We have done a LOT of Open Stove nights at COOK. The official count is 46, but that number seems low to me. But even if we accept that figure, that means four years of Open Stove. 184 cooks in our Thunderdome. 92 winners and 92 losers and 368 courses and countless numbers of shots.
In all that time, we have had some great dishes. We have had some terrible dishes, too, but most of them have been better than they had any right to be, considering we were making the chefs work with Swedish Fish, Fruity Pebbles, with their hands tied behind their backs, or blindfolded. We have screwed with our contestants mercilessly because I firmly believe that chefs possess some of the greatest, most creative minds on earth, but that their unique version of greatness and creativity is only brought out under stress. The greater the stress, the greater the genius. And these past four years of Open Stove have been like our own private laboratory in which we prove that every month.
Last night’s contest? In a way, it was no different than 45 that have come before. Four rounds, multiple courses, tricks, booze, shenanigans–it had all the requisite pieces. In one way, it was very different: We had bartenders competing instead of chefs. And in one way, it was the most surprising ever because last night’s Open Stove came about as close as I think we’re ever going to get to the perfect contest.
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The Trough at Butcher Bar | Photograph by Jillian Guyette
The way we eat today — mixing and matching and plate-sharing — can make ordering when you’re out with a large group a challenge. Which is why restaurants are now creating over-the-top family-style meals where the only thing you have to say is, “We’ll take that.” Read more »
What’s better than one lobster? Two lobsters, especially when, together, they’ll run you less than $30.
Oyster House has brought back their Twin Lobster Dinners for the fifth year in a row. Every Wednesday night until August 31st, you can get two whole one-pound Maine lobsters with drawn butter and corn on the side, for just $28.
But wait, there’s more…
The Dump Dinner at Oyster House
Sure it’s fun to order just what you want off of a restaurant’s menu but sometimes the camaraderie of a shared feast is what you’re really hungering for. That’s when a large format meal at one of Philadelphia’s best restaurants is what you have in mind. So gather up some friends and make reservations for these family-style dinners.
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What was once a simple shucking contest and excuse to suck down a couple dozen oysters on a spring afternoon has, this year, become a full-bore indoor oyster carnival with this year’s Shuck Fest at Oyster House.
Scheduled for this Sunday, from noon to 4pm, Oyster House will host everything from the traditional shucking competition to oyster tutorials, oyster tastings with local growers, wine and beer pairings, shell crafts and games for the kids, photo booths and more.
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Photo by Jason Varney
On a recent unseasonably warm March afternoon, I stopped in to Sansom Street’s Oyster House to try out several of the restaurant’s new cocktails. Head bartender/bar manager Lindsey Krueger, a Franklin Mortgage and Village Whiskey vet has been at Oyster House for four years and has built up quite the selection of gins behind the bar, a collection that is put to good use in the latest Oyster House cocktail list.
Bartender Colin O’Neill, himself a Franklin Mortgage alum mixed up the cocktails as I sampled the day’s oysters, house-cured gravalax and decided to wear the delicious barbecue oysters.
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It is the last weekend for Snockey’s Oyster and Crab House. The Philadelphia institution is closing after 103 years. Located at 1020 South 2nd Street for the past 40 years, the restaurant’s closing further shuts the door on the tradition of the Philadelphia oyster house.
Third generation owners, Ken and Skip Snock are both in their 60s and looking to step away from the business. The property has been for sale since late 2014.
In the 1870s, Philadelphians consumed 12 oysters a week and some 2,419 Philadelphia hotels, oyster houses, restaurants and saloons served oysters. And that’s not counting the roving peddlers and curbside stands. By the late 1950s, 95% of the Delaware Bay’s oysters had been wiped out by disease. With the dropoff in local oysters, oyster houses also faced extinction.
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Varga Bar is hosting a three-day crab boil.
If you’re a fan of clambakes, crab boils and bargain oysters, now through Labor Day is your time to strike.
Tonight is Oyster House’s last Twin Lobster Dinner of the summer. That’s two one-pound Maine lobsters, corn and drawn butter for just $28.
On Thursday, August 27th, Brick and Mortar is hosting a family style lobster and clam bake. The feast is $55 per person in advance, $65 in person. There are two seatings (6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) and beer from Nantucket’s Cisco Brewery will be included.
But there’s more »
Growers at Forty North Oysters
From Monday, August 17th through Saturday, August 22nd, Center City’s Oyster House is hosting a local seafood week that will highlight New Jersey shellfish growers and benefit Philadelphia’s Fair Food.
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If you believe you are an oyster connoisseur, you can compete in Oyster House‘s sixth annual shucking contest and win a $100 gift certificate to the Sansom Street restaurant. Or you can pay five bucks and leave the shucking to the professionals, while you enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The annual shucking contest takes place Saturday, April 18 beginning at 2 pm at Oyster House (1516 Sansom Street). The $5 admission includes complimentary tastes of all the varieties of shucked oysters. Narragansett Lager and Del’s Shandy will be $3 for the 16 oz tallboy cans.
The first shucking competition will be for the professionals, competing for a $200 cash prize and the coveted oyster shell medal. Professional shuckers include Oyster House employees as well as employees from Pennsylvania 6, Juniper Commons, The Olde Bar and Ocean Prime. An amateur contest will follow and any prospective contestants can sign up the day of the event.
Oyster House [Official]