Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Walrus and The Carpenter

We rarely go to tiny The Walrus and The Carpenter only because of the queues. The oyster bar takes no reservations. It opens at 4pm, and by 3.15pm, there's a queue out of the door! And in late fall or winter, I don't particularly want to stand out in the cold to queue for oysters. Shiro's is a different story since it takes reservations, unless you want to do omakase at the counter. I will queue for sushi if the craving strikes in non-Asian city with access to super fresh seafood.

The man loves oysters. So on a whim, we tried our luck at the restaurant at 3.55pm on a Sunday. You know what? There were thankfully only six people in front of us and an already half-filled eatery. The line behind us was crazy. Still. On a day when there isn't a happy-hour discount. And this is years after they opened in the summer of 2010. Win lor. Check their Facebook page for the occasional private-event-closure announcements.

I know an eatery back home that tries to uhh re-create this concept. IMHO, it doesn't do it very well. It tries to incorporate Northwest flavors, but the kitchen doesn't seem to understand it, and besides taking the effort to import and place Northwest oysters on the menu, pretty much nothing else reminds me of Seattle or WA. Anyway.

Again, The Walrus and The Carpenter, as part of Renee Ericsson's brand (also in partnership with Jeremy Price and Chad Dale), imposes a mandatory 20% service charge for each bill. However, they also charge USD4 for bread and butter. Hmmm. It's an oyster bar. So drinks are plentiful. House-made sodas were great. Beer choices (probably on rotating taps) were fine.

The oysters were fantastic. The selections offered were nicely curated and enough to showcase WA flavors across briny, creamy or sweet. Not that I'm this huge fan of oysters. Am okay with them, but don't go gaga over an oyster-eating adventure. There're some species I avoid. By now, I've found three from the Pacific Northwest that I truly like. The tiny Olympia oysters from South Puget Sound, Hollie Wood from Fanny Bay in British Columbia, and Sea Nymphs from Hama Hama Co, Hammersley.

The man was in oyster delirium. He ordered one round of ALL THE OYSTERS ON THE MENU, then a second round of a dozen Hollie Wood and Sea Nymphs. He wrote tasting notes on his phone, accompanied by photos. o.O He's got this set of notes on oysters which he meticulously keeps to remember which is what, since all shells are pretty much similar.

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