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Good news for oyster lovers! The wait is finally over and Rodney’s has opened its door to Calgarians 🙂 Woo~ hoo~
One thing I really miss after moving to Calgary is seafood. Having lived on islands and coastal cities all my life, it is a torture not having the freshest seafood on my plate. That’s why whenever we travel, I always have seafood restaurants on my to-eat list. Oyster Bar and Hot n Juicy Crawfish in Las Vegas as well as Westward in Seattle are some of our favorites from our recent trips. Rodney’s Oyster House in Vancouver have left quite an impression on us and we couldn’t wait to try its newly opened location in Calgary!
The restaurant is located on 10th avenue & 4th street SW – a convenient spot for those working downtown and club crawlers. Kev and I dropped by yesterday late afternoon to see what it had to offer!
Our first impression of the restaurant was that the dining area was in fact quite spacious and bright. There are two levels with a bar area on the main floor. The white wall, wooden floor, coastal furniture and rope hanging lights gave the decor a nautical flavour. I must say though, compared to the Rodney’s in Vancouver, this location is a bit less decorative.
We were hoping that they would have happy hour like in Vancouver, but unfortunately, they only offer items from their regular menu for now. For oysters, they have quite a selection, with those mainly harvested off the North America East coast and Pacific ocean. Being familiar with only one species on the menu put us at a loss about what to order. Luckily, our server suggested to have the house put together an assortment of a dozen oysters for us so we could try a variety of different types.
The restaurant wasn’t busy at that time, but it took quite some time for the oysters to arrive at our table. I was eagerly staring at the shuckers when he leisurely took his time shucking the oysters. At one point, I was pondering if he was new at the task. Anyways, we were delighted to try out the fresh, raw oysters! On our plate, there were Wellfleet, Valley Bay, Malpeque, Kusshi, Beach Angels and Kumamoto. It was nice that the server took the time to go through each of them one by one, explaining where they were harvested and what flavours they tend to have. Among those, my favorites were the Wellfleet for its plumpness and good balance of creamy sweetness and brine, and Malpeque for its crisp melony flavour and a clean, sweet finish.
Besides lemon and horseradish, the restaurant has a plateful of sauces on each table, that you could add to your oysters to give it extra flavours. You could work your way up from the mildest shallot vinaigrette to the spiciest “back from hell” sauce. With oysters, I like to stick to the milder sauces so I could actually taste their true flavours.
We also ordered a bowl of New England clam chowder ($13) and pan-fried oyster (2 pcs, $7) to share. The creamy clam chowder was filled with plenty of soft cubed potatoes and tender, chewy clams. Delightful!
The pan-fried oysters were meaty and succulent, complimented nicely with the refreshing dill tartar sauce.
Overall, we had a great experience at Rodney’s Calgary. It’s definitely shaking up Calgary’s food scene and provides a good addition to the restaurant list for finicky seafood lovers. One thing I must point out is that their oysters are on the pricier end (with an average of $3/piece) compared to other places we have been to. Based on its pricing, we probably will only come back on big occasions with friends. Hopefully, they will consider having happy hour in the near future. For those of you who have a tight dining-out budget, ordering from their take-out menu might be a good place to start. Items are on average $5 cheaper.