Binge on Bivalves for National Oyster Day

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Today is National Oyster Day, so check your favorite spot for specials. The Boathouse and Saltbox Oyster Co. are offering half-priced oysters, and a handful of Richmond’s restaurants, such as Lemaire, Alewife, Aloi, Perch, the Savory Grain and Shagbark, are donating a portion of proceeds from oyster sales to the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The statewide program, managed by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Rivers Center, collects shell waste from businesses and the public and diverts them back to the Chesapeake Bay for oyster reef restoration.

The Boathouse was one of the first Richmond restaurants to feature a private-label oyster on its menus, and its parent company Richmond Housepitality has gone all in on the concept. Now every Boathouse location offers five custom oysters from different parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic ocean. Each oyster is grown by a different producer, designed to fit a particular flavor profile.

Simply named North, South, East, West and Salt, these oysters vary in their mix of the key oyster flavor elements: sweetness, salinity and minerality. The star is the West. Raised in the Piankatank River by Chapel Creek Oyster Co., the West is a particularly well-balanced blend of ocean and salt flavors, with a rich, almost buttery finish. It’s featured in the Boathouse’s oyster shooters, which are available with tequila, vodka, beer or sake, and it’s available fried with a side of chipotle remoulade.

Concerned about sticking to #MeatlessMonday? Don’t fret — because oysters don’t have a central nervous system, many vegans include them in their diets. Indulge guilt-free, and help rebuild the Chesapeake Bay.

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