Ipswich Steamer Clams... Union Oyster House

July 29 2007 - 10:11 PM

Ipswitch
I don’t like oysters or clams very much. I had a terrific dinner at MK two nights ago and the first plate we saw had an oyster with strawberry on top. I wasn’t into it. My co-diner even less so. There was a certain irony when I called her the next night from Boston waiting for a seat at the Union Oyster House oyster bar.

The Union Oyster House is the oldest continuously serving restaurant in the U.S. It opened in 1826 and has been serving ever since. Only three families have ever owned the establishment. Isaiah Thomas published the first newspaper in the U.S. upstairs, "The Massachusetts Spy." It wasn’t about basketball. It’s an old place with a very old oyster bar.

In addition to all that history, it was pouring outside so I figured
when 1855in Rome. The accent might have been what got me. It’s like an
episode of the Family Guy but the whole city is involved. There’s lots
of exclamations (sorry) of "wicked" or "crap" and the term salt
of the earth comes to mind. After a plate of oysters, shrimp and
cherrystones and a few glasses of wheat beer everyone’s the salt of the
earth. This was my first meal after the MK summer tasting menu and I
was enjoying a nice buzz.

The blue points were very clean as were the cherrystones which I may
have preferred. The assortment of condiments was appreciated. From
horseradish to cocktail sauce to Tabasco there was variety. Lemons but
no strawberry. Everyone thought that strawberries were a bad idea.

My neighbors were very accommodating as was the shucker/bartender,
answering stupid questions and telling funny stories about Rachel Ray
getting attacked by sea gulls. I was trying to remember what I had the
last time I was in Boston… I thought they were steamers… but I
wasn’t sure. The bartender suggested I get clams casino, breaded cooked
and served with bell peppers. I think he was insulting me. I ordered
the Steamers. I got a big bag of clams. They were cooked and came with
two cups on the side. One filled with the steaming liquid and the other
with melted butter.

The process involves removing the clam, peeling off the outer layer,
swishing it around in the steaming liquid to rinse off any trapped silt
and then dip in butter. They call them little pishers because the foot
apparently squirts water. That’s how they move I guess.

While I’m still not crazy about oysters, the steamers were very good
and a plate of those and a few beers will be very doable hopefully very
soon.

If you’re in Beantown you should go.

ye olde Union Oyster House
41 Union St.
Boston MA
617-227-2750

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