Dinner & A Movie
By Teri Bayus
When we first moved to Pismo Beach in 1998, we were struck by the simplistic beauty of the beachfront life and were pleasantly surprised that a big, “Jimmy Buffett and his Screaming Buffet,” franchise had not gobbled up all the beach real estate.
Since then, we have seen Pismo grow. Though a hotel frame now makes the sun set on Pomeroy 30-minutes earlier and a swanky bar is the first thing you see when you enter from the ocean, it is still the best beach in the world.
I tried not to like The Oyster Bar, with its spectacular lighting scene and astounding views, but I failed. I love this restaurant and everything there. Staff, food, view, atmosphere and that glorious crudo (raw fish) bar; I loved it so much, our first visit lasted 6 hours.
We came in hungry and in need of repair after a day of shooting, “Taste Buds.” Manager Dean greeted us with a feisty “Hello” and settled us into the bar area facing the ocean.
The wooden bar was a cool welcome spot and the bottle of Cotiere Rosé instantly began a wondrous journey. Gary started with the caramel basket, an eye-catching vessel made with laced caramel, filled with sea salt caramel ice cream, flambéed bananas, sliced peaches, topped with Grand Marnier and house whipped cream. He ate every drop and licked the bowl.
I started with a half dozen of my sweet treats, Kumamoto raw oysters. Served with a charred lemon, shaved horseradish, and a mignonette sauce, these little gems of the sea awoke my palette and delighted my senses.
We left and walked the boardwalk taking in the salt air and the sound of breaking waves. We returned with a renewed appetite and ready to explore. Sitting at the crudo bar and watching the culinary maestro create, was a nice added touch to enlighten our senses.
Our waitress, Madison, was a delight and so knowledgeable and honest about the wine. We chose a Blanc de Blanc to accompany the raw feast to come.
The oysters are delivered daily to The Oyster Loft and a menu on the wall tells you what is in, along with a sense of the taste and texture of these dignified mollusks. We choose Eastern oysters from Rhode Island that were large and creamy.
Gary added limes, Tabasco, and love to each one, as we slurped them down. Then we tried Grassy Bar Oysters from Morro Bay that were smaller, with a delicate finish. They were served with Hush Harbor rustic bread with an infused garlic olive oil that was a perfect pairing for our seashell feast.
We moved on the tuna poke tacos (they were listed as salmon on the menu, but I wanted tuna), fresh Ahi is stuffed into a wonton crisp and they added daikon noodles, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, eel sauce, and Sriracha. It was a symphony of flavors and textures.
Then we tried the albacore ceviche with freshly sliced and garlic encrusted albacore tuna, micro cucumber pico de gallo, and onion-fried aioli, sitting on a swirl of cilantro gazpacho. Bravo and amazing.
We chatted with chef Cody about what would be our next adventure and he suggested the tuna poke tower. This is a cylindrical fish feast with diced yellow fin tuna, avocado, cucumber noodles, miso mayo, cilantro oil, golden tempura flakes, red radish, and daikon sprouts resting on wonton chips. It was a delight and a must try for everyone.
Thinking there was no way to top this, we tried the scallop carpaccio with thinly sliced sashimi grade, Hokkaido scallops, shaved radish, daikon sprouts, garlic mousse, daikon, Fresno red pepper, red onion, and cilantro. It was subtle and so perfect, I nearly wept.
Having a bit of steam left in us, we had to try something from Chef Jared’s kitchen, so we split the Skuna Bay salmon, featuring seared Skuna Bay salmon, served with fingerling potatoes, roasted garden carrots, baby patty pan squash, fried broccolini, with a curry butter, and aged teriyaki glaze. It was outstanding.
We danced away to the sight of the setting moon on the pier, so happy and still in love with Pismo Beach and all that it offers.
The Oyster Loft is open 4-9 p.m. daily (weekends until 10). They are located at 101 Pomeroy Ave., Pismo Beach. Call them at (805) 295-5100.