We’ve been patiently waiting for DeMun Oyster Bar in Clayton to open for a while. It seems the latest offering from Alan Richman, of Sasha’s Wine Bar & Market and Sasha’s on Shaw fame, has been poised for opening for forever! And when we finally got the high sign that the place was ready, we made our way down in anticipation.
Once inside, it’s obvious how much time and thought was put into the decor. The floor has vintage French mosaic tiles, circa 1880, and one wall features various sizes and shapes of mirrors. These details, lit with the glow from a variety of pendant lamps and sconces, lend the space a classic French Quarter vibe.
The standout feature of the space is the custom-made windows, which can be tilted out during good weather. We predict this will be the hot corner for sidewalk dining.
There are nine different types of oysters on the half shell listed on the menu. Oysters are shipped fresh daily to the restaurant, so availability is always changing. The menu has a plethora of fresh seafood, including mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp and salmon. There’s even a grilled tenderloin for those who—for some unfathomable reason—would come to an oyster bar and not have a hankering for fresh seafood. There is also an excellent selection of wines and a varied cocktail menu.
We started with the Oyster Chowder ($7), a creamy, delicately seasoned soup that came garnished with bacon and scallions, and plenty of oysters. We moved on to the two salads available on the menu, the DOB Salad ($10) and the Oyster Caesar ($12). The Caesar was tasty, but the DOB was the unique offering of the two, combining arugula, mandarin orange and edamame, topped with fried wanton strips and orange soy vinaigrette.
For the main event, we decided to get a good overview of all of the oyster offerings with the Oysters Combination ($19): three oysters on the half shell, three fried oysters and three grilled oysters, and a NOLA favorite, the Oysters Poorboy ($10). The dish came with four sauces, including a house-made pineapple salsa that was an unexpected, yet delicious, addition. However, we only sampled these, preferring to savor our oysters au natural. The grilled oysters and the oysters on the half shell were plump, flavorful and tender, with the perfect briny tang and just a bit of grit. The fried oysters were fine, mind you, just not as distinctive as their companions on the plate, given the heavy batter they’re fried in.
The poorboy sported several big fried oysters on a toasted roll, along with lettuce, onion, tomato and slaw. Unlike similar po’boys in The Big Easy, which usually come slathered in sauce, this one was served with the sauce—a nice mix of dill, caper and orange zest—on the side. This touch was much appreciated; we didn’t have to ask for additional napkins!
We finished with the only dessert item on the menu, Beignets ($6). For fans of the light and airy Cafe Du Monde variety, these were a bit different, heavier, and with less powdered sugar, but still plenty sweet, thanks to the local honey on the plate.
The only hiccup to the meal was the fact that all of the dishes came to the table at the same time. Suddenly, there was a whole lot of food in a small space. But we chalked this up to the kitchen staff still getting their sea legs.
For those who want an intimate place to enjoy the freshest oysters and seafood around, DeMun Oyster Bar is the place to go. LN