UPDATE, Dec. 12, 1 p.m.: The caviar curious will be able to try before buying after all: the Island Creek Caviar Pop-Up just announced that it will host three, complimentary sampling events before its time on Newbury Street is up. For the last three Saturdays this month (December 14, 21, and 28), shuckers from the Duxbury farm will be in the house sharing tastes of their three caviar offerings, from 1-6 p.m. each afternoon.
It seems like caviar is everywhere lately—on oysters, on pizza, even on doughnut holes. And this month, just in time for the holiday season, the delicacy is even more accessible: Island Creek Oysters is back on Newbury Street with a month-long, pop-up retail shop, featuring the brand’s lineup of domestic caviar options, along with $15 dozens of oysters to go, and must-have merch for all the seafood lovers on your gift list.
Island Creek’s caviar pop-up shop opens Monday, Dec. 2, in a former Ministry of Supply storefront at 299 Newbury St., in between Gloucester and Hereford streets. Though Island Creek has an eponymous oyster bar in Kenmore Square, as well as a Burlington outpost, Row 34 restaurants, and a seasonal raw bar at its Duxbury farm, this is only the second time the company has had a Newbury Street retail presence since an inaugural Boston pop-up in 2015.
Island Creek sources and packages three different types of roe, or fish eggs: Classic white sturgeon caviar from Sterling Caviar Farms in Eleverta, Calif.; osetra caviar from Marshallberg Farm in Smyrna, N.C.; and for the first time this year, wild paddlefish roe from a fishery in Oklahoma. At the pop-up shop, the caviar curious can learn about the flavor differences among Island Creek’s three offerings, as well as more about the farms where they are grown.
Like it has done with oysters, Island Creek has sought out the highest quality caviars and roe available in the United States, says president Chris Sherman. “We have had success in the past with taking things that are supposedly mysterious, fancy foods and turning them into a really fun and approachable experience. We couple that with the mission-based aspect of what we do,” Sherman says. “You can have a good time, but also learn and feel good about the product you’re enjoying.
“Caviar is something that’s so good,” Sherman continues, “but the supply chain can be opaque.” Historically from the Caspian Sea, sturgeon populations there have been critically overfished, and importing it to the U.S. was halted in the early 2000s. Much of the caviar on the market today comes from China.
“Like oysters, we want to find the very best [roe] available on the market from a sustainable and traceable standpoint, and break it down and make it something people can enjoy on a regular basis,” Sherman says.
The caviars and roe are available in the shop in 30-gram, 50-gram, 250-gram, and kilo tins, priced from $30 to $2,000 for a kilo of the highest-grade osetra. The brick-and-mortar also carries fresh Duxbury oysters to go for $15/dozen. (A dollop of caviar on an oyster is the ICO team’s preferred way of snacking; unfortunately, the Newbury Street store isn’t licensed for dining in, but know that white sturgeon caviar is a $3 add-on to any oyster at Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34.)
The store shelves are filled out with newly designed T-shirts, hoodies, and enamel pins, as well as oyster shucking knives, vintage French oyster serving platters, and gift cards for Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34. The shop is also a shipping station, where you can order and send caviar, merchandise, and oysters fresh from Duxbury Bay to anywhere in the U.S.
Look out for special events to happen at the Newbury Street pop-up throughout the month. In the meantime, Island Creek is now open, and ready to demystify this oceanic delicacy for you just in time for you to nail the holiday party spread.
Caviar Pop-Up Shop by Island Creek Oysters, open daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 299 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, islandcreekoysters.com.
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