The Spice Is Right: Island Creek Oyster Bar’s Custom Condiment Caddy

By | Boston Magazine |

You won’t find candles or flowers adorning the tables at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Instead, metal caddies stocked with hot sauces, vinegars, and other seafood-worthy accoutrements are the centerpieces. “We curated an interesting selection that we feel works well with the food,” says chef and co-owner Jeremy Sewall, who chose the contents of the custom-designed vessel with help from the ICOB staff. Below, Sewall offers a primer on everything from locavore hot sauce to plain old Heinz.

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Photograph by Bruce Peterson, Styling by Molly Shuster

1. Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
“It’s spicy, acidic, and rich all at the same time, and has a flavor that chefs just truly enjoy.”

2. Red Tabasco
“If you mix it with ketchup for French fries, it’s delicious. The ketchup adds a sweetness and mellows out the heat.”

3. Cholula
“It’s not too spicy in the spectrum of hot sauces. It’s a personal favorite on the fish and chips for me. Or on an egg sandwich for breakfast.”

4. Heinz Ketchup
“I’ve never had anyone make ketchup that tastes better than Heinz. It’s been a source of frustration for many people that want to make homemade ketchup for the menu—no you don’t!”

5. Gypsy Juice
“It’s a locally made product, and has a little relish quality to it—with chili, garlic, and acid. It would be really good on a burger.”

6. Malt Vinegar
“That’s for the fish and chips.I think the vinegar with the crispy beer batter just works.”

7. Sriracha
“It’s become a staple in most kitchens at this point. I put a little in our steamed littleneck clams—just a bit to brighten a broth is fantastic.”

8. Green Tabasco
“Regular Tabasco is too hot and vinagery on its own, but green Tabasco has a nice, mellow heat and bright acid flavor. It’s the secret ingredient in our clam chowder.”

9. Horseradish
“People put that on everything—on their bread, in their ketchup. Some use it straight up on the oysters.”