Monday night I was meeting some girlfriends to catch up and decided to pop into the newest restaurant on Crown Street, The Naked Oyster Cocktail Eatery. It opened in the space formerly occupied by Nikkita, Press 200 (which moved to State Street) and for a very brief moment, Strada.
The restaurant bills itself as French Louisiana cuisine – with an emphasis on vodka and oysters.
Happy hour is from 4-7 pm daily, with select martinis $6 (regularly $12), and $1 oysters. We tried the Berry martini with freshly muddled blueberries and blackberry vodka, and the skinny girl martini with cucumbers – called “Summer in your Mouth” that elicited a number of off-color comments by all of us, and tasted of artificial sweetener. I guess there’s a trade off there between calories and taste. Don’t tell Bethenny Frankel I shared hat though!
Not being big oyster fans, we skipped the oyster part of the menu and perused the extensive vodka list that’s broken down by country. Word to the wise, I recommend asking for prices before ordering, as the menu only has brand names of vodka listed, not cost. Their well vodka for $7 – vodka and club soda – is Wodka Vodka, a brand that has received high marks in reviews (including here on Bite of the Best). You can easily pick a brand that is $1, and upwards to about $25. Yep, $25 for something usually made from potatoes!
The interior has been completely remodeled and is a bit eclectic; comfy couches, low and high tables, flower vases, swaths of curtains decorating the front window that now has comfy bench seating; black and white wallpaper, empty glass decanter bottles on display and an organ in the middle of the bar area, used some customers
Our waitress Emily was very friendly and helpful, as was Adam the bartender and the volume of unusual mix of songs from Led Zeppelin to Johnny Cash was kept at a nice level so we conversation was easy.
We ordered a few appetizers ($8-$11) – and were very happy with our choices: shoestring onion rings; spicy calamari with peppers, boneless chicken tenders with a Louisiana bourbon sauce and an andouille sausage with kale and bacon that was, in “award winning.” Oddly, although the appetizers were served on china, the dipping sauces were in small plastic cups. Ceramic or glass may have been a better fit with the atmosphere. Since they’ve just opened, this may be a temporary fix until the rest of their china comes in.
The evening’s surprise was one of the girls announcing her engagement, so we went ahead and ordered not only a couple of bottles of a Ruffino prosecco for $30 a bottle, but dessert. Junior’s red velvet cheesecake was very moist, and the beignets warm with sprinkled confectionery sugar and fresh blueberries. Excellent.
Special Correspondent Robbin Seipold
The Naked Oyster Cocktail Eatery
200 Crown St.