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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Seafood, Southern
Casual restaurant

Sun–Thu 11:30am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:30am–midnight

Features Date-friendly, live music, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted


Mississippi Ave. Area
3808 N. Williams Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 281-1222
EaT: An Oyster Bar
Slurp and sip your way to happiness at this charming, dedicated bar

This place gets wildly mixed reviews, but we don’t understand why. It’s a charming, sincere place that is dedicated to all things oyster (and Louisiana, it seems). And those things oyster are absolutely world-class. What’s not to love?

The space is casual and airy, with French-blue walls and some fleur-de-lis details that are more dear than pushy. It’s super laid-back, but this is no dingy shuck shack: it’s got clean lines, high ceilings, and large windows. You can sidle up to the white tile bar and eat oysters there, but few people do. Despite the neighborhood, the crowd here is slightly less hipsterish than at the nearby cafés and New Lompoc brewery. On a lazy Sunday, the sidewalk tables are just ideal. Service is inexplicably slow but friendly, too. You can see the passion for oysters that underlies the attitude of the place. Beware: closing times are more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule. Don’t cut it too close.

Fresh oysters are delivered several times per week, coming in mostly from the Pacific Northwest—Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia—and some from Prince Edward Island and thereabouts. Check the ever-changing chalkboard for what’s in. These are well chosen and shucked, leaving just about the purest, cleanest liquor you can slurp. Take advantage of Portland’s ostreacentric location here by eating fresher and cheaper oysters than almost anywhere else in the country.

If raw’s not for you, fried oysters have an ideal crisp-creamy textural counterpoint, with a lovely cornmeal crust; they remind you why fried oysters are one of the most delicious things in the world. They come served in a po’ boy, but on request, you can get them on their own for $2 a pop. Fried pickles are a bit disappointing, too salty and oily. Étouffées and gumbos are competent, but hardly the main event.

There’s a small draft selection, plus the Abita line, in honor of Louisiana. Wines are succinct and to the point, well chosen for oyster pairings, and decently priced. Of course, an oyster bar must have a good, spicy Bloody Mary, and this one is made from house-infused chili-spiked vodka. A competent Sazerac and other craft cocktails (Absinthe fetish alert) are made here, as well. Sometimes, EaT shows movies and games on TV—next time the Saints play, this is our place.

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