Where to Find Composed Oysters in Boston
With vibrant accoutrements such as quail eggs, fresh herbs, and top-shelf vinegars, composed oysters are making a splash on the raw-bar scene.
North Square Oyster
Slurp an oyster. Sip rosé. Repeat. Chef Douglas Rodrigues condenses the raw-bar ritual by incorporating blush wine into a mignonette for an intricate preparation that also includes yuzu, watermelon pearls, and a dab of crème fraîche (2). A more savory take (1) punches up the briny bivalve with angelica mignonette, quail egg yolk, Chartreuse jelly, and caviar. “Oysters are the perfect vehicle for creativity,” he says.
5 North Sq., Boston, 617-829-4975, northsquareoyster.com.
As fall approaches, chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer adorn high-salinity Island Creek oysters from Duxbury with cranberry verjus, grated green apple, and a hint of fresh wasabi (3). The acidic, sweet, and fiery flavors mimic those of traditional accompaniments such as horseradish, mignonette, and cocktail sauce. But in this case, “we do all the work for people,” Oringer says.
253 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com.
Oak + Rowan
A slightly spicy gazpacho pinch-hits for cocktail sauce on the raw half (4) of chef Justin Shoults’s “Broiled East Coast vs. Raw West Coast” oyster starter. The plump, deep-cupped Capital from Washington State is dressed with the chilled soup—made from Massachusetts-grown heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and jalapeño—and its own brine before getting adorned with fresh tarragon and a dab of basil oil.
321 A St., Boston, 857-284-7742, oakandrowan.com.
Alices of cucamelon—a cucumber resembling a thumbnail-size watermelon—enhance the exceptionally clean finish of oysters from the chilly waters of Maine’s Damariscotta River (5). Chef Meghann Ward also fills the half shell with a cucumber–rice wine mignonette and pickled coriander berries for a burst of acidity. “It’s really fresh and light,” she says of the preparation.
69 Kilmarnock St., Boston, 617-421-4470, tapestry.restaurant.
“I like to serve oysters with anything that’s the complete opposite flavor profile,” says chef David Bazirgan. This time of the year, he’s garnishing Beach Points from Barnstable with diced peaches, champagne-vinegar mignonette, chives, and lemon balm chiffonade (6). The fruit’s sweetness helps balance the briny bivalve—and keeps summer flavors in rotation until the tail end of the season.
25 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, 617-868-4444, bambara-cambridge.com.