Bivalves & Barbecue at Blue Smoke
Oysters and BBQ might go hand in hand in the south, but it’s rather uncommon to see it in the Northeast. At Blue Smoke however, they’re trying to change all of that. They called in the NY Oyster Lovers Meetup Group to be the first testers/guinea pigs of Chef Eddie Montalvo’s bivalve & barbecue creations.
There were ten of us that night and none of us knew what to expect. We had seen a preview of the menu, but it was hard to predict just how everything would be executed. Blue Smoke is well known for their lip-smacking barbecue, but oysters? Word on the street is that they’re looking to dive into the oyster scene, quite literally.
Chef Eddie came over to the table to say hello and confess just how nervous (!) he was for this meal. In fact, it seemed like his entire team was on edge — a good edge. The overall excitement and anticipation of what was to come kept us all very chatty. All of the oysters being used were sourced through W&T Seafood. Crystal and Adam were there to both help explain the product and experience it for themselves.
The first curveball of the night was a surprise oyster shot! The raw Matunuck oyster — the chef’s “absolute favorite” type of oyster — sat atop a small shot glass. The elixir was made of vodka, bloody mary (I think), and beef drippings (OMG!). It was also accompanied by a rather untraditional corn dog — or should I say “oyster dog”? The chef fell in love with the Matunuck oyster after visiting the farm, which is very understandable.
The plate of raw oysters featured Matunucks and Shigokus, to get a taste of both East and West coast. There were a variety of condiments available to us: cocktail, mignonette, cholula hot sauce, and homemade tarragon mayonnaise. I tried a little bit of the tarra-mayo mix, but quickly concluded that I’m just a purist through and through. The Shigoku oysters were also used in a hearty oyster pan roast. The thick, buttery soup consisted of a few poached oysters that added a depth to the flavor and texture.
By this time, everyone’s appetites were prepped and stretched, ready for more. Oh, we definitely got MORE. Texas-style sliced beef brisket with oyster cornbread stuffing. Then came heaps of slow-cooked pulled pork with mac & cheese. Followed by giant pieces of Applewood-smoked chicken with sesame cole slaw. Lastly, a trio of desserts swooped in to seal the deal: key lime pie, chocolate cupcakes, and seasonal cobbler crisp with homemade ice cream. This was a feast of epic proportions, and it hard garnered many envious looks from across the restaurant.
When Chef Eddie came out for the forth and final time, an enthusiastic round of applause arose from our table. Many thanks to the entire Blue Smoke team for putting this meal together. Also thanks to Crystal for organizing!