"Seven days without oysters makes one weak!"
~ King's Seafood Company

Did you know that every 30 seconds, a freshly shucked oyster is slurped by an oyster loving Guest in a King's Fish House. We sell over 1.2 million succulent bivalves a year and still counting!

King's oysters are alive in their shells just moments before they are shucked. There is no better way for you to sample this pristine freshness straight from the ocean. Eating oysters is unlike any other food experience. Let one of our seafood ambassadors guide you to a taste of the ocean on the half shell.

Welcome to Oyster Class 101

An oyster is a bivalve (two shell) mollusk, like a mussel or a clam. The oyster's two shells are held together, opened and closed by an adductor muscle. Oysters filter up to 100 gallons of water through their valves each day and this is where 100% of their nutrition comes from feeding on Plankton. This makes them a healthy food and a helpful part of the ocean's community.

Are all oysters the same? No! Oyster flavors are as differentiated as the places that they are grown, much like wine grapes. They take on the characteristics of their surroundings and are generally named for their place of origin. The nutrients, salinity and temperature of the water help determine the size, color, flavor and texture of the oyster. See for yourself and try one of our oyster sampler platters, or stop by the oyster bar to sample an oyster any time of the day.

Did you know:

  • Archaeologists tell us that oysters have been part of the human diet for at least 20,000 years.
  • Oysters have cultivated for 4,000 years in Europe and Asia .
  • The Greeks began cultivating oysters as early as the fourth century B.C.
  • As early as 95 B.C., the Romans were laying the foundation for the European oyster culture.
  • The English started an oyster tradition in Colchester with an annual oyster festival every year dating back to 1318. In fact, July 25 th , is called St. James Day, the first day that oysters may be legally sold in England .
  • The Japanese Imperial Family had oysters cultivated in bamboo nets since the 17 th century
  • In America , in the late 18 th century and into the early 19 th century, oysters were associated with good fortune and became a very valuable delicacy associated with wealth and prestige. Oysters from the East Coast were shipped on ice by railroad to the new boomtowns of St. Louis and Chicago . As time went on, trains went to Denver and then to San Francisco during the years of the Gold Rush.
  • In Boston , the first oyster restaurant began selling oysters in 1826 called Union Oyster House? Today, you can visit this restaurant, which is now designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Did you also know that oysters have played a fascinating role in different cultures around the world:

  • In Wales , it was believed that pale young women would improve their health if they were fed oysters.
  • The Chinese believed that oysters could cure freckles!
  • As for their powers as an aphrodisiac, nothing has been proven beyond the fact that they are high in Zinc, which helps in the production of semen.
  • Mythology tells the story that when Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rose from the sea on an oyster shell, she gave birth to Eros, Her divine beauty and invincible charm had mysterious effects on those she met, and thus this became known as an aphrodisiac.
  • High Rollers from Louis XIV to Diamond Jim Brady were huge oyster fans as were both Casanova and Don Juan.
  • Oysters also contain higher levels of minerals such as Zinc, which can be attributed to the enhancement of love and therefore thought as an aphrodisiac.

 

Which Oyster Region is your favorite?

Pacific Oysters
Pacific Oysters (crassostrea gigas) are delicious and full-flavored, They are grown all along the coast and in to British Columbia and even Alaska . Many of the varieties we offer are Pacifics.




Kumamoto Oysters
Kumamoto Oysters (crassostrea sikimea) are plump, buttery and mild. They are grown in California and Washington .




Eastern Oysters

Eastern Oysters (crassostrea virginica) are briny and mild-tasting. Generally a wild species, they are grown from the Gulf of Mexico and up to the Atlantic Coast to Canada 's Maritime Provences.



European Flat Oysters

European Flat Oysters (ostrea edulis) are the classic European oyster now grown by American farmers on both coasts. These oysters are highly prized for their crunchy meat and rich mineral flavor.


Olympia Oysters
Olympia Oysters (ostrea lurida) are the Pacific Northwest 's only native oyster. They are rich, firm and complex. This miniature oyster is a gourmet's treat.

 

 

Saucing your Oyster
We serve three condiments with our oysters. There is a different school of thought behind each one and we suggest you taste them all!

  1. Horseradish- the idea for serving horseradish with Oysters is a very Pacific Northwest ( San Francisco and Vancouver ) idea. Since the early 1900's the Oyster that has dominated this areas is one imported originally from Japan . As we all know, the Japanese love serving, fresh horseradish with their raw fish, but usually in the form of wasabi. At King's, our freshly grated Horseradish is sure to add some zing to your oyster!
  2. Mignonette - the name of this sauce translates literally from French and means "something very small and dear". It is composed of tiny shallots and tiny cracked peppercorns pickled in vinegar. The idea behind this condiment is to simply take some of the shallots and peppercorns out of the vinegar and place them on your oyster. These characteristics are really complimented by the acidic zing of the pickled shallots. This is an idea adopted from the French who, like the Japanese, have cultivated oysters for thousands of years.
  3. Cocktail Sauce - This sauce is definitely an American invention. The reason for the creation of this sauce was due mainly in part to our native oyster, native in America from Colonial times to today, the Virginica, or Eastern Oyster. These oysters are characterized by two things, mild flavor and brininess. These traits really call out for something to "kick it up a notch". Thus, the complexity of the ketchup combined with the hot sauce and atomic horseradish in the cocktail sauce is sensational.

Oyster Beverage Recommendation

It is recommended that certain beverages accompany the oyster. Examples of this would be a very cold, dry almost one-dimensional white wine that has good crisp, acidic fruit. Some Sauvignon and Fume Blanc have this quality, as do many Chenin Blanc and even some simpler Chardonnay. Another great recommendation is a cold malt beer, or an ale- the fuller bodied the better.

Oyster and Beverage Combinations at King's!

What better way than to celebrate the taste of our succulent Kumamoto oysters than with an award winning oyster wine. These wines were all blind tasted at the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition with kumamoto oysters. The 26 judges chew the oyster well, sip the wine and rate the "bliss factor", the wine's affinity with the oyster. Some of the winners we serve were.

  • Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc (CA) - 3 rd time winner
  • Kenwood Sonoma, Sauvignon Blanc (CA) - 3rd time winner
  • Kunde Estate Winery, Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc (CA) - 2nd time winner

With West Coast oysters, I also enjoy a crisp Pinot Grigio. Try them with Pepi Pinot Grigio, all stainless steel fermented so it's bone dry and clean.

East Coast oysters are a natural with beer for me and I am a big fan of our King Crab Ale made for us by Bayhawk Ales. The creamy malt flavors pair nicely with the oysters without overpowering them.

Signed,

Sam King
President and CEO

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