My food critic friend Denveater loves oysters, and I’ve been bugging her to take me out and introduce me to some. Sunday night we stopped briefly at Ocean Prime in Larimer Square but decamped when we discovered they served 1 type of oyster. One seated at the bar at Oceanaire, we ordered a happy hour chef’s choice plate of 8 oysters. Some of the oysters on the menu were new even to her, which made me happy.

As we waited for our first dish to appear, I made a fateful decision: I would take my photos without flash, in order to avoid having blindingly white plates in my pictures. All the pictures in this post were taken at 6400 ISO, mostly because I could. But then I had to go home and unleash Noise Ninja on them. As I was editing them, I thought, “Why am I taking pictures at such a high ISO, then using Noise Ninja to remove noise, and then sharpening them? It’s silly.”Beth Partin's photos, downtown Denver, Oceanaire

First up, Chef Creek from British Columbia. As Denveater said of West Coast oysters, it was a bit sweet, mild with just a touch of brininess. The Riptide, from Massachusetts, was my favorite of the four types. It was saltier and had a more robust flavor. It’s also prettier, though I don’t know why that should matter.adventures in photography, Noise Ninja, Beth Partin's photosThe second East Coast oyster came next: Alpine Bay from Prince Edward Island (shades of Anne of Green Gables!). It was less salty than Riptide but definitely had more grit. I liked it too.The Nootka Sound oysters, again from British Columbia, were my least favorite, with a less distinctive taste. After all, if you’re going to toss something rather slimy down your throat, it should have some flavor. Denveater thought the Nootka were a little chewy.

Of course, we didn’t stop with oysters; we took full advantage of the happy hour food and wine menu. We started with deep-fried asparagus, which were a little undercooked. Then we moved on to beef sliders, soft and oniony.

It may have been lowbrow, but I wanted to try the cornmeal-friend oysters and fries. Apparently, Sunday is no-carb-left-behind day.We finished up with friend green beans, which were perfectly cooked. The bacon-flavored aioli was just spicy enough. I’d give them the prize for best snack, though the fried oysters were good too; I especially liked the textural contrast. This was my second meal at Oceanaire. I went there two years ago for Denver restaurant week and enjoyed the food and drinks then as well.
Oceanaire Seafood Room on Urbanspoon

Leave A Comment

  1. Claire Walter June 5, 2011 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I love oysters as well — raw on the shell, fried and occasionally in oyster chowder. I grew up in CT in a town that was once a major, I mean MAJOR, oyster producer. I’ve enjoyed various species of oysters from and in Nova Scotia, PEI, Alaska, Bodega Bay & Brittany — and Louisiana. I like the oysters at JAX and at Brasseries Ten-Ten. Oceanaire annoys because of their obscene and wasteful heaps of fries on every platter of fried anything — just for show, they admit. But back to oysters, one of the collateral catastrophes of last year’s BP oil spill was harm to LA’s oyster beds. They seem to recovered sufficiently for New Orleans to have its oyster fest going this weekend. – Claire @

  2. Beth Partin June 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I’m glad to hear that they are recovered enough for the oyster fest to continue; I hope that area won’t get into a situation where oil periodically comes up “from the deep” and has to be dealt with. I’ve heard of oyster bed restoration projects, but I think those projects were being done in Chesapeake Bay.