The oyster has been out on appetizer menus for the past couple of years. These marine mollusks have been rockafeller’ed, grilled, and lately shot in a glass with some vodka. But for the purists out there, the search for the freshest, juiciest oyster in Toronto is still a Friday night ritual. Ask any oyster lover and they’ll point you to one of two places: Rodney’s Oyster House and Oyster Boy – but which house truly does the bivalve justice?
Rodney’s Oyster House
Rodney’s Oyster House by Geoff Peters
Located in the sub-level space of a building on King, Rodney Clark has been into oysters since he was a toddler. At Rodney’s, oysters is a passion as connoisseurs double as waiters to tell you a little about the molluscs you’ll soon devour. If you can’t decide, these connoisseurs can create a mixed plate for you to try, which I did. Fresh atop a bed of ice, these juicy oysters came with plenty of freshly grated horseradish, lots of lemons, and five of Rodney’s own house sauces; including White Boy Soul and Back from Hell. And if you’re lucky enough to find some, try the homemade iced-tea – only made at certain times in the summer. For those of you who aren’t mollusk-inclined, Rodney’s menu offers lots of great choices, including the Lobster BLT and the clam chowder.
The tagline at this Queen Street West eatery is “the oyster is our world”, and as soon as you step into the cozy restaurant you can feel it. At OB, they offer their oysters retail or wholesale, and even offer oyster shucking classes, called Shuck U, for the oyster shuckers in all of us. Like Rodney’s, they don’t have an extensive menu, but what they do, they do well – and large. The serving sizes can easily feed two, so share a plate after you’ve tasted their pièce de résistance. I asked for a mixed plate, and was pleasantly surprised at the size of the oysters. The kumamotos and cushings were incredible—they were plump and fresh and the price was just right for a dozen.
Great oysters, great service, and a great experience all together. But, while Oyster Boy was less expensive, it didn’t skimp out on the freshness. I’d go for Oyster Boy if that’s all you’re looking for—but head to Rodney’s if you want a more robust menu.