Rodney’s Oyster House –
“I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” That’s the catchphrase delivered by “the most interesting man in the world” at the end of every Dos Equis commercial. I have never seen this commercial on Canadian television so some of you may not know who I’m talking about. Basically, the protagonist – the most interesting man in the world – is a middle-aged, globe-trotting omnipotent male whose mere presence alters history and bends the laws of physics.
I dont’ know why but whenever I eat at Rodney’s Oyster House, I have a mental image of myself being ‘the most interesting man in the world’ and uttering the phrase, “I don’t always eat at oyster/fish houses, but when I do, I prefer Rodney’s Oyster House”.
Rodney’s Oyster House is the only fish/oyster house that I have been to in the area and I don’t think that I need to visit any other. The food was really good the last two times that I was there and I expect the food to be consistently good on my future visits. No, it’s not cheap and no, it does not serve fancy haute cuisine. It just serves really fresh and extremely well-executed fish/oyster shack fare in a nautical-themed, New England type setting that doesn’t look ironic.
Now I don’t always have lunch in Yaletown, but when I do…you get where I’m going with this. So, yea, today my wife and I just happened to be in Yaletown during lunch and we of course had to have a bottle of Dos Equi….I mean, we of course had to have lunch at Rodney’s Oyster House.
The last two times we were there for lunch, the restaurant was barely half full. Today, there was barely an empty table. I guess people really do go out for fish n’ chips on a Friday. And that was also exactly what I had.
The fish n’ chips were their special for lunch today and I continued my trend of always ordering their special of the day. The previous two specials that I’ve ordered were both extremely well-executed and tasty. The deep fried halibut I got today was even better. The batter was hot, smooth, and crispy. It was reminiscent of the best English fry batter that I have ever had. The halibut inside the batter was out-of-this-world. It was tender, delicate, juicy, silky, and probably every other positively descriptive adjective to the power of one hundred. I usually only eat steamed, raw, or partially raw fish, but I definitely changed my views after eating these two pieces of deep fried halibut. The textures of the fish were so good that I didn’t even remember if the fish had any flavours. I also didn’t need to use any of the tartar sauce to enhance the flavours of the fish because it was already amazing without anything on it.
And the salad and fries that were included on the plate? They were a blur as well. I just remembered the fries to be thin cut and crispy, and the salad to have an adequate dressing that allowed me to finish all my greens. I have no doubt that they were both tasty and well-executed, but my memories of the dish were so dominated by the fish that I had no extra storage space or processing power to crunch the sensory data from the fries and the salad.
I totally remembered what I had before the fish – which was half a dozen oysters with a variety of house-made sauces and some complimentary bread.
The bread tasted pretty good. It had a nice crunch from the embedded nuts and a pleasant savory flavour from the onions that were blended into the bread dough.
The oysters were fresh, really fresh. I had 3 kumamotos and 3 kushis and none of the half dozen oysters had any hint of putrid brininess (as opposed to sweet brininess) and fishiness. I’ve seen them shuck oysters at the bar before and I know that they took great care to ensure that they only serve the freshest oysters. They would dump any oyster that looked even remotely abnormal.
The oyster platter was also piled high with horseradish. Adding a sprig to each oyster added a kick to the oyster’s flavours while retaining the natural sweetness of the oysters.
I also tried some of the house-made sauces with the oysters. The ‘white boy soul’ was a basic hot sauce and I didn’t like it with the oysters. Neither did I like the caribbean spicy sauce with the oysters. I did like the spiciest ‘back form hell’ sauce with the oysters. I thought that it’s flavours were more complementary to the oysters than the other two hot sauces. I also liked the ‘seawitch’ sauce because it resembled good ‘ole cocktail sauce and who doesn’t like cocktail sauce with oysters? (my wife, cousin, friend, neighbor, and a whole host of other people, apparently)
My wife also had oysters, but they were of the pan fried variety.
My wife couldn’t finish all 7 oysters so she gave me a couple of them and I must say: these oysters were fried to perfection. They had a breaded and slighty crispy exterior to them that allowed the oysters to retain the heat from pan frying. The oysters themselves were soft and tender. They were as perfectly fried as my halibut. The oysters exhibited no overcooked chewiness that is almost always emblematic of fried oysters. Another common problem with fried oysters at other restaurants is that the restaurants often use less-than-fresh oysters hoping that the deep fry job and the breading will cover up the oysters’ putrid brininess. This was not the case with the pan-fried oysters from Rodney’s Oyster House. They oysters they selected for pan frying were as fresh as those that were for raw consumption.
The only minor complaint I had of the restaurant is that they served diet coke in a bottle.
The look of the bottle certainly did go along with the nostalgic new England nautical theme of the restaurant. But I preferred diet cokes that came out of one of those beverage-dispensing tubes. This is because that normally, if a restaurant serves soft drinks in bottles or cans, there are no refills. If the soft drink comes out of the tube dispenser, then refills are usually offered. For a constantly thirsty person like my self, I need at least two refills to help me get through a meal consisting of deep fried items.
Like our last two experiences at Rodney’s Oyster House, everything my wife and I had there today were extremely tasty and expertly made. The deep fried halibut, in particular, totally changed my views about fish that was not raw or steamed. So I have to end this post with this: I don’t always eat fish n’ chips, but when I do, I prefer the deep fried halibut at Rodney’s Oyster House.