Dark-faced and stern-looking, oysters are not the winners of beauty contests. One needs to go behind their grey, sturdy exterior to find the secret to their success. I have wondered about it myself: What makes oysters so luxurious and desirable – and what makes them stand out on the dinner table? Taste must definitely play a part. A quality oyster stands true to itself. In just one bite, its flavor must remind you of the environment it came from: the shelter of the estuary, the calm depths of the water. Equally important, however, is the freshness. A quality oyster is fresh, and it is this freshness which allows the flavor of the oyster to actually shine through.
Chicago has its fair share of restaurants which serve oysters, and Devon Seafood Grill is among the most famous and well-known. Last week I faced the heat and rain and spent an excellent couple of hours indulging in oysters, scallops and other delicacies at the grand opening of their new Oyster Bar. Perfect timing and a great party to host just before National Oyster Day, which is today, August 5.
To mark this occasion, Devon Seafood Grill has been offering seafood specials every day this week, and their new oyster bar has been packed. The bar menu features oysters, lobster claws and shrimp cocktails, along with a wide selection of non-seafood starters and mains. Good news for fans of Devon Seafood Grill’s “One Buck Shuck” $1 oyster special: This Wednesday-only offer is here to stay!
The oyster shucking was in full swing when I arrived at the bar grand opening, and guests were being offered a selection of both East Coast and West Coast oysters, of difference sizes and with different flavor profiles. They were served super fresh, on a bed of ice – it simply couldn’t get any fresher than that!
General Manager Tim Sherlock was offering guests an assortment of seafood dishes from the bar menu, such as shrimp tacos, hickory char crust sea scallops, and lobster Monte Cristo. The smoked salmon carpaccio & shrimp ceviche was my favorite seafood dish. Fresh and tasty, with a a good flavor mix and a persuasive hint of jalapeno heat, the ceviche was the perfect light course to eat on a hot and humid summer afternoon. The refreshing notes provided by the mango and the mint made this dish a winner in my book.
Non-seafood menu items included crispy pork belly, wasabi vegetable tempura, and pork belly on a bed of red lentils. The crispy pork belly was my favorite by far. Topped with black garlic butter and a sesame brittle crackling, this dish had an amazing texture and flavor, and it made me go back in time to fondly remember one of my favorite treats as I was growing up. Welcome back, long-forgotten sesame brittle!
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the grand opening of the new Devon Seafood Grill Oyster Bar. I appreciated the thought process behind the menu, which had clearly been put together to satisfy a wide variety of tastes and preferences, seafood-oriented or not. The “One Buck Shuck” in particular offers great value for money, and I will most likely return to take advantage of this Wednesday special. Ice-cold, fresh oysters, which masterfully capture the flavors of the deep, ever-enticing ocean – what’s not to like? 🙂
*Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by Devon Seafood Grill for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.