Shaw’s Crab House locations in Chicago and Schaumburg, IL, will celebrate its 24th Annual Oyster Fest from Oct. 8 to 12. Festivities include oyster slurping contests, and the event culminates in a “Royster with the Oyster” block party. Last year’s party attracted more than 4,000 oyster-lovers. This year’s party venue is a parking lot on Rush Street, a block east of Shaw’s Chicago.
At the Oct. 8 kick-off, the Oyster Deal celebration offers oysters on the half shell for 50 cents apiece from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. For the rest of the Oyster Fest Week, oysters are available at the reduced price of $7 per half dozen or $14 per dozen.
The Oysterfest menu offered Thursdays through Sundays during September at Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market in Melrose, MA, features a variety of Northeast and Northwest oysters. Most oyster varieties served on the half shell at the raw bar and in the dining room are priced at $2.25 each. Varieties include Cape Spear Salts (New Brunswick), Mayflowers (Dennisport, MA), Gigamoto or Komo Gway (British Columbia), Thatch Island (Barnstable, MA), Rocky Shores (P.E.I.), and Wallace Boys (Nova Scotia). Choices are rotated on the menu. The oysters are served with a trio of new cocktail sauces created by executive chef Jaime Aguilar: chipotle mignonette, picante salsa fresca, and pickled jalapeno-cilantro relish. Other menu options include Szechuan fried oysters ($10.99), oyster pan fry ($13.99), and flounder with oyster stuffing ($21.99).
At Upstream in Charlotte, NC, executive chef Tom Dyrness selected 10 varieties of cold water oysters from around the country paired with 10 wines for the restaurant’s Fourth Annual Oyster Bash on Sept. 22. The cost of the event is $95 per person, with Upstream donating a portion of the evening’s proceeds to the hunger relief organization, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.
Oysters will be paired with 10 wines. Featured oyster varieties include Komo Gway Oysters (British Columbia), Malagash (Nova Scotia), Rappahannock (Virginia), Fanny Bay (British Columbia), Connecticut Bluepoint (Long Island Sound, CT), Royal Miyagi (British Columbia), Kumamoto (Washington), Old Salte (Virginia), Fire Lake (New Brunswick), and Harkers Island (Beaufort, NC).
Turner’s Oyster Stew
From: Chef Jaime Aguilar, Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market, Melrose, MA. Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 lb. shucked oysters, liquid reserved
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup shallots, minced
8 oz. raw bacon, diced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. cracked black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ cup leeks, rinsed well and rough chopped
1 qt. light cream
3 cups whole milk
In a four-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until brown, then place the pieces on paper towels to drain. Leave the rendered bacon fat in the pan, and sauté the shallots and garlic in the fat until tender. Next, add the oysters and their liquor and cook for two minutes, then add the butter and stir. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir carefully until well blended (about one minute). Finally, add the remaining ingredients, including the bacon pieces. Bring stew briefly to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until it reaches desired thickness. Season to taste.
Grilled Louisiana oysters with garlic chile butter from New Orleans chef Donald Link
Kumamoto oysters from Chef Eric Strong of Studio Restaurant, Montage, Laguna Beach