Imagine that you’re walking down a street in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, past iron- wrought fences draped with forgotten Mardi Gras beads and kitschy souvenir shops. You eventually stumble upon a lively joint – where the stories are just as fresh as the fare. As you sit down, you notice a bar of personal-sized kettles steaming with Creole-inspired concoctions. The kettle tips down and rich dishes cooked to perfection and served with warm rice and fresh garnish. It’s an instant comfort in a bowl.
The Oyster Bar located at 551 J Street, is new to the Gaslamp Quarter, but storied, rich, and classic the way New Orleans’ French Quarter is known for good people, rich culture and delicious cuisine.
Upon entering the eatery we were welcomed by a friendly staff, sat down and Saw the walls decorated in chalk by satisfied customers. Executive Chef Julio Rolon came out and talked to us about his history as a chef in the Gaslamp Quarter as well as his time in New York, Florida and Puerto Rico. He has been able to bring his history and craft as a chef to create the rich, delicious food we were about to enjoy. He then gave us a tasting menu of their most popular bites.
We started out with a cup of the homemade chowder. The creamy soup had the classic clam chowder taste with the perfect blending of spices, potatos and clams. Then we received the molasses bacon wrapped shrimp with a homemade molasses mustard dipping sauce. The large shrimp had been marinated in molasses syrup, wrapped in bacon and then grilled. Then the tangy dipping sauce cut the sweetness perfectly making us want more! We also received oysters on the half shell. The sweeter “Eastern” Oyster from Virginia and the smooth Kumaiai Oysters from Baja, California. The sauces to garnish the oysters you could choose from were the “green sauce” made up of Cilantro, spices and citris, and a classic cocktail sauce with horseradish.
Next we received a plate to share of the Cajun chowder fries. French fries dusted with Cajun spices drizzled with the homemade clam chowder and topped with cheese.
If that wasn’t enough, we tried a bowl of their etoufee. Again a homemade bowl of the classic New Orleans crawfish dish with a dollop of rice in the middle and garnished with one of the largest shrimp I’ve ever seen. And finally their most popular dish that I call, “tomato bisque on steroids!” The house pan roast. a creamy concoction of lobster, crab, and shrimp bubbling in a rich red gravy of tomato, cream and secret spices, topped with a dome of jasmine rice.
The Oyster Bar SKC is the only restaurant group in California that use the steam kettles where everything is cooked right in front of you. You can sit at your table and watch the magic happen or sit at the raw bar much like a sushi bar and watch the chefs create your comfort food concoction. The bar has a great cocktail menu, and robust local draft beer line-up.
Of course you must end your meal with a beignet or a rich, sweet, yummy desserts!.
The Oyster Bar is open everyday for Lunch and Dinner, a fusion of the freshest seafood and traditional Louisiana comfort food. A rich vibrant eatery perfectly placed in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter!