It’s always oyster season at Seastar Restaurant And Raw Bar in Bellevue, WA.
You don’t have to wait for the months with an `R’ in them (September to April) because the summer break in wild oyster harvesting to let them spawn doesn’t apply to commercially raised oysters that are strictly regulated for both safety and sustainability all year round.
Enjoy these fresh, firm and tasty bivalves without guilt at Bellevue’s premier seafood hotspot, where 1,500-2,000 oysters are served every week to connoisseurs and beginners by Seastar’s Raw Bar Chef, David Putaportiwon, who is happy to help you select a flavor profile, depending on where you’re at on your oyster journey.
“The oysters we serve at Seastar Restaurant And Raw Bar mostly come from the Pacific Northwest,” says Putaportiwon. “For new oyster-eaters, I typically recommend the Shikogu, Kusshi or Kumamoto oysters, due to their smaller size and delicate, milder flavor. For those with more experience, I suggest meatier ones, such as the Totten and Harstine Island harvest. All served with an in-house mignonette sauce and a variety of toppings.”
With the oyster selection made so easy, the next step of the Seastar seafood dining experience is choosing the right wine to pair with it.
We spoke to Erik Liedholm, award-winning sommelier and Wine Director at Seastar, to get some expert insights on this, and he pared your choices down to just two suggestions to make this one easy too.
“We have so many different styles of oyster at Seastar – from a richer style to more delicate ones — and each variety could potentially work with a different kind of wine,” says Liedholm. “The key is to look at the delicacy of an oyster, and right there it should tell you the type of wine you should drink with it.”
For example, you may want to forgo a big red wine because of its inherent weight and texture that can overwhelm the oyster and throw it out of balance — unless of course, the oyster has a really strong flavor to complement it.
For the most part, your best option for a synergetic pairing is going with a white wine, which is lighter in body and high in acid to mirror the attributes of most oysters.
“Champagne is a natural accompaniment, not only because a lot of people have champagne anyway, during celebrations or a romantic dinner, but because it has such a high level of acidity,” says Liedholm. “The texture and the bubbles of champagne have a unique ability to enhance the delicacy of many different kinds of oysters.”
The traditional pairing for oysters, of course, is a wine from the Loire Valley in France called a Muscadet. “Muscadet is produced in an area, right at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean where most of the oysters in France are harvested from,” says Liedholm. “So there’s a synergy there right away.” The Muscadet wine is very light in body, with Atlantic climate influences that give them a saline, marine quality and some of the same minerality as the plump, meaty, briny oysters that are also native there.
So there you have it. A resolution of your wine-and-oyster pairing dilemma with two wine suggestions you cannot go wrong with.
Call Seastar Restaurant And Raw Bar at 425-456-0010 to make a reservation today!
• Seastar Restaurant And Raw Bar
205 108th Ave NE #100, Bellevue, WA 98004