Few foods polarize a table full of expectant diners like the raw oyster. Some savor the pop of detaching the oyster from the half-shell with the cocktail fork, gently emmersing it in cocktail sauce or tabasco, and sliding it into your mouth where the that cold freshness explodes with flavor between your teeth. Some find the oyster, raw or otherwise, a foul gelatinous creature, not fit for plating, and certainly never to be masticated by the civilized.
If you find yourself sympathetic to the latter perception: This article is not for you.
But if you love raw oysters, you must simply refuse to miss Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen's "Happiness on the Half Shell" event where a beautiful dozen Texas Gulf Coast oysters on the half shell will cost you less than four dollars. Trust me, you will not find a better deal than that in the metroplex, and if I may vouch for the quality of these oysters; they are tremendous.
The presentation is fantastic in a platter with a mountain of crushed ice proudly displaying twelve half shelled oysters jutting from around the ice like petals on a flower. The oysters are served with the old standbys: cocktail sauce, horseradish, and two lemon wedges. The oysters themselves were very large and meaty, tasting exceptionally fresh and terrifically cold.
For those lacking the courage to jump in to raw oyster consumption with both feet: i.e. bringing shell to lip and slugging it back, try this method. Take the oyster shell and detach the meat with the cocktail fork. Take a cracker and place the oyster on top of it. Generously slather the oyster with cocktail sauce and finish with a small dot of fresh horseradish. Think of it as an oyster nacho of sorts.
Raw oysters can be ordered and eaten all year round, however the best oysters are harvested in the winter months (October - February). While most people eat raw oysters without any problem whatsoever, one should be aware of the small risk of consuming an oyster contaminated with vibrio vulnificus bacteria, and while you're safer from the bacteria in the winter months, a small risk still remains.
Look for Pappadeaux's "Happiness on the half shell" to end next month, so get out there and order away!