And that’s by simply ordering a plate of The Metropolitan’s delectable oyster choices and then … splashing them with lemon juice and cocktail sauce like they were some sort of clam on the half shell.
“That upsets me so much, “Curran says, shaking his head. “When you come in and put cocktail sauce and lemon on them, then that’s really all you can taste. Oysters have very distinct, meaty flavors. But you could take six different varieties and put the cocktail sauce on them – and if I couldn’t see the shells – even I couldn’t really tell them apart. That’s all you taste. We try to come up with something for each variety, a special way of serving them that suits their unique flavor.
“Of course, with clams, there’s a lot more muscle in them so it makes more sense,” Curran says. “That’s why steamed clams can be chewy. Oysters are meatier. You want to chew them and taste them. You don’t want to just slide them down with cocktail sauce. They’re two very different dining experiences.”
And that’s the secret to The Metropolitan’s Oyster Bar – it’s an oyster experience. That’s what’s made the Metro Oyster Bar a growing favorite at Borgata, especially since the addition of an Oyster Bar Happy Hour daily from 1pm to 5pm.
The happy hour features Metro’s famous oyster shooters (more on them in another post), but the star of any oyster bar is first and foremost the oysters themselves.
“We’re selling about 3,500 oysters a week,” Curran says. “That’s pretty good for a restaurant as diverse as ours. I mean we’re not an oyster house. The bar is part of our wide array of choices here. But it’s definitely been rising in popularity since we started the happy hour.”
So, now to the oysters.
“We bring in our seafood from all over the country up into Canada,” Curran explains. “We have Blue Point oysters, for example, from Long island and Wellfleet oysters from Massachusetts and even Cape May salts. It’s really coming in from everywhere every day. That how it is with seafood. It’s got to be fresh and you have to get it delivered every day.”
If you’re new to oysters, Curran recommends starting with Blue Point oysters and local varieties..
“Blue Point oysters are your basic starter oyster. That’s the type of oyster you get most frequently around this area,” says Curran. “It has a very pleasant taste. The Delaware Bay oysters also have a very, meaty taste with a little more salt. My favorites are the Cape May salts. I love oysters and I’ve tried all varieties, but I always come back to the Cape May salts. They have a very crisp finish, almost like lettuce. Those are the varieties you want to start with.”
And for the more advanced taste.
“Then there’s the Wellfleet variety from up around Massachusetts,” Curran says. “They have a sweet side to them and their very salty. That’s why we serve them in a champagne vinaigrette. And the Malpeque are from Canada. They have a pickle like, briny flavor. They’re both kind of an advanced oyster with a creamy texture. Some people don’t like that – the creamier varieties that are very briny. It’s an acquired taste, but it is a taste well worth acquiring.”
If you’re heads spinning from all these oyster descriptions – or just the fact that there’s even different types of oysters, here’s a handy rundown from The Metropolitan’s Oyster Bar menu ($2 apiece during Happy Hour).
BLUE POINTS – Mild | Pleasantly Salty, Meaty, a Great Beginner Oyster
DELAWARE BAY – Substantial, Thick Meats that are Sweet and Nutty, Coupled with a Sharp Brine Essence
CAPE MAY SALTS – Mild Salt, Plump Meat, Lettuce Finish | Serrano Chile Lime Sauce
MALPEQUE – Sweet & Pickle-like Flavor | Grassy Finish | Green Goddess Dipping Sauce
WELLFLEET – Mild & Sweet | High Brininess | Champagne Vinaigrette
And for clam lovers, there’s chilled middleneck clams on the half shell for $1 apiece.
As you can tell, each oyster is served with its own accompanying flavor complement. But hey, if you order up a plate, they are yours to do with as you please and The Metropolitan has a very nice, tangy cocktail sauce.
Just try not to use it in front of chef.