Travelling alone, you eat alone. And therefore you look for an eatery that could occupy you, not just in terms of food and flavours, but also distractions like a good bar (and bartender), TV broadcasting sports, etc. These were usually not culinary adventures, just a necessary evil to imbibe nutrition.
So one day, I was walking around Salt Lake City Downtown, wondering my next meal. I was on a strict diet of no carbs and additional sugars, so no ramen or pho. I was all “steaked”-out for the moment, having spent a week in town, and steaks every other meal. SLC was not a temple for seafood, so as I was walking I stumbled on the Market Street Seafood and Grill and its cousin the Oyster Bar.
The moment you walked into the place, you are greeted by the bar – Oyster Bar. If you are dining alone (which I was), get a seat at the bar as this is the best place to have your meal. The TV was showing a game, the bartender (I shall call him John) seemed friendly, and there were oysters.
The variety that they carry was not something I was familiar, except for the Kumamoto, so I order one of each. John gave me a dirty look. From L to R, Clockwise : Blue Point, Kumamoto, Select Northwest, Kusshi.
The Blue Point from Cheapskate, sorry, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, was a briny, small oyster. Not much flavour, I guessed it was farmed.
Kumamoto was a creamy, small oyster with a distinct metallic taste. These were from Humboldt Bay, California.
Select Northwest from State of Washington was big, almost like a Pacific oyster or a Belon. But what it compensated in size did not translate into flavours.
Kusshi from Cortes Island, British Columbia turned out to be the best in this sampler. No wonder John asked me to go in that order.
After the sampler, I went for a half dozen of Kusshi, and John broke into a sly smile. He gets it.
The Kusshi, is Japanese for “precious,” and these oysters are just that with their small, gemlike shells. Their smooth shell is due to specialized and proprietary practices, passed down through the generations from father to son.
They are farmed by the tray suspension method coupled with a unique tumbling process. Suspended in mesh trays in deep water their entire lives, they are protected from predators, mud, sand and silt. This process fosters beautiful shells with deep cups, which can typically be an oyster shucker’s nightmare because their shells are brittle since they never had to fight for survival. The extra step of tumbling helps strengthen their shells, making Kusshi Oysters easier to shuck.
The Kusshi’s exquisite flavour starts salty, transitions to sweet, and finishes with a delightfully mild fruity taste.
After the starters, I could not have a big main and decided on a cioppino. San Franciscan Cioppino – Mexican Shrimp, Alaskan Halibut, Clams and Calamari, Garlic Toast was almost like a soup. It was a very generous seafood broth with ample seafood as a main course. I wanted to reject the garlic bread, but the thick, tomato broth was so inviting, I used it to wipe the bowl clean. And it came with a side of chopped salad.
SLC did not offer many choices for great food. You either get steaks, Mexican or Italian. So stumbling on Market Street was a surprise. Great place for a quick meal, catch a game and then walk back to the hotels downtown as it is located centrally from every action in town.
Market Street Oyster Bar
48 West Market Street (340 S) Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Tel: +1 (801) 531-6044
Date Visited : Oct 2017