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DeRushaEats: So Many Oysters


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What's the deal with oysters? These living, delicious, slimy, controversial little tastes of the ocean are everywhere.

The brand-new Blue Plate Restaurant The Lowry is so into oysters, they put the word on the outside of their building.

I had owner Steph Shimp (not shrimp) in on my WCCO radio show last week (skip ahead to 18:00 into the podcast) and she brought platters of delicious oysters. It was interesting to taste three different oysters back-to-back, because the flavor and texture was so different. From salty to metallic, from firm to juicy.

Oysters are alive while you eat them, which is a little gross to think about, but it would be even more gross to eat them while dead. Still, it's fascinating to me to think oysters in the Twin Cities are mainstream enough for them to be at an Uptown Blue Plate restaurant, from the people who made their name in the Twin Cities with Groveland Tap and Edina Grill.

Maybe Russel Klein deserves some of the credit for that.

Last Sunday I went to OysterFest at Meritage (you have to check out their new Oyster bar if you're an oyster fan) and spent a lot of time talking with chef/owner Russel Klein. This guy is passionate about oysters.

In fact, this year he took a trip with his wife and co-owner Desta, calling it "Oyster Hunt 2011"—visiting the farmers who provide most of the oysters they sell at Meritage.

I can see why they love the Hama Hama Oysters, after trying them Sunday. What an incredible flavor.

Chef Klein talked about "mer-oir" as a contrast to terroir in wine. With wine, you taste the soil where the grapes were grown. With oysters, you taste the sea. The Hama Hama is at the edge of the Hama Hama River in Washington—it's where the salty ocean water meets the fresh river water, and it gives a really unique flavor.

Oyster tasting at WCCOThe best thing about oysters (besides their sex appeal—there's something seductive about tipping back the shell and slurping down an oyster) is that they're totally sustainable. Most oysters are farmed, rather than wild caught, and oysters actually filter the surrounding water in a good way.

But when I was on the radio, so many people texted saying that oysters tasted like "boogers" and the texture repulsed them. What say you? Why so many oysters now? And are they really an aphrodisiac?

To see more from OysterFest, watch my new DeRushaEats segment on WCCO-TV Saturday Morning at 8 a.m. on October 15.

The Lowry
2112 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55405
thelowryuptown.com/food

Meritage
410 Saint Peter Street
St. Paul, MN
meritage-stpaul.com

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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