Mar 24, 2010

Fira and Oysters: A Lovestory

Yesterday was an Oyster Day. Well, at least for me and Ruzanna, a.k.a. Ru, Ruza, or Drian' Izbalovannaja (don't ask, I can't say this in English). We've decided to dine at the renowned Oyster Boy on Queen and Ossington. Their website promised "a selection of at least 4 types of oysters on any given day" plus a very interesting ever-changing, yet limited, menu. Let me jump ahead by saying that the menu changes so fast that the one on the site was already outdated.

We've walked right past the restaurant at first. It's a very small space with virtually non-existent presence on the outside. Inside, however, it oozes vintage low-key charm and easiness of a neighborhood hangout spot. It's early evening, and the resto is almost empty with just one suit-clad guy sipping his beer at the back. We pick a table, get water and start looking around…

Oyster Boy comes straight from the laid-back 60s Everything from the monstrous white fridge that dominates an open-concept kitchen to chipped enameled serving plates to gas stop diner-inspired sitting area makes you half nostalgic and half grateful it's not real. A server wearing a horrid floral frock adds to the second half. The only think that makes us believe this is really an oyster bar (read expensive and much-coveted) is an ice-filled tank with…well, oysters in it.

The "floral" server brings us menus and the wine list that is surprisingly interesting, yet again a bit limited. We opt for an inexpensive Chardonnay and a dozen oysters to start while deciding on the main. I am drawn towards seafood, but the fish of the day is tilapia, and I am discouraged. Ru asks about the soup of the day (onion miso), and risotto of the day (exiting with lots of veggies, but no protein) and we both decide to go with the steak served with a pudding, roasted veggies, and red potatoes. I ask the server to substitute my potatoes with a green salad and she says yes with a smile. Another surprise-no extra charge for the salad.

While sipping the wine we watch a young gent prepare our oysters. He looks like a pro handling the knife with confidence that doesn't go with his teen looks. We are surprised to notice he is smelling each oyster and an odd one goes in the garbage. We are confused a little-is Oyster Boy striving for superior quality or the shells are just not that fresh? When they finally arrive, the former proves to be the case. The oysters are fresh and delicate, with a subtle salty taste and silky flesh that melts in your mouth. The wine is casual and just a notch plain, but it keeps us focused on the taste of the mollusks.

When the steaks arrive, we are wowed with the serving size and presentation. The meet is juicy and soft, and the veggies crisp and colorful, with my salad served on a side plate. The only thing that gets me confused is the so-called "pudding". It's essentially a mushroom-shaped puff pastry that it completely out-of-place alongside those gorgeous steak and veggies. We chase the meet with an espresso and a latte (one of the best I had in recent months-rich foam and impeccable taste) and ask for the bill. With wine and coffee, we are at $110 and that's quite low compared to other oyster bars we've been too.

Oyster Boy is a solid 7 on a 10-scale. I will be going there again, perhaps with my BF. It's a hungry man-friendly place with abandoned food supply and no dress code-Mr. Zaika will love that!


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