Day 1: I had never tried a raw oyster, until very recently. Smoked oysters, fine, love them. Fried oysters, a la Louisiana style po boy sandwich - bring it on. Raw, on the other hand was something that I had never really considered. Why eat something raw, when it can be cooked? even slightly cooked?
My foray into the world of raw oyster was a humbling experience. Have you ever lifted a conch shell to your ear, hearing the pleasant roar of the ocean? Think of this, only in your mouth. A rush of potently fresh 'sea' umamiesque flavours rushed through my core. I almost lost it (not in a good way).
Gaining my composure, I asessed what I had just tasted. Interesting, but said raw oyster would have tasted better cooked. Or at least with some ounce of seasoning. I appreciated the experience, though, and it would not be something to forget.
After months of chalky, 'sea'-like flashbacks danced in my head, I concluded that raw oysters were not really my thing.
GOOD THINGS COME IS SMALL PACKAGES:
Day 82: The oyster and I meet face to face once again.
Photo: Copyright K&S Media 2008
I love beautiful things. There is nothing more intoxicating than a beautifully presented plate of food. Kensington Riverside Inn's Chefs Table speaks volumes to the art of a beautiful plate. Uber talented Executive Chef Theo Yeaman, and his team effortlessly (and efficiently) create these (see above) plates to perfection. One part season ingredient, one part molecular gastronomy (Chef Yeaman is one of the only chef's in the city to experiment with sous vide method for instance). From the heirloom tomato salad, with local goats milk feta and pine nuts to the intensely rich dungeness crab bisque with tenderly crisp beignet, to the rich, warm depth of the Chocolate molten cake -the use of colour, textures, and flavours was presented to the most enviable level at the restaurant (more on this in a future issue of City Style and Living).
So, there it was in front of me a fresh Atlantic oyster - seasoned, and garnished with mustard micro greens.As my fellow diners finished their appetizer, leaving me as the last to try the appetizer, I suprisingly couldn't wait. With slight hesitation, I slid the mollusk down my throat, carefully taking in the full experience of flavours. I paused. This was a well seasoned, yet light, fresh oyster with a clean finish - a notable mild 'sea' flavour, but with enough seasoning to balance any residual 'chalky' flavours.
I felt like I could eat another. Maybe even two.
The meal, from start to finish was seemless. Every dish equal to the next. And yet the oyster still lingered in my mind. I didn't know whether to be surprised, thankful or puzzled. This little oyster changed my perception of what a raw oyster COULD be.
The entire process of creating dishes was displayed in front of us (the kitchen is fully exposed). Chef's Table is literally an invitation inside the inner workings of a kitchen. It was a nice compliment that our Maitre D', Andrew Stewart, was well versed in food and wine parlance. Every dish was perfectly paired and suited to the dish in front of us. The service was very professional, detailed and maintained a down-to-earth formality, that was welcomed.
The little oyster prepared by Chef Yeaman was a turning point.
I think that you can guess what I will be ordering as an appetizer at my next visit to Chefs Table?!
Kensington Riverside Inn/ Chefs Table: 1126 Memorial Drive NW, Calgary; www.kensingtonriversideinn.com