Friday was a glorious day to be on the Sonoma Coast. A friend and I escaped the heat for Bodega Bay’s blue skies, gentle sea breeze and 70-degree temperatures. Our chow mission: Check out the new fish shacks.
In January I’d tried the clam chowder at Fisherman’s Cove as part of the annual Chowder Day. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888863 I’d enjoyed the chowder and was charmed by the bait and tackle shop with a food counter. In the months since, the shop has scaled back the tackle displays and squeezed in more tables inside and out. Still, this is the place to buy an oyster knife, if you need one.
Oysters are the specialty here, offering oysters on the half shell or a variety of grilled preps. Here’s the oyster menu board:
Though it’s now the “R” month of September, I felt that the recent run of hot days might affect oyster texture and only wanted to order cooked oysters. We went with two each of 1) Garlic butter and wasabi cocktail sauce, 2) Chorizo butter with fresh lemon, and 3) Sweet Heaters with pickled jalapeños and shallots. Ordered as a sampler, they’re $2.75 apiece.
While we waited outside at a picnic table, a bowl of clam chowder, $7 for 16 ounces, was as good as I remembered. Garnished with some chopped scallion and served with oyster crackers, this version is less rich with bacon fat and cream than others, highlighting the fresh vegetables, milky base, herbs, and clams more.
Our six-oyster plate came with garlic ciabatta bread for catching the sweetly briny juice run-off. Both of us preferred the garlic butter and cocktail sauce prep, mostly because the added flavors did not dominate the natural taste of the oyster. I also liked the jalapeño and shallot butter prep, as the bright pickling added a good touch of acidity, but the chile’s flavor was somewhat overpowering. The chorizo oyster did not have enough acidic lift and the mouthful tasted mostly like the Mexican sausage.
After this sample, Andrew said, “What did you think about the oyster quality? Shouldn't we should get a couple on the half-shell?” I quickly agreed, as the oysters had a firm pop and were fresh as can be. These turned out to be our favorite, so plump and served up cleanly shucked with all their salty juices accompanied by just a squeeze of lemon. The oyster shucker/griller does an excellent job here --- cleanly separated, no mangled oysters, shell fragments, or loss of juices.
These oysters are as fresh and well-prepped as going to Marshall on Tomales Bay. I’m really happy to have an alternative that’s easier for me to reach.
Fisherman’s Cove Deli
1850 Bay Flat Rd
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
More photos of Fisherman’s Cove