Pike Street Fish Fry ushered in the month of February by joining the new dollar oyster club. The discounted oyster action happens from 5 to 8pm Sunday through Thursday, and beers are $4. There are fancier dollar oyster experiences to be had around town: experiences that involve mignonette, tiny oyster forks, and actual platters. But I’m a sucker for this Pike-Pine hideaway, both for the rippingly good fried seafood and the diner-meets-pirate-fort ambiance, punctuated by warm-up bass thumps from nearby Neumos.
Last week I stopped in for a dozen, along with an Odin’s Gift, the Beer Formerly Known as Ruby. I wasn’t sure how an establishment specializing in battering and frying would treat happy hour oysters, but you can opt for raw or grilled bivalves. Thank goodness there wasn’t a crowd at 5:30, because the two-person kitchen team had to seriously wrestle with those oysters. Arriving at work one day and being told that your job duties now include speed-shucking for beer-swilling masses is probably an occupational downer, though these two were awesome. One even took cell phone shots of her handiwork before bringing out the newly shucked dozen.
Oysters arrived in a hotel pan filled with ice, and we used standard-issue plastic forks to wrest the meat out of the shells. Apparently ours was the first dozen-oyster order since Pike Street initiated the happy hour. The takeaway: There’s no shame in rolling in for two or three of these guys if you so desire.
What you won’t find at more upscale oyster happy hours: a bigger oyster for your buck. The selection varies by week, but right now Pike Street lets you choose between dainty Olympias and behemoth Pacific oysters, nearly the size of my splayed fingers. Unsure if my companion would dig the Olys’ coppery flavor, I opted for 12 Pacifics: six raw; six grilled. This might be the first time in my life I preferred a grilled oyster to a raw one, perhaps due to the addition of the same crunchy purple cabbage slaw that accompanies the Fish Fry’s pulled pork sandwich and fish tacos.
Pike Street plans to continue the oyster happy hour for the remainder of the season, though plans could certainly change. While there aren’t any other discounts besides the $4 beers, the drafts are solid. Wines are just a few bucks more, and a far nicer selection than you’d expect to find at a punky fried fish shack. And if dollar oysters don’t entice, there’s always free fry Friday.