Jan 2, 2013

Guest Post: Merchant's Oyster Bar

Thanks so much to my friends Chris Cordova and Nicole  for joining me at Merchant's Oyster Bar last week, and Chris, for graciously volunteering to write for my blog.


Located on Commercial Drive one block north of 1st Ave., Merchant's Oyster Bar sits, tucked away. It has a bit of a bistro setting with large windows, so people-watching is a must. The staff were extremely friendly, knowledgeable and it seemed as if every staff member working there made a visit to our table at least once during the evening. The staff knew their food and recommended their favourites, which I apparently happened to choose throughout the night. 


We arrived a little after opening on a Friday night. We were the only ones there when we arrived, but it picked up within the next hour. We also went on the days between Christmas and New Years and that may have had an affect on the numbers there at the time.I started with a drink from the bar. I had a ‘Dark and Stormy’ which contained housemade ginger syrup, dark rum, lime juice, and soda. I was a bit hesitant to order it at first since I am not a big fan of ginger. However, the ginger was not overpowering at all. The drink was sweet, and the ginger added a subtle kick. A must-try!

The real reason that we went was for the oysters, of course and boy, they did not disappoint! Everyday from 5 - 6:30pm, and then from 9 pm til close, Merchant’'s has ‘Buck-a-Shuck’ oysters. The choices that day were Kumamoto, Chefs Creek, Joyce Point, and Gorge Inlet. 



Merchant's Oyster Bar - Buck a Shuck Oysters


We tried one of each and then decided to order more of the Kumamoto and Chef’s Creek. Although on the smaller side, I favoured the Kumamoto as they was meaty and slightly on the sweet side. The Chefs Creek was a medium size with a mild taste and a hint of saltiness. The Joyce Point oysters were definitely a hefty oyster, and I found them to be slightly salty, while the Gorge Inlet oysters appeared to have a bit more of an ocean aftertaste. All the oysters came with topping options of Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce, lemon, freshly grated horseradish, and a red wine vinegar mignonette.




Our table also shared the Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes as an appetizer. These cream smothered potatoes were soft enough to almost melt in your mouth, yet firm enough around the edges to hold the potatoes together. The baked parmesan on top added a hidden bite of texture and saltiness. A hint of onion added a sweet surprise.





For my main course, I had the House Pappardelle which consisted of long, wide flat noodles and oyster mushrooms, coated with the perfect amount of cream sauce. When presented, it comes with a single egg yolk sitting in the middle of the dish which you break and blend into your pasta before eating.






Nicole had the Beet Salad which consisted of golden and red beets drizzled in dill oil and served goat cheese. It was a good marriage of flavours with the sweetness of the beets complementing the saltiness of the cheese, and some spiciness in the greens.

Most of the entrĂ©e items on the dinner menu are in the $10-15 range. With that in mind, the proportions aren'’t huge, but they are filled with flavour. The restaurant also has a Brunch Menu and I’'m already planning my next visit to try the Lobster Benedict.


Frugal Foodie Tip: Check-In on Yelp!, and they are currently offering 3 Free Oysters!

Merchant's Oyster Bar  on Urbanspoon

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