|The sun setting on the sailboats|
My family has been talking about the not-so-secret of Merroir since it opened. My family consists of the frequently obnoxious people who are super picky about their seafood. Crabs? Only if we pull them out of the water ourselves and boil 'em up right then and there. Shrimp? Was it caught today? Crabcakes? Only if Grandaddy makes them. The family likes Merroir for similar reasons... the food is so fresh and the seafood isn't covered up by lots of breading or drowned in sauces. After all the rave reviews, I've been hoping to make the trip down there from Charlottesville for a long time. Yesterday was finally the day.
There aren't reservations here. Just show up and see who beat you there. If you do have to wait, which certainly is a possibility on a Saturday night, stroll around the marina or walk inside and have a drink. Merroir has a fair amount of beers and wines, mostly from smaller or local places. Have to try the Flying Dog Oyster Stout, called the Pearl Necklace which is made from RRO oysters.
The menu at Merroir is simple and frequently changes. Highlighted, of course, are the oysters. RRO features three oysters. The Rappahannocks are the sweetest, least briny. They're grown right here in Topping. The "medium" oysters are called Stingrays (my favorite!!) and grow in Mobjack Bay, which is closer to the open water of the Chespeake. And lastly, they offer the Olde Salts, which are the most briny, thanks to their home off Chincoteague Island. The oysters all come on the half-shell; you can get them raw or roasted. Order one-by-one for $1.50 or in groups of a half-dozen or dozen. They also offer shrimp and clams in the same portions.
|View's not too shabby|
We opted to approach dinner in a tapas fashion. We don't come down here much, so why not try everything right? We got a dozen of the oysters raw, 4 of each kind. They're served with 2 sauces, one a fairly traditional cocktail sauce and the other a more salsa-esque, vinegar-y sauce. Both were great. My favorite of the oysters was the Stingrays, of the medium salinity. Jon liked the two extremes better... the Olde Salts because they were so briny and ocean-y and the Rappahannocks because you really taste the oyster itself. Rightly so, as oysters are the feature here, these were probably the best part of the meal. We also got a half dozen of roasted oysters. These were probably our least favorite part of dinner, not because they weren't good, but just because the raw ones were so much better.
|I think they go through a lot of oysters...|