Reader: Why are you eating cheap mollusks in a landlocked city?

oysterfest.jpg
Christopher Morgan
Oysters at the first High West Oyster Fest.
Oysters are getting out of their shell all over Denver, with raw bars popping up at restaurants around town and the mollusks making frequent appearances on happy-hour menus, including the spot Lori Midson visited for yesterday's Guess Where I'm Eating? The old adage used to hold that you should only eat oysters in months ending in R, but modern technology has debunked that. In fact, the second High West Oyster Fest is coming later this month. But then there's the fact that Denver is a thousand miles from an ocean...

See also: Guess where I'm eating oysters for only a buck a shuck

Says Wil:

Better question, why are you eating cheap mollusks in a landlocked city? That is like eating cheap beef where there are no cows.
Hmmm...we see no shortage of steaks on the menus of restaurants far from any farm.

Do you eat oysters in landlocked Denver? What are your favorite spots to slurp?

And vote for your favorite raw bar in our Best of Denver 2014 Readers' Poll here.





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34 comments
StevenGregory
StevenGregory

Raw oysters in Denver? No thanks.

If you're luckily unaware, Vibrio bacteria sickness causes explosive gassy diarrhea and vomiting. Then you take some over-the-counter stuff and it subsides... for a couple of hours, then it's back with a vengeance. You never thought anything so foul-smelling could come out of your body while you were still alive.

The remedy: a visit to a urologist, about $100 worth of pills that must be taken over the course of two weeks.

John Jones
John Jones

Better run a Geiger counter around that if its from the Pacific, radiation from Fukushima nuclear meltdown!

Luke Gledhill
Luke Gledhill

I'm from cape cod and I didn't even eat oysters then, definitely not going to start now.

Jacquelyn Clemmer
Jacquelyn Clemmer

I think it depends on where you go and how often they get them. Oysters are funny little guys.

Sarah Golay
Sarah Golay

I got sick from Denver oysters 3x...be careful where you order from.

Adam Akers
Adam Akers

Maybe this argument would be stronger if this article was written better.

kodainyo777
kodainyo777

They like the mollusks and it's their dime!  And New York City has no cows, but the best steak anywhere in the world.  

wrandol1
wrandol1

So, being as you've now quoted my Facebook comment, I might as well fully weigh in:

Is seafood in Denver bad? No, unless you are at a Red Lobster.

Is seafood in Denver fresh? Are you eating fish you can catch in Denver lakes?

Would I rather be eating fish bought from the market in Massachusetts? Depends on the fish. 

Would I pay money to buy fish in Denver instead of a great steak that probably came from Kansas or southeastern Colorado? HELL no. And that goes doubly so for mollusks.


To clarify, I lived in Denver for 15 years. I basically grew up there. But I've also lived in Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, and now I live in Michigan. You can claim your oyster bars are blowing up, and all I hear is that you've got a lot of people who settle for decent seafood.

Ray Burns
Ray Burns

I moved to New Orleans from Boulder about 8 months ago...I would never eat an oyster in Denver especially a raw one!

David Entremont
David Entremont

If the restaurant is clear that oyster are being flown in daily, there's no issue as others have said. It's hard to mask an old oyster so I'd like to think this is standard practice. Being from New Orleans and knowing oyster prices, I do get nervous when I see oysters here selling for the same or less. I stay away from those.

Dani Ball
Dani Ball

That comment on the steaks not being from a nearby farm, is the dumbest thing I've heard all day! A cooked steak is FAR different from RAW oysters.

Sydney Vitae
Sydney Vitae

I'm from New Orleans and I'm afraid to eat oysters here.

John Twigg
John Twigg

I more or less agree with the reader. People who live a thousand miles from the ocean were not meant to be eating seafood on a regular basis. This just contributes to the strip mining and over fishing of the ocean. Eat as locally as possible.

Marc LaDoucieur
Marc LaDoucieur

Never concerned me. However, I WAS curious as to why Red Lobsters exist in coastal areas. Never looked into it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they got their seafood from anywhere BUT local waters.

Brice Westhusing
Brice Westhusing

I just moved here from Louisville KY. Even though they were thousands of miles from any ocean, there was always super fresh seafood, many times caught the day before, because of the UPS world hub. I'm sure Denver is the same way. Lots of flights coming in everyday from ocean cities.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

You hear this refrain all the time when it comes to sushi, too.  Yet some of these idiots will eat sushi in a place like Seattle, thinking the fish is inherently fresher, when some of that fish was frozen shortly after being caught.  Whether that frozen fish travels to the port in Seattle, or takes an additional leg on a plane to Denver, makes no difference.

Philo99
Philo99

Unless you are in Seattle or Vancouver, the travel time for quality oysters is just as short to Denver as anywhere else. They now have these magical metal birds that are called airplanes that get food products from the producer to the restaurants in a day or less.

John789
John789

The myth that landlocked cities can’t get fresh seafood has been destroyed by airplanes, enhanced packaging techniques and professional sourcing. East Coast oysters fly over Denver on their way to California slurpers . Kumamotos and Hama Hama oysters from the Pacific Northwest flying towards New York oyster bars also pass over our city. Does anyone shun guacamole because we can't grow avocados? 

StevenGregory
StevenGregory

@kodainyo777 Many people claim the best steaks are aged, nobody claims the best oysters are aged. Besides that, 30 minutes from Manhattan are pastures and cows.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

I think it's called a loss leader. They make up the difference on the drink prices. Or it's a short-term deal meant to get people in the door. Once they have a good customer base, the specials stop.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

You know they're still alive when they get here, right? It's not like some dude found a sack of oysters sitting in the sun on a dock somewhere and decided to hop a Greyhound to Denver with them.


Also, check where the oysters are from next time you're eating them in New Orleans. Most likely they've been flown in from somewhere else. I wouldn't trust and oyster from anywhere within 500 miles of the Mississippi Delta.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

How does it contribute to strip mining?

StevenGregory
StevenGregory

Red Lobster in coastal areas exist to satisfy those people who live near the ocean and buy fish sticks. Some sad palates love processed food that has been pre-chewed and over-salted.

wrandol1
wrandol1

When I moved from Denver to Florida and saw a Red Lobster I wondered the same thing.... I still don't have an answer. Tourists?


RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

@Bagwhan It will when Peak Oil and Climate Breakdown consign air travel to the environmental trash heap. Of course, by then, Colorado will have ran out of water and everyone has subsequently left...

wrandol1
wrandol1

@Bagwhan  Depends on the fish. In CT I could buy fish put on ice, and not frozen fish. But keep the illusion alive that fresh caught tastes the same as frozen. 

Think global buy local guys. I'm stuck in Michigan now, so how do I adapt? I eat lake fish. Do I miss good fish? Yep. Is lake fish still better than the stuff I got in Denver? ... not sure.




Jon_S
Jon_S

@Bagwhan  I know, the far from the ocean argument is so dumb. Not only for the freezing, but a lot of times some species of fish on the menu only comes from the opposite ocean from where you are dining. Or it's caught in only warm/cold water, which can be very far away from the coastal city where you're eating it. The same goes for oysters. Go into any oyster bar in a city on the coast and half the oysters come from the opposite coast, or even Japan. Why people think seafood flown all the way across the country is fresher that seafood flown to the middle of the country is beyond me. 


"Hey, I'm in Boston and can see the ocean. This Alaskan halibut is sooo much fresher than in Denver!"

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@Bagwhan This is so true. And it isn't even just "freshness" that's a factor. For example, in one large US city, the majority of the seafood suppliers are part of a conglomerate owned by the Unification Church, so of course that's going to have an impact on what's on offer.

I would think that this would be just as much of an issue as distance to a discerning sushi connoisseur. But surprisingly we don't hear about people's undies getting quite so bunched on that one.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@Jon_S  I was in SF recently and wanted an old-school fish market/restaurant so I found one that seemed to have good recommendations and when I asked what was locally caught, they had only one item. Of course, there are plenty of places in the bay area to get local oysters or crab (when in season), but most fish markets these days in almost every city carry a wide variety from both coasts, and often all over the world.

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