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Oyster Fest

Photos by Dan Bishop   

November 2013

Did you know that oysters are an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium and selenium, as well as vitamin A and vitamin B12? Besides, they taste good. And you know what else they say about oysters … So when the mood hits, make your way to one of several Milwaukee area raw oyster bars.

Barnacle Bud’s

Bud’s bills itself as Milwaukee’s only outside oyster bar, at the confluence of the Milwaukee/Menomonee rivers where ore boats and sailcraft make for a watery backdrop. Tuesdays mid-June through the end of September the bivalve mollusks are "only $1 stinking dollar" per oyster, as owner Gene McKiernan says. Otherwise, the Bevans, Naked Cowboys and other varieties are $2. Occasionally, champion oyster shuckers drop in to show their prowess. 1955 S. Hilbert St. (414) 481-9974

Harbor House

Harbor House features "The Yacht" seafood tower with a half-pound lobster, four oysters, three shrimp, lump crab and ceviche, along with other oyster specials that change depending on the market. Diners can also get fried oysters. During the weekday happy hours throughout the year, oysters are only 89 cents from 4 to 6 p.m. This is a little-known fact, one rarely shared by the downtown subculture of foodies who shows up after work to indulge themselves. Between 10,000 to 11,000 oysters are served here each month. 550 N. Harbor Drive (414) 395-4900

Milwaukee Oyster Bar

The Public Market’s Milwaukee Oyster Bar at the St. Paul Fish Co. has one of the most extensive lists of oysters in Brew City. On any given day, a diner can slurp Maine North Havens, Watch Hills from Rhode Island and British Columbia’s Buckley Bays, among the dozens of offerings. Perch at the counter and watch the shuckers at work or grab a windowside table. Prices generally range from $1 to $1.75, with oyster shooters pegged at $2.50. On Thursdays, you can get two-for-one deals. The oyster po’boys are on a par with anything out of New Orleans, and there are also fried oysters to delight the palate. No reservations are required, but seats fill up quickly, especially around lunch and dinner time. 400 N. Water St. (414) 220-8383

Mitchell’s Fish Market Seafood Restaurant & Bar

Oysters are secured by the plateful at trendy Mitchell’s Fish Market. The Blue Points from Connecticut are among the most popular selection, along with Puget Sound’s Olympic Miyagis. Oyster samplers at $14.99 are a great way to check out what’s the latest on the menu. For a different twist, the char-broiled oysters are a hearty treat. Originally a New Orleans restaurant highlight, with this dish you can get six oysters done up with a special "cajun" butter and Parmesan cheese. Ask the server for the best pairings of wine or beer to go with the selected item. A bottle of Veuve Cliqout from Reims, France, makes for a beautiful marriage, especially when a couple is doing the anniversary thing. 275 N. Moorland Road (262) 789-2426

Molly Cool’s Seafood Tavern

In the Milwaukee’s good old days, wait staff wore starched aprons and wriggled their walrus mustaches as they maneuvered among the tables. Molly Cool’s keeps up that tradition of service, doing seafood in grand style. A Chef’s Choice Dozen is a steal at $21.99. Throughout the week, a creamy Kumamoto will hit $3 for a single oyster, but from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, a visitor can indulge in an "Oyster Orgy." The promo features special pricing for oysters and $3.99 peel ’n eat shrimp. What’s great, the menu tells what to expect from each offering. For instance, the Coromandel from northern New Zealand has "a delicate flavor with cucumber finish" and the Bluepoints are "mild and firm, with a salty taste." This a great way for a tyro oyster lover to quickly become an aficionado of the family Ostreidae. 1110 N. Old World 3rd St. (414) 831-8862



This story ran in the November 2013 issue of: