100 Favorite Dishes: No. 97, Meritage's Oysterfest oysters

100 Favorite Dishes: No. 97, Meritage's Oysterfest oysters
Joy Summers

There are few things as tempting and perfect as a freshly shucked oyster. Each year, Meritage's owners, Russell and Desta Klein round up some of the best oysters from both coasts and bring those little bivalves back to Minnesota for a very special party.

At this year's Oysterfest, organizers finally nailed the proper balance of oyster shucking stations and ticket sales. Lines were short and swift, and the inventory was plentiful. Sure, the beer, wine, and music were all good, too. The entertainment of watching chefs go head to head in shuck-offs was nice, and the brisk afternoon weather was sunny enough. However, the shining stars of the entire day were those beautiful little oysters.

Their craggy gray shells were coaxed open by a gloved hand and a stubby, sharp knife, and they required careful handling so as not to waste even one drop of that lovely liquor.

Not being blessed with a nearby ocean, eating an oyster outside sadly isn't an every day occurrence in these parts. There is a singular pleasure of standing in the middle of St. Peter Street clutching that cold, gnarly shell. Tasting the fresh spray of an early morning sea breeze, you'll find your hand reaching out for another oyster before the first one is even down the hatch.

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410 Saint Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102



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