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Oyster Shack Restaurant - A Montreal Restaurants Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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oyster shack montreal restaurant seafood
Photo © Evelyn Reid

The Bottom Line

I grew up on top quality seafood thanks to a now ex-step family of fishermen from the shores of Matane. So when the Oyster Shack suggests they want to bring the shores of New Brunswick to Montreal, I hold them to their word. So the question is: does Oyster Shack do just that? Does the downtown Bishop street "shack" fare taste like it's straight from the sea? Well, not quite. Does that mean you should snub said shack? Not at all.

Pros

  • Nice burgers.
  • Pleasant and private wooden terrace space on the second floor.
  • According to a couple in their 60s dining one table away, the lobster rolls were fantastic.
  • Great happy hour deal: $0.99 oysters from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day!
  • Oysters were not very briney, more melt-in-your-mouth than fleshy, with a sweet finish. Just lovely.

Cons

  • Oysters were small, with shells under 3 inches long.
  • Scallops were not fresh.
  • Service was uneven.
  • Waiter wasn't sure what kind of oysters were served, "maybe malpeques," he said.

Description

  • Location: 1242 Bishop, below Ste. Catherine
  • Get There: Guy-Concordia Metro
  • Phone: (514) 395-1888

Guide Review - Oyster Shack Restaurant - A Montreal Restaurants Review

I love seafood. Yet little did I realize that since May 2008, a shack -- in the heart of downtown Montreal pub and club land -- set out to please folk like myself who wish they could teleport to the tides of Alma, New Brunswick, and cry in delight at the sight of sumptuously fried scallops so fresh and tender, you barely need teeth to down a bite.

So I ordered the bucket o' scallops. The price was right at $7.95 and the portion generous in size with a side of fries. But the scallops, or should I say baby scallops, tasted fishy (fishy!), a tell-tale sign they were either a) not fresh, b) frozen (i.e., not fresh) and/or c) purchased at the supermarket. Sigh.

Of course, I had to try the oysters but the price ($15.95 for six on ice) seemed steep. I asked the waiter if we could work something out, a smaller sample size, maybe mix and match other items. He said they didn't do that and I felt like I was imposing when I asked for less than six (he finally suggested four) not knowing we could have bought 12 (or 3 or 1!) for $0.99 a piece in the midst of Oyster Shack's 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour. Why did the waiter not share that crucial information with us? My dining companion and I felt a little hurried too, with the waiter asking us a good three times if we were ready to order as if there was a rush. But it was Sunday late afternoon, and there were only a handful of patrons at the busiest time.

Since I have issues with catfish, I went for a sirloin burger over fish 'n chips. It was juicy, yummy, appropriately sized and the side of salad had no iceberg lettuce (thank you!), rather it was a mix of romaine and radicchio.

Overall, it was a decent meal and despite some shortcomings, the Oyster Shack has excellent post-work or weekend afternoon happy hour potential for a group of friends, particularly on the terrace.

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