Last weekend, an indie band I had never heard of that just happened to be my boyfriend’s favorite was playing in Toronto. We made plans to have dinner at Wvrst finally, but the TTC was uncooperative that night and by the time we got there, a huge lineup had formed. So like last time, we decided to try another place around King West and that’s how our adventure in oysters began.
My sister had long proclaimed her love for them but I had just never gotten around to trying it. Last Thursday however, I had them for the very first time at The Emmet Ray in College West and really liked them. Although my boss Crystal said they were only OK and that I should really try Rodney’s Oyster House, which is why I decided to bring Keith there so he can have his first oyster experience at a place that specializes in them.
When you enter Rodney’s you go down a set of stairs and immediately see a bunch of water tanks. There are lobster traps, fish nets and other maritime memorabilia. You instantly know you’re in the right place. We didn’t have reservations so the hostess sat us at the bar, which turned out to be the best seats in the house, at least in our opinion. You’re right in the middle of the action.
The impressive (and slightly intimidating) selection of oysters is just in front of you. A friendly server (with a slight Irish accent in our case) comes to help you with the menu but really just let them choose for you. Unless you’re an oyster connoisseur and are familiar with the differences between the 9 to 26 kinds they have daily, you would do best to trust them. You just tell them how many oysters you want to end up with and they bring you back a variety. Disclaimer: it can end up being very expensive as some oysters are $5-$7 dollars each so err on the side of restraint. You can always order more later since they take next to no time to prepare. Then you can just sit back, enjoy the free bread and butter while you watch them expertly shuck your oysters and arrange them beautifully on a bed of ice with freshly grated horseradish and lemon slices.
Now, when it comes to eating them, I like to loosen it a little from the shell first with the mini fork they give you, squeeze some lemon, sprinkle a pinch of horseradish and slurp. If I thought the oysters I first had were good, then these were amazing. We tried four kinds and I loved them all. They tasted so fresh with slight variations in flavor depending on where they came from. Some were saltier, some were milder. Do not ask me to identify which ones we had though because I can’t for the life of me remember their names. I just knew that they were delicious. As for Keith? Well, let’s just say that while he appreciated the art of it all, he’s not an oyster guy at all. And that’s ok because you’ll never know until you try.
He liked the smaller, milder first kind we tasted but once we got to the bigger ones (see photo above) he said they were too strong for him to enjoy. Although he did just use lemon and horseradish as a topping. Maybe next time he can try one with any of the different sauces they also offer and see if that helps.
What he did enjoy immensely however was the shrimp cocktail, which is the best we’ve ever had. The shrimp was huge! They were cooked perfectly and the cocktail sauce had just the right amount of kick to it.
We had a wonderful dinner and I can’t wait to go back to taste more oysters and take advantage of their great beer and cider offerings. I can’t vouch for the rest of the seafood items on the menu but the ones we tried were the freshest we’ve ever had. If you want to try oysters for the first time or are looking for the best selection in the city, then this is the place to go.
Happy Tuesday and happy eating!