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Oysters on the Half Shell, Dressed

Every Irish tasting menu seems to include a raw oyster or two for each diner. The oysters are uniformly of that ever-so-dainty size that slide easily into the mouth in one bite.

What’s unique are the inventive toppings that adorn the half shell these days. It might be as simple as quick-pickled chile pepper and shallot shavings.


Or as assertive as an Asian dipping sauce. Buttermilk dressing was one of the most unexpectedly terrific sauces I’ve had on an oyster.

But the dressed oyster I had recently at Allta, the semi-nomadic parking lot pop-up restaurant in Dublin, was a real eye-opener. The oyster was from Cromane Beach in County Kerry, and it was topped with a bright green slush made of tart sorrel leaves and deliciously sour rhubarb. The topping mimicked the acidity of lemon juice or vinegar with an entirely new set of flavors.

What a treat!


Robb Walsh