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New Orleans raw bar experience comes north to Marsha Brown's in New Hope

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Marsha Brown

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Marsha Brown’s goal in establishing her namesake restaurant was to bring the flavors of Cajun country, most specifically New Orleans, north of the Mason Dixon line. Her menu features dishes inspired by the homey Creole dishes of her youth, served in an unlikely venue - a repurposed 125 year old Methodist church on Main Street in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, is renowned for it’s culinary culture of oysters. Why oysters in New Orleans? The estuarine environment (which describes a place where fresh and salt water mingle) in Louisiana provides a home for a veritable cornucopia of mollusks who end up on raw bars throughout the land - so lucky for us all.

It stands to reason that Brown would include a raw bar in her Creole inspired restaurant. Seasonal oysters find themselves on the menu with fresh clams, steamed or on the half shell, lump crabmeat, jumbo shrimp, and snow crab claws. Patrons sit at the bar and order a cocktail from Randy. He is a wealth of information and an equally able bartender. While a cosmopolitan may not compliment a raw oyster, his mix is worth the risk.

The oysters are listed on an old chalkboard that requires a flashlight and magnification glasses to read in the dark bar so most ask the bartender for help ordering. The oysters are fresh, hailing from throughout the country - sending forth with their little briny bodies flavors from their home oceans. Add some shrimp and crab claws with remoulade along with a paper bagged hot baguette for two and the meal is complete.

Certainly there is a far more expansive menu than the small corner that houses the raw bar lists, but for a specialized “raw bar” night out, Marsha Browns is just right in New Hope.

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