|Sucking down a platter of Stingrays with a side of blue crabs|
Croxton Cousins (Travis and Ryan) whose simple mission of "putting the Chesapeake Bay oyster back on the map" is without a doubt coming to full-on fruition. Whether these briny goodies are being featured on CNN or being served up by famed Chef, Eric Ripert at DC's West End Bistro, one thing's for certain, RROC's Stingrays, Olde Salts and Barcats are turning up all over the map.
Facebook page), the tasting room features a small yet mighty menu of oysters (steamed or raw) with a lovely trio of homemade sauces designed by Executive Chef Pete Woods. Piquant tomatillo, zesty homemade cocktail and a subtle classic mignonette are served up alongside Rappahannock River's famous Olde Salts, Stingrays and signature Rappahannock oysters ($15 per dozen or $1.50 each). Clams are $10 a dozen and $1.00 each respectively.
|Chef Woods at work in the"kitchen"|
Stand and suck down your oysters at one of the outdoor oyster tables or grab one of several outdoor picnic tables overlooking the water. No worries if it's too cold, just pull up a chair at the cozy bar inside. Also, word is that Chef Woods plans to add outdoor heaters to help stave off those chilly Rappahannock breezes.
This is relaxed dining at its finest, so don't come here if you're in a hurry. Place your order inside, grab a table and enjoy the view because it is truly spectacular, especially on a sunny fall afternoon.
Everything is made to order and when your oysters arrive, you'll find that they are truly worth the wait. Shucked to perfection with plenty of remaining liquor, like the entire Merroir experience, they are meant to be savored slowly.
When it's time to head home, if you've still got a hankering for a few more Stingrays, you can always get a couple dozen to go along with a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer.
According Merroir's Facebook page, future events will include live music from time-to-time, and there was more than one mention of a raucous post Reedville Oyster Roast after-party happening in November.
So now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, let me offer a few final words of wisdom before you make the hour and half drive to this secret spot. I can't reiterate enough that this is very casual dining, so put aside any preconceived notions you might have about a sit-down restaurant. It's a tasting room with food.
Instead, put on a pair of jeans, a warm jacket and bring your oyster appetite. Be prepared to chill out with the locals and take in the water view. There is only one chef (and he's a super nice, hardworking guy), no actual kitchen per se, and when we were there, only one server for a whole host of tables both inside and out. Remember these tidbits and we'll all get along just fine.
most excellent video oyster primer by The Modern Gentleman himself, Jason Tesauro, featuring Merroir with interviews, tasting notes and harvest updates.
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