With Valentine’s Day coming up, I can’t think of a better date destination in Calgary than Rodney’s Oyster House. Oysters, as you may have heard, are a natural aphrodisiac. Not only is their high zinc content reputed to increase sperm count, but because of the omega-3 fatty acids found in oyster’s it’s also a powerful punch for women vulnerable to osteoporosis. And really, nothing says I love you, quite like slurping back a smallish, briny muscle, now does it?
Rodney’s is situated in the old Paul Vicker’s joint on the corner of 11 Ave. and 4 St. SW. With a lick of fresh white paint and classic maritime decor you wouldn’t recognize it from it’s previous incarnations. “It looks kind of antique yet modern and classy, with a real fisherman vibe,” said my daughter Eve, quite out of the blue as we were leaving. You won’t find any TV’s in this establishment, as Rodney’s a fan of “social intercourse.” And heads up, the bathrooms are European AKA ladies and gents share space.
A Family Affair at Rodney’s Oyster House
Rodney himself is a real dude and a real character. From his stories it wouldn’t be incorrect to say he got into this business thanks to toilets. “The head of American Standard wanted really good oysters. I delivered ‘em and they asked me back to schuck.” That picture above is Rodney with his son Eamon, the current Canadian oyster shucking champion. Get this: 18 oysters shucked in 1 min 45 seconds, judged!
What to order at Rodney’s Oyster House
To start, you can’t go wrong with the smoked salmon. Serving up Willy Krauch smoked salmon, the oldest smokers in Atlantic Canada, it’s heavily smoked in the Danish style. So good, I ate it on its own without the accompanying pickled onions, capers and pumpernickel bread.
Hungry? Try the clam chowder. This is the real deal, using real clams, such as bar clams from Bouctouche, New Brunswick and quohogs from Cape Cod. No Asian canned clams here! The chowder is buttery and meaty, not too floury and not filled with excess potato. It’s stick to your ribs proper chowder that you will not want to share.
Where to get fresh oysters in Calgary
Do you know the best way to eat an oyster? According to Rodney, it’s the two Ls: lemon and your lips. That’s the way I like ‘em, but Rodney’s offers all the fancy accouterments yuppies like, so you can dress them up to your taste.
Shape, size and meat quality are the holy trinity of a good oyster and you’ll find top notch quality here. What you won’t find: buck a shuck. “We properly pay our fisherman. Rodney’s is about the passion of the ocean, not spreadsheets,” says Rodney. I believe him!
Best seafood restaurant in Calgary
One of the best parts about eating raw oysters is that you’re wise to cleanse your palate prior with a swish of wine. Before tasting west coast kushi, we were instructed to rinse our mouth with sparking wine. Down goes the wine, down goes the oyster, tasting like biting through a sliced cucumber into its skin.
Unsure which wine pairs best with which oyster family? Fortunately, Rodney and his family sit down with a bucket of oysters and the wine maker at Cave Spring Cellars each and every year to determine just that. Cave Springs blends their wine to go with seafood, so your waiter will be able to recommend the perfect bottle to accompany your meal.
And if you’re throwing a party, don’t hesitate to call Rodney’s for some off-sales. It’s no problem for them to have a few dozen (or hundreds) of shucked oysters ready for your event.
Looking for a shuckin’ good time? Look no further.
Do you like raw oysters? Where do you go for yours?