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“Raw Bar” Guru, Les Barnes, Proclaims the Ten Commandments of a Raw Bar on Good Day New York for National Oyster Day!

6 August 2010 No Comment

MYFOXNY.COM – Leslie Barnes of London Lennie’s came to the Good Day Café, on National Oyster Day to lay down the law about oysters… “The Ten Commandments of a Raw Bar”

You Call That a Raw Bar?

London Lennie’s Ten Commandments of a Raw Bar

I. Lemme See You Shuck

Any raw bar worth its sea salt will shuck clams and oysters in front of you.  Think about it – when you order a drink at a bar, the bartender doesn’t go into a back room to mix your drink; he does it right in front of you. The same should be true of a raw bar. If you can see your shucker, you can guarantee he knows what he’s doing and your oysters are fresh.

II. Grab an East Beach Blonde, Head up to Little Neck and Skinny Dip in Winnapaug Pond

When it comes to great raw bars, it’s all about options.  One or two selections just won’t cut it. A real raw bar has an assortment of oysters and clams.  At London Lennie’s, we offer three different species of oysters and nearly 70 different varieties.

III. Ice, Ice Baby

Oysters and clams should be properly iced down because they come from waters that are between 40 to 60 degrees. Icing them up replicates their natural environment and keeps them fresh and easy to open. Of course, if you’ve ever eaten a warm oyster, then you’ll know that they taste better cold, period.

IV. Baby, I Like it Raw

Some say oysters are better naked, but you should decide for yourself.  A good raw bar offers you more than the standard cocktail sauce and horseradish.  We pair our raw bar offerings with our specialty mignonette and Asian relish so you can go naked or get wild – who are we to judge?

V. Wetter Is NOT Always Better

Oysters and clams should not be wet stored.  Contrary to popular belief, storing oysters in a nice cool cove until shipping strips them of their natural flavors.  Ever wonder why oysters are named for their harvesting areas?  It’s simple – like wine, they take their flavor from their surroundings.  Change their surroundings, change their flavor.

VI. Who’s Your Daddy?

Ask the raw bar owner if he handpicks his oysters and clams himself or if he calls a purveyor in to do his dirty work.  Less is more when it comes to the number of hands handling your oysters.  Fewer hands means fresher oysters.

VII. Bed Hopper

If you really want to know the true flavor of the oyster, you’ve got to spend some time in its bed!  The best way to learn the flavor profiles of oysters is to take one right out of the water, shuck it on the spot and eat it au natural. We make a point of meeting and tasting with all of our oyster suppliers. Having a personal relationship with our harvesters eliminates the games, puts us on equal footing, and puts great, fresh oysters on your plate.

VIII. We Like it Dirty

You know that phrase “God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt”?  Believe it!  Once an oyster is shucked, leave it be. You want the grit to stay put. Your shucker should never run water over an oyster or it’ll lose its natural flavor. If there’s a bit of grit in your oyster, your shucker should flick it out with his knife.

IX. Where’s the Pearl?

Oysters aren’t cheap, but they shouldn’t break the bank, either.  If you’re paying more than $5 per piece, ask for the pearl!  A fair price for oysters will fall between $2 and $4 per piece.

X. Better Than a One Night Shuck

Your shucker has got to be able to pour you a beer or a glass of wine that will bring out the flavor of your selections. Try light and crisp wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne, Chablis, Verdejo or Chardonnay with your oysters.  Stouts or Heifenzens with a slice of lemon also bring out the flavor of raw bar picks.

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