Weather in the San Francisco Bay Area has been great as we transition to summer. Typically, the best weather in the City itself starts during Indian summer in September, but not this year. To take advantage, we drove about an hour north to go hiking and stop at The Marshall Store near Pt. Reyes for some BBQ oysters. Listed as one of the best seafood restaurants in America by Travel + Leisure in 2012, the shack is in good company with other noted restaurants like Le Bernardin (New York), Uchi/Uchiko (Austin) and Mama’s Fish House (Maui).
With a history that started over 135 years originally as a train depot, it eventually became a general store and then a cafe where food is served. Owned and operated today by the same team that grows the delicious bi-valves at the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, it now operates primarily as an oyster bar and deli where shack-smoked meats are also available for purchase and consumption on-site. Beer and wine are available for purchase but cannot be consumed in the store or the deck; luckily, they set out long tables with chairs along the waterfront where alcohol can be consumed with their food.
Once beverages are purchased and orders are placed inside the store, the next thing to do is find an open space along the waterfront tables, propped on wine barrels (notice the smoking shack located the table end and the store).:
These tables offer a great view of serene Tomales Bay while dining under the direct hot sun:
We opted to start our lunch by sharing a self-served bowl of their excellent Boston-style creamy clam chowder topped with oyster crackers. Since it was hot, Scrimshaw Pilsners were the beverage of choice for the meal:
Food servers find you by loudly calling the name you provided during the ordering process. Oysters can be ordered raw or grilled topped with BBQ sauce, chorizo butter or Rockefeller-style with spinach and garlic. As we have done in the past, we came here for one thing in particular and that is the grilled BBQ oysters. Available in orders of six, we went with a dozen oysters accompanied by buttery garlic bread. The plump and meaty Tomales Bay oysters arrive in very hot shells:
They also offer sandwiches filled with meat smoked on the premises (choice of pulled pork, tri-tip or turkey). We opted for the grilled tri-tip made with salsa verde, lettuce, tomato, onions and a spicy aioli. The locally made artisan bread was crunchy and held the delicious sandwich together:
We try to get to The Marshall Store at least once a year. It is definitely worth the drive from the City, especially for the BBQ oysters. There are some great views, hiking and cheese and wine tasting available in the area to make the visit even more worthwhile. We always take the opportunity to stop for dinner somewhere in Marin on our way back to the City and with this visit, we decided to eat dinner at the Farm Shop, the subject of our next post.
Farm-Fresh Fare at FarmShop Marin (Jun. 21, 2013)