Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rodney's Oyster House Gastown : Low Tide

The last time I came to Rodney's Oyster House was most likely back in high school and a second location has opened since then, in Gastown. An out of town guest actually reminded me to revisit the restaurant after many years, but our schedules did not match so I went without him! BF and I arrived during happy hours, which Rodney's calls "Low Tide" and people can order off the dinner menu too.

When entering the restaurant, there is a set of stairs to walk up before arriving at the bar and dining room. We waited at the front for only a couple of minutes and there was no greeting while the manager and another waiter looked for a table to seat us. I like how the staff was actually looking for a table to seat us rather than asking if we had reservations and when hearing the answer no, acting like having no reservations troubles them (which has happened at restaurants that are not even busy!).

There are two levels of dining area in the restaurant and the lower level has a few tables along with bar seats, and an open kitchen. The atmosphere at Rodney's is very upbeat, non-rushed and casual. Although maybe a bit too casual… as the manager sits on the counter by the preparation area and bar seats. As for the upper level, there are more tables and the seating arrangements are not cramped.

After settling down and looking at the menu, we waited a while for someone to take our order. At the time, there were four waiters at the front and only two seated tables in the restaurant. The service was not an issue later on though because one of the waiters stayed upstairs. He also checked up on us a couple of times and was the friendliest waiter of them all. There are quite a few negative comments regarding the service at Rodney's especially during the Low Tide, but the none of the staff was rude (although we did visit the restaurant during a slow period).

COCA COLA ($3.50) AND ZYDECO STEW ($10.25).
Rodney's is apparently known for their caesars, but am I missing something? The caesar tastes watery, icy and not rich. There is a hint of spiciness though…? As for the prawn, it tastes overcooked, mushy and not appetizing. This is actually the worst caesar I ever had and even Horizons and Yew's Seafood tasted better, which were not even good! As for the coke, it would be nice if the restaurant serves the regular sized bottles than the smaller ones but meh.

Rating: 3.5/5.
The oysters taste fresh, smooth, and have a hint of a briny flavour. In addition, the oysters are properly shucked! There are no bits of shell and the oysters taste a lot better than the ones we had at Yew's Seafood (which were Kusshi too!). Freshly grated horseradish along with lemon are provided on the side as well.

Rodney's also offers five types of sauces which range from sweet to spicy. The sauces include shallot vinaigrette, Seawitch Sauce (our favourite), White Boy Soy (predominately a soy sauce flavour that I disliked the most), Johnny Reb's Esponola (a mild hot sauce) and Back From Hell (not overly spicy or unbearable like the name suggests, I liked it).

Half an hour later, the chowders arrived! I was literally starving and wondered why the food took so long, considering it is pre-cooked chowder but heated to order. The chowder tastes creamy and includes bacon, clams, pepper and lots of potatoes. I like how the clams taste tender and not chewy one bit. However, there are so much potatoes in the chowder that it is overwhelming. The potatoes are soft and not crunchy or mushy though.

As for BF, he ordered the Manhattan chowder. I usually favour New England more than Manhattan but wow, this one is not even good. There is a heavy tomato soup flavour and the taste resembles drinking pasta sauce. This is a shame because there are plenty of good ingredients such as potato, carrot, bacon, clams and onion. The manhattan chowder did not have too many potatoes too. Both chowders come with a side of oyster crackers.

Rating: 3/5.
The mussels are fresh, plump, huge and juicy! Honestly, the mussels are just cooked and not a touch over. These are also the largest mussels I have had in a long time and that "seafood ocean" flavour is not overwhelming. As for the broth, there is a strong tartness from the dill but I could have used a heavier butterier flavour (personal preference). I am not sure if the Low Tide menu changed too because we were charged for the regular price rather than $12.50. For the full price, I would have wanted to try the bacon mussels instead too.

Rating: 1/5.
The waiter brought over some bread to enjoy with the mussels and I could not help thinking I wish we got these earlier! Unfortunately though, the bread is not fresh and the crumb tastes dry. The crust also tastes very hard.

Rating: 3.5/5.
As more time passed, we inquired about the missing pan fried oysters and turns out the first waiter forgot to enter the order in. Our new waiter (the friendlier one I referred to in the beginning of my post), mentioned it should not take longer than ten minutes because the restaurant was empty. The oysters arrived fresh, hot, lightly battered with a soft crunch, and juicy. I have been craving pan fried oysters for a while and took advantage of how Rodney's serves freshly shucked ones! As for the tartar, the consistency is okay but I would have preferred a thicker one. There could have been a stronger flavour of dill too and the sauce tastes a bit too light for me.

TOTAL: $81.05 + TIP $13.95 = $95.00.

Rodney's Oyster House is a good choice for those who want to enjoy oysters and have a few drinks, especially during Low Tide which runs from 3:00pm-5:00pm! As for the food, some items are better than others such as the oysters, mussels and pan fried oysters. Not sure what the hype is regarding the caesar though.

- Fresh and well shucked oysters
- Casual and upbeat atmosphere
- Our second waiter was friendly and attentive

- Horrible caesar (0/5)
- Manhattan chowder (1/5)
- Food takes a bit long

Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5

Rodney's Oyster House Gastown on Urbanspoon

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