It’s time for my final post on the best places we ate while in Washington DC – dinner at Oyster Oyster! Spoiler alert, this was probably also the absolute best meal we had on our holiday, and one of the best meals I have had in years. A big call, I know!
Oyster Oyster was another restaurant that got its first Michelin Star just days after we visited there and we certainly weren’t surprised. What is more surprising is that it hasn’t been open all that long – about 10 months when we visited at the end of April. They certainly hit their strides early!
Oyster Oyster operates as a set-menu only which changes seasonally ($80 per person for food), and it’s entirely vegetarian (and easily made vegan) except for oysters – hence the name. My folks did the oyster version of the menu and it was actually only one dish that differed. It’s a small, intimate venue so it certainly wasn’t easy to get a booking, but thankfully my sister was on the ball and managed to get us a table on a Friday night. The size of the venue also meant we got incredible service – friendly and helpful, including giving us a great overview of each dish as they were served. So, lets get on to the food!
We started with the Welcoming Broth, a delightfully refreshing mix of cucumber, mint and koji. It was light, slightly tangy and a great way to clear our palate ready for the dishes to come. The flavours remarkably complex for such a simple looking cup of broth!
Next up we had this Crispy Celeriac, topped with fine herbs and smoked tofu. This thinly ribboned celeriac was incredibly crunchy but still had plenty of flavour, and I loved the dollop of smoked tofu on top. I also loved the presentation of this – each piece of crockery was made specifically for Oyster Oyster which was all part of the amazing attention to detail that existed across the whole meal.
The third dish were these delightful Kohlrabi Dumplings, filled with turnip, apple and seaweed with a coriander oil. This was the one dish that came with oysters for my parents, but I can guarantee I didn’t feel like I was missing anything! I love the freshness of the apple in the middle, and the little dumplings themselves were perfectly formed. Collectively we had decided we were going to keep a running ranking system of the dishes and it’s safe to say this was towards the top of mine for quite a while!
Speaking of top ranking dishes, next up was this Purple Top Turnip Bread served with a Marigold “Butter”. I know this was the bread dish, but seriously this bread and butter was incredible. It was fluffy on the inside but with an excellent crunchy crust and the butter was light, whipped and creamy. We didn’t waste any of it, that’s absolutely for sure.
Next up was a dish called The First Asparagus which came with foraged ramps, radish, basil and a peanut broth. A seriously pretty dish that definitely backed it up with the flavour! The asparagus was tender and sweet and it all worked so well with the creamy peanut broth. As someone who is always excited when asparagus comes back into season I was very excited to see this dish on the menu, and it did not disappoint! In fact, this was voted dish of the night by all four of us against some very tough competition, so that tells you how good it was!
This next dish was hard to get a good photo of, but did not disappoint on the flavour front! A whole roasted lions mane served with tender greens, sesame and black garlic. While of course the lions mane mushroom was incredible, the real star of this dish was the black garlic paste it was sitting on. As a garlic lover this absolutely was in my wheelhouse and every single bit was scraped up and enjoyed. A strong contender for dish of the night and it took some serious contemplation to choose between this and the asparagus dish!
Our last savoury dish was these Morel Mushrooms in a mushroom broth, served with nettles and teamed egg. This warm, complex broth with perfectly cooked mushrooms and nettle was a great balance to the quite rich mushroom dish we had just eaten. A really lovely way to close out the savoury portion of the evening.
Our first dessert dish was this very fancy looking carrot, filled with pecan mousse and served with Appalachian allspice cake, chamomile, pecans and carrot served a whole host of other delicious ways, As a serious lover of carrots you can guarantee I was happy to see this, although the star of the show may well have been the allspice cake. The combination of flavours and textures was seriously excellent. For someone whole particularly loves savoury dishes this was the perfect dessert for me!
Our last dish were these Shiitake chip cookies which might sound a little strange but were excellent to eat. Nutty, chocolatey and dense – just how I like a cookie! Our waiter had recommended keeping a little of the pecan mousse to eat with our cookie, and we were very glad to have followed his instructions. The two worked excellently together and it was a delightful way to end our meal.
We left Oyster Oyster incredibly happy with not only our meal but the whole experience. It was the sort of restaurant I could imagine wanting to visit every season to try the new menu, and whilst it of course wasn’t the cheapest night out we thought it was great value and well worth it to celebrate the end of our trip. I would absolutely recommend you try and get a booking if you find yourself in Washington DC anytime soon!