For some, going to an oyster bar and eating oysters feels as foreign as navigating the A train during rush hour in New York. It may seem confusing at best, and slimy at worst. Others may be curious about trying oysters for the first time and want to learn the best way to eat them.
Feast Raw Bar & Bistro Chef and co-owner and trusted guide Steve Kuntz walk us through the best ways to enjoy oysters while sharing his valuable tips for relishing your oyster bar experience. Here, you will learn what an oyster bar is, what it is like to try oysters for the first time, and why having oysters in the landlocked state of Montana is so unique.
What is an Oyster Bar?
The first oyster bar experience began in Europe and worked its way to the United States in the early 1800s. The modern raw bar has seen a rise in popularity. Today, patrons can sit in front of an oyster-shucking bar and watch staff as they carefully select the choicest oysters and delicately pry the oyster’s shell open.
Voted #1 in Bozeman restaurants by a Bozeman’s Choice Readers Poll, Feast is a distinctive restaurant in Montana modestly tucked away in a college neighborhood at the southeast corner of the community. And while Feast mesmerizes guests with butcher cuts and catches of the day, it really shines its brightest as a locally beloved raw oyster bar. The delightful and eye-popping oysters served here are anything but demure.
Chef Kuntz explains that because of Feast’s limited dining room space, they cannot replicate having oysters shucked in front of their guests. Nevertheless, his approach to serving oysters focuses on providing the absolute freshest oysters available to Feast patrons. And if guests have questions about their oyster bar experience, Chef Kuntz’s dedicated team of chefs makes certain to educate and accommodate any questions or dining needs. Here, patrons can get the most out of their oyster bar experience by choosing from multiple oyster varieties and tasting the differences between them.
Trying Oysters for the First Time
If you are trying oysters for the first time, Chef Kuntz recommends visiting Feast during their happy hour, Feast at 5 (available Sundays through Thursdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm). During Feast at 5, customers can try a smaller sampling of oysters to see if they enjoy the taste of oysters and the overall oyster-eating experience. So go ahead and order the three oysters and one glass of Lovo prosecco special. Bubbles like champagne or prosecco pair exceptionally well with oysters. According to Chef Kuntz, beverage pairing with oysters is key because oysters synergistically enhance the flavors of champagne.
And when tasting oysters, you will notice that they have a soft but subtly chewy texture. If you find the oyster’s texture too soft for your tastebuds, Chef Kuntz recommends trying Feast’s roasted oysters on a bed of sea salt. These oysters are firmer and are an excellent starter oysters for beginners. Learn more and read five facts you may not know about oysters.
Oysters are also known to taste salty, like the ocean, but they can also taste briny and even have hints of fresh citrus or cucumber. Chef Kuntz articulates that each oyster has a flavor profile called merroir. Merroir means that each oyster’s flavor has unique characteristics due to the environment in which it was grown. For example, an oyster from Rhode Island will have a distinct flavor profile from an oyster harvested further down the coast.
Why is Having Bozeman Oysters in Landlocked Montana so Special?
When you are craving fruits of the sea, searching for a remarkable fresh seafood restaurant in Montana can be a challenging endeavor—we know! Freshness is vital, and when it comes to choosing the freshest oysters, location matters. That’s why Feast sources its oysters from Island Creek Oyster Company on the East Coast and occasionally Taylor Shellfish Farms on the West Coast.
Considered the largest oyster nursery in the world and based out of Duxbury, Massachusetts, Island Creek harvests their oysters daily from their farmers and ships them directly to buyers overnight. They are known for supplying oysters to the kitchens of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, The French Laundry in Napa Valley, and Per Se in New York. These amazing oysters may also be found at state dinners hosted by the White House. Island Creek personally reached out to Chef Kuntz to be the supplier of oysters served at Feast.
In business for over a hundred years, Taylor Shellfish Farms has been farming top-quality shellfish since the late 1800s. Their specialties focus on the freshest ‘tide-to-table’ shellfish, including their exclusive Shigoku and Totten Inlet Virginica oysters. As a company, they are dedicated advocates for clean water and healthy ecosystems. And family owned and operated for five generations, Taylor Shellfish Farms believes that the Pacific Northwest offers one of the best places to farm shellfish.
So when you enjoy an oyster at Feast, you know you are tasting something exceptional here in Montana. Because Feast directly sources fresh oysters from Island Creek, not only can guests experience top-quality oysters, Feast can select oysters with unique flavor profiles—taking their guests on an epicurean journey to the places the oysters were harvested from.
And when it comes to places to eat in Bozeman, no other restaurant prepares oysters in the same manner as Feast. The team at Feast delights in creating the extraordinary for their guests. Whether you are a seasoned oyster lover or new at tasting oysters, take the Feast oyster journey. You will create memories that will make you smile for years to come.