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Restaurants & Bars 4

Oyster Madness, Round I: Ocean Avenue Seafood, Santa Monica

Liz | Apr 22, 200412:18 AM

I don't know if it's the change of season, or some endocrinal imbalance, or just plain old gluttony, but lately I've been absolutely lusting after raw oysters. So, this evening, not being one to deny or suppress my appetites, I chose to feed my hunger at my favorite local oyster emporium, Ocean Avenue Seafood.

My companion and I decided to take advantage of their happy hour, which extends from 4-7 p.m. M-Th. We began our briny feast with the Oyster/Wine Sampler. Normally priced at $18.95, it is a real value at $8.95 during the happy hour(s).

Featured this evening were the following wines, each served in an half-portion:

-- Marquis Philip, Verdelho
-- Dry Creek, Chenin Blanc
-- La Famiglia, Pinot Grigio

And the oysters in the sampler were:

-- Imperial Eagle (British Columbia)
-- Chef Creek (B.C.)
-- Malaspina (B.C.)
-- Sunset Beach (WA state)
-- Paramour Island (Prince Edward Island)
-- Delaware Bay (DE state)

Now, I rarely drink white wines, and would normally eschew them in favor of vodka with oysters, but I enjoyed the pairing here. In particular, the Verdelho had a nice, green-apple tang to it.

In terms of the oysters, my favorites were the Chef Creek and Malaspina offerings. The others were lovely, but those two in particular made me very, very happy.

So, for under nine dollars, I enjoyed a well-presented platter of a half-dozen oysters (including Ok-Fine sourdough bread, and three little tubs of dippings: grated horseradish, vinegar, and a ketsup-y cocktail sauce, none of which I used), and three mini-glasses of wine. The service was just right, too -- our waitperson knew just when to appear, and when to leave us alone. I give her an A+.

We also ordered the happy hour(s) ceviche ($4.50), which was quite good, but I felt I'd have rather applied the money toward another round of oysters. We finished off with the sorbet sampler, which was quite tasty, but again, being a glutton for oysters, I'd rather have had more shellfish.

Coming next week: La Playita. I'd intended to do a taste-off of La Playita vs. Ocean Avenue tonight, but even an oyster-hog such as myself has her limits.

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