I’ve yet to find anyone who can be described as the “oyster-loving type.” Those that enjoy oysters tend to be a variety of different people, from those who can’t stand any other kind of seafood to those who can eat anything from the sea. I know of many people who love seafood, sashimi, or sushi but won’t try oysters. For a long time I was one of those people. I have loved sushi since I was a teenager and I had the courage to give it a try. This is exactly what happened to me when it came to oysters. It just took me a few more years to get myself to try them.
Shaw’s Crab House and Oyster Bar, located on Hubbard Street in downtown Chicago, is an example of the perfect balance of an establishment that provides both wonderfully fresh seafood, and a lively and comfortable atmosphere that makes you never want to leave.
Shaw’s creates a dual atmosphere by encompassing both a beautiful upscale seafood dining room and a low-key oyster bar.
A board displaying the kinds of crab that are in season at that specific moment, as well as a listing of the oyster distributors can found on one of the walls in the oyster bar.
While many will consider Shaw’s prices to be a reason to turn away, don’t go yet! Everyday, Shaw’s has a happy hour from 4-6 p.m. where you can get oysters for half the price.
The oysters are served in groups of either six or twelve, and you can choose from the list of distributors ranging from both the West and East Coasts.
If you are an oyster newbie, here is a tip: don’t get all of your oysters from one distributor. For the happy hour menu, choices are provided from both an East Coast distributor and a West Coast distributor that can be applied to the special. I find that I really don’t prefer one over the other, but enjoy both of them since their flavors are so different.
For those who are looking to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, but don’t want to stray away from their typical seafood choices, I can attest that their maki options are equally delicious. Recently, in an attempt to go outside of my comfort zone, I ordered the Spicy Shrimp Salmon and Lemon roll. The very thinly sliced pieces of lemon on top provided a refreshing flavor different than any I have ever experienced, and also provided a great counterbalance to the spicy shrimp.
My favorite part about Shaw’s is the service. Everyone is helpful and has such an in-depth knowledge about the menu that they can accurately answer any question you may have, and in a way that you don’t feel stupid for asking it.
The approachable nature of the staff contributes to the overall comfortable feeling of the oyster bar (maybe the classy suspenders they all wear has something to do with it). Whatever it is, they’re doing it right!
If I had to rank Shaw’s Crab House and Oyster Bar on a scale of 1-10, I would definitely give it a 10. This place has the whole package!