Sex and Death: Gulf Coast Oyster Roundup

The cheapest place to eat oysters is in your backyard. Don't forget the Meyer lemons!

Thanks to the cold weather, the local oysters are putting on an extra coat of fat and they are sweeter than ever. So where’s the best place to eat them?

Unfortunately, the oyster happy hour at Danton’s on Montrose has come to an end. A reader named Mike Copenhaver told me in an e-mail that he found out about the change in price when got the bill for four dozen at $9.50 per dozen.

That’s kind of high. A couple of calls around town reveals that the new Jimmy Wilson’s Seafood and Chop House at 5161 San Felipe is charging $7 a dozen. Valentino’s at 20801 Gulf Freeway in Webster is getting $6 a dozen. Pappa’s Brothers Seafood House on the Gulf Freeway at Woodbridge has some really cheap oyster specials on the weekends. (Call 713-641-0318 for details.)

Personally, I buy a hundred count sack and shuck them myself. If you call Steve Berreth at Airline Seafood on Richmond at 713-526-2351 one day in advance, he’ll order a sack for you. It’s $30, which comes out to 30 cents each or $3.60 a dozen. You have to scrub them first, since they’re usually quite muddy, but it’s worth the effort.

For smaller quantities (and cleaner oysters), go to Central Market. They get between 60 and 80 cents each for Gulf oysters, when they have them in stock. They also sell oysters from Canada, Virginia and Connecticut for $1.50 to $1.70 each if you want to compare ours to the high-priced East Coast varieties.

If you need a shucking knife, Central Market sells those too, they are $8 each. They also offer “cut resistant” oyster shucking gloves. If you’re new to shucking, you might want to pick up a pair to cut down on the bloodshed. You might also want to watch one of the oyster shucking videos on YouTube before you get started. – Robb Walsh

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