Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sweet Home Philadelphia-The Oyster House

Ok...I hate Williamsburg. Or at the very least, I realized this blog is wishful thinking that Williamsburg will actually have a good place to eat someday.

Tonight, I'm on one of my frequent business trips to Philadelphia. Over the years, I have found a number of really neat low-budget eateries-from Lebanese to Belgian to Italian foods. Within a few hours of checking in today, I read a review in the weekly PM magazine for the Oyster House on Sansom Street and developed an immediate hankering for the highly touted Oyster House Punch--a rum and apricot brandy concoction. In addition, the Oyster House had a promising raw bar menu.

We sat at the marble topped bar in the spacious restaurant that featured a separate raw bar and very nice seating throughout. The young bartender-a native of Detroit-was instrumental in making sure we were well served. We first ordered the special house punch and a draft stout both exceedingly good and potent. There were at least 7 varieties of oysters available from Maine to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We simply asked the young bartender to select his favorite and we had a mixed dozen-a very sublime experience. The varied seafood menu was incredibly appetizing and we went with the recommended small plates. We had grilled sardines on crostini and a cajun style, whole shrimp in an amazing sauce of fish stock and jalapeno peppers.

A second round of drinks were in order and I placed myself at the mercy of the barkeep who recommended a Dark and Stormy. They make their own ginger beer and I almost wept at the suggestion. I was seriously considering spending the rest of the evening sampling the menu and more rum-based drinks but we pulled away to hit our favorite Monk's cafe--a Belgian beer and mussel joint. Unfortunately Monk's had been closed due to a strange structural problem with the building. We had some mussels and calamari in a nearby Italian bistro instead..which were great but the restaurant was also BYOB and we were SOOL.

On the way home, I decided to end with dessert back at the Oyster House. They were happy to see us back at the bar. We had a light plum rum cake with vanilla ice cream and the most incredible root liqueur...a sassafras tasting distillation made in the Philadelphia area. At this hour, all I can say is wow! I can not think of a single Williamsburg experience that could come close to this evening's outing on the streets of Philadelphia. Oh well, tomorrow we head home, taking some geological samples from White Clay Creek in Newark, DE and picking my prodigal son up from Dulles who has just spent two months in London, Paris, and Berlin. Maybe we will have Mexican food somewhere on our return

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