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Kibbee Nayee

Thames Street Oyster House - Chef Eric Houseknecht's Eastern Seaboard Seafood with Raw Bar at Fells Point

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Lady KN and I were in the Fells Point area and decided to hit Thames Street Oyster House on a Friday afternoon. In fairness, we only had access to the raw bar, as we arrived between lunch service and dinner service. No problem, as we tucked into Malpeque, another local Maryland oyster, two varieties of Virginia oysters and a dozen large shrimp as a cocktail. Everything was fresh and good, and I am definitely going to return to enjoy some of that enticing menu....

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Do you remember how much your Malpeques were, and whether or not you got happy hour pricing?

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Do you remember how much your Malpeques were, and whether or not you got happy hour pricing?

Here I am responding half a year later....? We did receive happy hour pricing, I recall through my faded memory, but I don't recall the exact price of anything.

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We had an early dinner here 2 Sundays ago. The place was already humming, the bar and downstairs dining area being nearly full, within 1/2 hour of dinner service beginning. I didn't recognize any of the oyster varieties on the raw bar menu, other than local Chesapeakes. I noticed that many of the bi-valves were pricey, some listed at $3.50 per. I don't recall the two varieties I sampled, but they were very good and exactly as described on the menu. Mrs. dwt ordered the fish and chips, with which she was sufficiently happy. Daughter ordered the lobster roll, which she pronounced good, but she was enviously eyeing my bouillabaisse. And it was indeed wonderful. Most iterations of this dish make me wish that they served less mussels and more of the other seafood items included in the stew. But the mussels in this bouillabaisse were very fresh tasting -- none of that funk that I so often taste with mussels past their prime. The broth was savory and had a little hot-pepper undercurrent. This was a very generous dish, loaded with seafood. In fact, the papardelle that had sunk together in a clump at the bottom of the bowl were superfluous. If we return, I don't know if I could bring myself to order anything different.

Service was pleasant, pro-active, and helpful.

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Closing Monday, August 6th, for renovations, according to their website. Doesn't say when they might reopen.

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On 8/3/2018 at 3:01 PM, dracisk said:

Closing Monday, August 6th, for renovations, according to their website. Doesn't say when they might reopen.

There are Yelp review for after August 6th. It looks like they may have only been closed that one day.

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It's probably not a bright idea to walk into Thames Street Oyster House at 7:30 on a Saturday night, thinking you're going to get a table, or belly up to the bar. If you're going during prime hours, *do* make a reservation, or prepare to have a few drinks standing up.

And so we did - the bartenders keep their own seating list of bar seats available, and it wasn't so bad waiting (the Nationals were on TV, blowing yet another late-inning lead).

Once we did sit, we were fairly impressed by the relatively high quality of the liquors behind the bar - a Sea Breeze, for example, was made with Stolichnaya - not exactly a boutique vodka, but you can do a lot worse - and there are numerous beers available locally brewed in Baltimore.

Like a miniature golf score card, the raw-bar ordering form is similar in nature to a sushi ordering form - pick up a pencil, and put the number of items in that you want. There are numerous oysters here, and you should make sure to read their descriptions: Mild, with a light brine means just that: mild, with a light brine, and it's safe to assume that if something is described as brackish, it will be also. On our particular raw bar platter, we were each most impressed with the half lobster tail ($6.25 each, and arguably worth it) - lightly dipped in their white (mildly horseradish-y) sauce, it makes for a good flavor combination. We went clam-heavy just because (and yes, that is one, single prawn back there around 10 o'clock). The raw platters are very good and worth ordering - I'm certainly not prepared to make any comparisons with Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco - which I could gladly have as the final meal of my life - but Thames Street is absolutely worth an evening of yours.

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We didn't get a picture of what I thought was the most special thing: the Chesapeake Blue Catfish Sandwich ($13), the least-expensive of their seafood sandwiches, and the most unusual - I'm assuming the catfish itself came from the Chesapeake, and was buttermilk soaked and fried, served with bibb lettuce, pickles, light mayo (per request), and get this: fried egg and Virginia ham! If you like catfish that isn't blackened to death, get this sandwich. Too full for anything resembling dessert, we took a stroll over to Oliver's Wharf Rat, where we noticed five (!) beers on cask, and spent some valuable time there before Lyfting back, stuffed and happy, an evening very well-spent and highly recommended.

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This place has been on my radar for awhile because of the Rhode Island emphasis -- Block Island scallops, Point Judith calamari, Rhode Island quahog chowder, Rhode Island whole belly clams, NARRAGANSETT CLAM CAKES (I never see clam cakes on menus outside of Rhode Island), even the Portuguese selections. One of the main drags in Newport is Thames Street -- I always assumed this place was named after that.

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On 8/22/2018 at 12:12 PM, dracisk said:

This place has been on my radar for awhile because of the Rhode Island emphasis -- Block Island scallops, Point Judith calamari, Rhode Island quahog chowder, Rhode Island whole belly clams, NARRAGANSETT CLAM CAKES (I never see clam cakes on menus outside of Rhode Island), even the Portuguese selections. One of the main drags in Newport is Thames Street -- I always assumed this place was named after that.

Go for it, Kimberly - you'll have a wonderful time!

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