While oysters can have unique flavor qualities, the flavor variances can be so slight that cooking the meat downplays the differences. Therefore, some people do prefer to eat oysters uncooked. It is not uncommon for restaurants that have a traditional bar to have a server behind the bar who stands and shells the raw oysters as they are served. For those that prefer oysters cooked, a restaurant may offer chargrilled oysters, fried oysters, and even sauteed oysters. 

Traditional Sauces and Sides to Pair with Oysters 

Oysters are commonly served with certain sauces and sides, and many of these will be available at an oyster bar. A few options you may see as far as condiments or sauces include:

  • Lemon juice
  • Horseradish
  • Pesto
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Chile lime sauce 
  • Hot sauce 

There can be regional differences when it comes to common sides and sauces—people in certain geographic locations often eat oysters with certain sides and sauces. For example, it is not uncommon in southern parts of the country for oysters to be served with some kind of cracker and hot sauce. By contrast, northerners may prefer oysters with crusty bread and a squeeze of lemon juice. Therefore, you may see different side and sauce options depending on where on the map you are visiting an oyster bar.   

For more info, visit a local seafood restaurant