Oysters on Clematis Street: The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar

Alchemist Clematis Street Florida
By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

Not sure what we had in mind for grazing last night, Mike and I headed to Clematis Street, a few short blocks away from my home in West Palm Beach. We were drawn into The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar, a newly opened restaurant on the street. It is the latest addition to the Daiza Restaurant Group, which operates The Atlantic Fish & Chophouse and The Boathouse on Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the Atlantic Surf Club in Fort Lauderdale.

oysters in west palm beach
I had been there a few nights before at an opening for downtown residents. I was impressed with creative food and drinks, as well as with the vibe. It is great to see more places on Clematis Street embracing live music.

We were ushered over to a high-top and were soon greeted by Jamie Howland, a bartender who had been called in on her night off to fill in as a server to handle a larger than expected crowd. Obviously, word was getting around about The Alchemist and management wanted to make sure there were plenty of servers on hand.

As I told Jamie that we were looking forward to grazing through the menu, she appeared to read my mind.

"Start with the oysters," she said with incredibly inviting grin. "You’ll appreciate how the blood orange mignonette crafted by Executive Chef Tim Farley brings out the flavors in our oysters."

Mike, who had never tasted an oyster before in his life, was cautiously intrigued with her recommendation. And since I have a weakness for anything made from blood oranges, oysters were ordered.
 

oysters in FloridaA platter of freshly shucked Royal Miyagis from British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia and Chilmarks from Edgartown Great Pond on Martha’s Vineyard promptly arrived along with the first round of our superbly chilled Finlandia Martinis.

Generally, Pacific oysters are smaller than their Atlantic counterparts; however, that was not the case last night at The Alchemist. The slightly ruffled and lavender tinged white shelled Royal Miyagis were noticeably larger than the gnarly shelled Chilmarks.

Mike, having no idea what to expect, requested a little direction from me.

"It is simple," I advised. "Lift, tilt, slurp and chew."

He watched intensely as I lifted the first Royal Miyagi to my lips.

The smooth firm Royal Miyagi was sweet and slightly creamy, with a clean finish. Mike could tell from the expression on my face that I was pleased. 

"You aren’t going to use a squirt of lemons or either the sauces," he inquired.

I explained that I prefer my oysters "naked" and always start out tasting each variety that way.

So, Mike followed suit, raising a naked Royal Miyagi to his lips. He slurped, chewed and within an instant, he was sporting a wide grin.

"Nothing like I expected," he told me.

As this was not my first time with an oyster virgin, I knew better to ask what he had expected.

"Let’s try them with the sauces now," he proposed.
oysters in florida restaurant

I reached for a cocktail fork and dipped it into the blood orange mignonette. It was chock-full of freshly diced shallots, which were perfectly complemented by the blood oranges’ juice and rind. I was semi-tempted to grab a spoon to snack on the sauce alone, but I resisted for the time being.

Using our forks, we lifted our next Royal Miyagis out of their shells and dunked them into the mignonette. After placing them back into their shells, we topped the oysters with a few strands of the mignonette soaked blood orange rinds, and slurped away.

Truly heavenly.

oysters rand hoch
Now it was time for the Chilmarks. Sampling them naked, we found them to be significantly saltier. Yet they showed delicate flavor with a sweet aftertaste.

Chef Farley’s slightly sweet pepperoncini cocktail sauce was still waiting to be sampled. We dunked our next Chilmarks, topping them with a touch of freshly ground horseradish. An other perfect hit for The Alchemist.

Mike was enthralled by not only the concept of eating oysters, but also the amazing freshness and flavors of these two particular varieties. So, another platter was ordered. Jamie also insisted we try the Lobster Poppers, which are destined to be come one of my favorites at The Alchemist.

"All fresh lobster," Jamie said, informing us that Culinary Director Martin Verano made sure that everything served at The Alchemist was as fresh as possible. "No canned lobster here."

The Alchemist has it all: Great food and drinks, creatively crafted. Beautifully presented by stellar servers and bartenders. And just steps away from my home. What more could I want?

The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar
223 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
www.thealchemistgastropub.com
(561) 355-0691

When you go, tell them that Rand from Go Shuck An Oyster sent you.

An Update on Oyster Restoration from Baykeeper NY/NJ

baykeeper nyAt Go Shuck An Oyster, we are always glad to share information about oyster restoration.  Here is an updated submitted by Baykeeper NY/NJ:

October 6th marked the end of yet another successful field season at our growing oyster reef in Soundview Park in the Bronx.

Working with our partners, Hudson River Foundation and NYC Parks (among others), Baykeeper staff and our eco-volunteers helped to construct and monitor an ongoing oyster reef restoration project.

baykeeper new yorkVolunteers had the opportunity to get in the water with waders and see the oyster reef up close. Observing oyster growth and survival, along with associated fauna, we were able to follow the oyster spat throughout the summer.

While we will not be in the field until next spring, this winter our oyster staff will be busy planning more volunteer dates and organizing fundraisers with our new partner, Finlandia Vodka. We’re looking forward to seeing you all again in the spring!

If you are interested in joining our mailing list for future eco-volunteer meetings, please email Allison at allison@nynjbaykeeper.org.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has been protecting, preserving, and restoring the ecological integrity of the NY/NJ Harbor since 1989. As a 501(c) (3) organization we work to shape and enforce water quality, land use, and coastal policies that impact the estuary and actively patrol the waterways to identify and stop polluters.

Visit our website to learn more: http://nynjbaykeeper.org/

Shaw's Crab House Oyster Fest Block Party

shaws crab house
SHAW'S CRAB HOUSE
PRESENTS
26TH ANNUAL

Friday, September 26, 2014

The best in live music, fresh seafood, and oysters from Shaw's and Goose Island Beer.

WHAT: Shaw's Oyster Fest Block Party returns to downtown Chicago on Friday, Sept. 26 from 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Hosted by Chicago's premiere oyster bar, Shaw's Crab House, Oyster Fest brings together:
    shaws oysters
  • live music, 
  • Goose Island beers, 
  • fresh seafood including from the West Coast
    • King Crab Bites
    • 3 kinds of West Coast Oysters
    • Cioppino served in a Bread Bowl
    • Pacific Oysters Rockefeller
  • From the East Coast
    • New England Chowda
    • Lobster Roll
    • 3 kinds of East Coast Oysters
    • Maryland Crab Cake Burger
    • Steamers with Drawn Butter
  •  From the Southern Coast 
    • Seafood Gumbo
    • Crawfish Étouffée
    • Oyster Po' Boy
    • Char Grilled Oysters
    • Fried Chicken Biscuit with Oyster Gravy
    • Dungeness Crab Cocktail
3,000 guests are expected to come down to Oyster Fest and slurp up nearly 15,000 oysters from the East and West Coast, signature bites from Shaw's Crab House, Goose Island beer, and live music from singer/songwriter Brett Dennen.

A high-energy Oyster Slurp Off will take place at Oyster Fest as last year's finalists go head-to-head with this year's contestants to see who will prevail as the slurping champion and take home the $1,000 prize.

This year, Oyster Fest kicks-off the 30th anniversary festivities of Shaw's Crab House which will celebrate its 30th anniversary of the Oyster Bar in December 2014 and the dining room in April 2015. For the full menu and more information, visit www.oysterfestchicago.com.

WHO: Shaw's Crab House, Bub City, and sponsors Goose Island Beer, Martin Codax Wines, Bridlewood Wines, Grey Goose, and Bacardi Live music from our headliner folk/ rock singer, song writer Brett Dennen, as well as Andrew Diehl and Odessa will rock out the Oyster Fest stage.

WHERE: 560 W. Grand St. (and the Chicago River)

WHEN: Friday, September 26, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

TICKETS: General admission tickets are $25. For more information, to view the full line-up and menu, or to purchase tickets, visit www.oysterfestchicago.com.

Sounds like an event not to miss!  Go and enjoy and let them shuck the oysters for you.

Oysters Working Toward Improving Water Quality in NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

One of the projects of NY/NJ Baykeeper is to improve the water quality of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary by repopulating the area with oysters.  Oysters are a keystone species native to the area and are key to improving the health of the Estuary.

Baykeeper is the only nonprofit organization conducting oyster research and restoration in both New York and New Jersey.

In NJ, Baykeeper is producing baby oysters for oyster restoration projects at the Aquaculture Facility located at Naval Weapons Station Earle. Here, hatchery raised oyster larvae attach, set, and grow on shell substrate. Once the oysters have “set” on the shell, and have grown for about two months, they are ready for release onto newly established oyster beds or reefs.

Last month, the Baykeeper Oyster Restoration Team launched the Oyster Skiff and set out to check on the oysters at Naval Weapons Station Earle. In summer 2013 over 250,000 baby oysters were produced at the aquaculture facility and hung off the trestle at Earle. June's monitoring trip revealed high oyster survivorship and growth rates, with many organisms present in and around the cages including barnacles, sea squirts, mud crabs, mud snails, polychaetes, spider crabs, Asian shore crabs, blood worms, tautog, and soft shell clams. Soon, spat will be set on shell and reefballs at the aquaculture facility and placed with last season's surviving oysters into structures on the ¼ acre research plot. Sign up for the Baykeeper Newsletter to follow their progress!

In NY, Baykeeper created a large oyster reef at Soundview Park in the Bronx which is split up into a scientific reef where partners monitor oysters for growth and survivorship; and a community reef which holds baskets of oysters used to educate volunteers about the reef and monitoring long term survival of oysters. Both are essential tools in the future of oyster restoration within the estuary. Volunteers are a huge help to Baykeeper because they help monitor oyster growth and notate survivorship. To sign up for the volunteer list, email Allison at allison@nynjbaykeeper.org.

Please support and learn more about the Baykeeper: