Oyster bash, shuck yeah! Last night, on the Hotel Victor rooftop, five chefs with seafood in their soul joined forces serving up some Island Creek Oysters.
Boston chefs, Ming Tsai with Jeremy Sewall played host for the event, but it was those with restaurants in Miami that brought the heat. David Bracha, of The River Seafood and Oyster Bar and former Top Chef winner Hung Huynh, of Catch Miami chose to grill their oysters. It was a daring, delicious and dangerous move.
Bracha's fire roasted oysters, a staple on The River's menu, were the first to go. To start, the chef ran out of plates and then all of his oysters were gone within the hour. Those responsible were the greedy folks who got two or three each time.
We don't blame them, they were the tastiest. It almost resembled a mini pizza in an oyster shell. It was creamy with sofrito butter and ancho cream, cheesy with the manchego and topped with a slice of chorizo. Bracha explained that the French loves sausage with oysters, but being in Miami he wanted the Latin influence so went with "chorizo and queso manchego" It was so good and an early favorite among guests They expected them to go fast, but not that fast. The chef even brought more than what they were asked and were still the first to run out.
Huynh, who shared that Island Creek was his favorite and primary East Coast oyster, grilled his over an open charcoal flame with fermented black bean. They were hot, flavorful, creamy and meaty.
We spoke to him about working at Catch while he was in town and the softer things. He mentioned the pillow-soft sounding, scallop-stuffed gnocchi debuting on the new menu as his favorite. "It's very light, we serve that with black truffles." Another favorite dish of his from Catch was the, "grilled octopus, sofrito, chorizo, crispy potato. There is a Chino-Latino touch to it, you know?"
We did know and we thought he should try Bracha's chorizo and sofrito oyster, but alas, they were out. So we brought Bracha over instead to try Huynh's oyster.They shook hands over the coals and the sparks flew. True story. One of the sparks from the open flame got Hung right in the eye the second Bracha said, "Nice to meet you, chef!"
Huynh put on a brave face and "Hung in there," continuing to man the grill but we heard a second eye injury occurred when he was shucking another oyster. Open flames and oyster shucking are hazardous.
Ming Tsai was beyond personable and comical while plating his oyster pancake with kimchi. He said the concoction should be enjoyed as a taco.
He had the same attitude while shaking cocktails. When he was making his special drink he said, "If we make them strong, they wont come back that often." And when an attendant asked if his restaurant was in New York or Miami, he laughed and said, "We went smart, Boston."
Seawall's red snapper ceviche, tuna crudo and lobster taco were all tasty, but we came for oysters.
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Jeff Raider, of Lure Fishbar, gave it to us like we like, raw and two different ways. It was the version with the pineapple salsa that did us in.
The wine, vodka and dozens of freshly shucked oysters kept us company as we enjoyed the event and prayed for Hung's eye(s) to have a speedy recovery.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst