Trolley Square Oyster House is a concept from Big Fish Restaurant Group that has been in the heart of Trolley Square for over 4 years. Specializing in fresh seafood, easy craft cocktails (try any one of their 6 infusions!), live music, and an overall relaxed atmosphere, this restaurant is a pearl and unique to any other place in the city.
I learned how to shuck an oyster with them last week (peep my Vlog!), but I also got a cheat sheet from manager Tim Glaccum about how to tell East Coast Oysters a part.
The World is Your Oyster!
Let’s start with the basics: East Coast Oysters typically have a smooth shell with a tear drop shape. Traditionally they have a saltier flavor than those from the West Coast. Oysters take on the flavor of their surroundings, so an oyster grown near a river or estuary will have a milder, sweeter taste than one grown closer to the ocean (think saltier).
Another aspect of flavor is the temperature of the water. The colder the water, the slower the Oyster grows. This results in a deeper, more developed flavor profile, and an easier oyster to shuck. Let’s break down each region on the East Coast to see the difference:
Gulf Region: (Florida to Louisiana): Very mild, sweet flavor since they grow quickly (remember that thing about water temp?). Their meat is plump and they are on average larger than their cousins up north.
Chesapeake: Flavor profiles here can really vary because of how large this region is. Generally, these oysters are mild and larger in size, with plump meat and a buttery flavor/finish.
Mid-Atlantic: Starting in New Jersey and going all the way up to Connecticut, this is the largest growing region for Oysters. The biggest difference from their southern cousins is they are briny!
New England: Like ’em salty and maybe, some seaweed flavor? These guys have a ton of plump meat with strong flavors.
Maine: Deep, clean flavor with a briny liquor (the juices inside the oyster) and plump meat.
Canada: This is a unique, complex flavor profile! They start off briny, but end clean. If you’re a texture person though, these guys are a little “crunchy”.
Shucking for a Good Cause
One cool initiative that Oyster House is partnered with is the Delaware Estuary’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The goal is to return oyster shells to the water, as baby oyster’s need to build their home inside an old shell. There is currently a shell shortage in the Delaware Bay, which in turn hurts our bay and our shorelines. The Recycling Program collects shells from partnering restaurants, and although temporarily suspended, has had drop off bins available to the public that they plan on reintroducing.
Oyster House is opened Tuesday-Thursday (4pm-midnight), Friday (4pm-1am), Saturday (12pm-1am), and Sunday (12pm-10pm). They also participate every weekend in Dining on Delaware! Follow them on their Instagram and Facebook.