Not long ago, Stoic & Genuine chef de cuisine Jorel Pierce was touring oyster beds near Seattle when he had an idea: He asked one of the oyster farmers if he could rope off a section of beach and sell his oysters directly to Pierce. When the answer was “yes,” Pierce decided to make these “exclusive” bivalves one of the focal points of the raw-bar menu at the Union Station seafood spot. “Ninety-five percent of oysters today are farm-raised because of climate change,” Pierce says. “And we can make very specific requests to these farmers to get certain flavors.” Pierce ultimately settled on three types of branded oysters for Stoic & Genuine, which he and his team named. Here, a look at how the shellfish differ, how to eat them, and which wines pair best.

The Stoic (Left)

From: Long Island Sound, New York

Characteristics: Salty, briny, crunchy

Garnish: Champagne mignonette

Pair With: Muscadet

Pierce Says: “The Stoics are my personal favorite—I prefer a more salty, briny oyster. I like them ‘neat,’ but if you want a sauce, these are perfect with the mignonette.”

The Standard (Middle)

From: Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

Characteristics: Large, balanced, salty, sweet

Garnish: Horseradish and ponzu

Pair With: Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc)

Pierce Says: “These are big boys—three to four inches. The balanced umami flavor is fantastic with Asian flavors like the ponzu and horseradish.”

The Genuine (Right)

From: South Puget Sound, Washington

Characteristics: Sweet, buttery, crunchy

Garnish: Sherry amontillado granita

Pair With: Champagne (or other sparkling wine)

Pierce Says: “What most people are looking for in an oyster. The buttery flavor of the Genuine goes nicely with the leather and wood notes of the sherry [in the garnish]—we’re balancing extremes.”

This article was originally published in 5280 November 2014.
Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke is the editorial director of 5280 Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffVanDyke