**** SPRING, 2019: BOSS OYSTER IS CLOSED DUE TO HURRICANE DAMAGE ****
To bivalve-loving epicureans, the name Apalachicola is a siren song. Deep-cupped oysters, harvested from the fresh/saltwater mix where the Apalachicola River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, are unique for buttery meatiness that sparkles raw, baked, broiled, or fried. In the town of Apalachicola, a great place to savor the bounty is the suitably named Boss Oyster. While the natural harvest has suffered in recent years due to a dearth of freshwater flow, oyster season remains a big deal in this restaurant, which boasts that it owns the only refrigerated oyster boats in the state. So, even if they’re not from right here, you can be sure they’re fresh. The raw ones I ate in the fall at the beginning of oyster season were spectacularly bright and briny. I ordered a half dozen, but was given eight because three were on the small side.
When the big oysters get fried, each is a great mouthful that is lusciousness incarnate, enveloped in a thick, spicy coat of gold. They’re also available steamed or baked, or gilded with Thai chili, wasabi and ginger, or flying fish roe. If you are allergic to oysters, we recommend “Grand Grits” – cheese grits topped with cream sauce, tasso ham, and shrimp so juicy that they are a revelation for those of us accustomed to wooden, pale-flavored ones. The grits themselves are creamy, rich, buttery, and mild, a fine platform for the wonderful shrimp.
Aside from its totally local menu, Boss Oyster is notable for its setting at the water’s edge with tables that provide a great view as well as the briny scent of Gulf waters. The deck is outfitted with signs warning, “Please do not feed the birds”; and despite wooden scarecrow owls perched along the rail, if you sit at an al fresco picnic table, you can expect an audience of gulls perched on nearby pilings.