Oysters At Home Aren’t As Hard As You Think
An expert's guide to bringing home the raw goods.
At-home raw bars are without a doubt a growing trend in the realm of hosting. However, we can't help but foresee the ways in which a DIY raw bar could go very wrong. This is why we're consulting the experts. Henry French (Raw Bar Manager at Big Night Restaurant Group properties including Leo’s Oyster Bar, Petit Marlowe) and Big Night's co-founder/creative director Anna Weinberg are filling us in on the most important tips to creating your own raw bar. Read ahead to learn more.
1. "Do NOT buy your oysters at the grocery store. By the time they get on the shelf, they have already been out of the water for quite a while. I recommend buying from one of the several farm direct websites that are no available. My favorites are Island Creek for East Coast and Hama Hama for West Coast oysters." - Henry French
2. "Store your oysters properly! You spent the time and effort to source quality oysters, so don’t mess it up now. I recommend keeping the oyster cold and on/covered in ice. Either in the fridge or a cooler, but the crucial part is that they are not submerged in water." - Henry French
3. "Take the time to crush some ice to serve the oysters on. Restaurants spend thousands of dollars on fancy ice machines to server their oysters on crushed ice, but you can simply make your own taking whole ice cubes and blending them in a food processor. Your fridge probably already has a crushed ice setting!" - Henry French
4. "There’s more than one way to shuck an oyster. Invest in the proper tools, and find a method that works for you. Speed is a lot less important than safety. Nothing ruins an oysters and champagne party like a trip to the emergency room." - Henry French
5. "When serving oysters, don’t be afraid to embellish the ice. Get creative and choose items that fit your party theme. Tropical flowers and segments of banana leaf if you’re having a tiki party or colorful sea shells and strips of seaweed for a classic vibe. Different kinds of citrus beside lemon will also add color and give your guests a new accoutrement to play with." - Anna Weinberg
6. "Shuck near where your guests are socializing. If your guests are outside, then set up your shucking station outside (picnic tables work great for this). The genius of a restaurants raw bar is that as a guest you get to SEE your oysters being shucked and you get to EAT your oyster within seconds of it being opened. It’s also a great way to show off your shucking skills!" - Henry French