I’m an oyster romantic. I’ve kayaked off the island of Noirmoutier and harvested oysters from beds in the pristine waters there, shucking and eating them while standing in the ocean. I woke early two days a week for several months one year in Paris to get to a restaurant by 7 in the morning where an oysterman sold his fresh wares. He brought them to the city from Normandy, and they were beautifully briny and plump. We drank Muscadet and sat at the outdoor tables and enjoyed a bivalve breakfast.
I’ve tasted oysters from the waters off of Nantucket, eaten them grilled at Gilhooley’s in San Leon,Texas, and spent many hours at various restaurants in Seattle catching up with friends over oysters. In short, I am at one with the creatures. And though I prefer my oysters raw and from the colder waters of the Pacific Northwest, France, or the upper East Coast, this past weekend in Houston I had fried oysters from warmer waters that I will definitely order again.
We were at B&B Butchers and ordered the Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, four fried oysters ($18) in crockery “shells” that came out on a long rectangular platter. Yes, there were oysters, but there were also substantial pieces of thick-cut bacon and filet mignon, all skewered together and topped with Roquefort cheese, a Roquefort sauce and a touch of sriracha. Moist, seasoned perfectly, and rich,
Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell is an excellent vehicle for one of my favorite foods. The meats were not an afterthought, either. The pork was slightly crispy, and the steak was tender. All three flavors and textures melded in a very satisfactory manner. We would have preferred the dish to arrive at the table a bit warmer, but our meal could not have begun better.