Have you checked the price of oysters lately? I’ve seen ‘em by the dozen for $28, $32, $36 and even higher in the fancy restaurants. Those babies are top of the line, but come on. For about three years, P.J. Clarke’s in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace had the antidote, with a daily $1-oyster happy hour that was the bomb. But since Clarke’s closed late last year, oyster fans have been looking for the next best thing. Though not quite on the same level, there are a few pretty good oyster plays around.
The lowest price on raw oysters continues to be at South Point’s Big Sur Oyster Bar, where oysters and clams are half-price from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. These are large Louisiana oysters served with lemon, cocktail sauce, and horseradish; after discount, they’re $10.50 per dozen, or 88 cents apiece.
Next best for price is a just-introduced happy hour at a new restaurant called District One Kitchen & Bar (3400 S. Jones Blvd.). The happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday though Friday and oysters are $1 apiece. They come with cocktail sauce and lime only (no fancy setups) and they’re usually the smaller but high-quality blue points or Kumamotos. This happy hour has several other good choices, like serrano pepper wings and Vietnamese beef carpaccio, plus it’s a pretty happening spot.
A recent price increase to $14 per dozen makes it $1.17 apiece during happy hour at Rhythm Kitchen (6435 S. Decatur Blvd.), which runs 4-6:30 p.m. seven days a week and all night on Mondays. These are also the big Louisianans, and they also come charbroiled or baked Rockefeller-style if you prefer. Rhythm Kitchen is the best play if you want some liquid accompaniment—wine by the glass is half price, Red Stripe in the bottle is $3, and a draft PBR is $2.
Fanciest (and most expensive) of all is the happy hour at Comme Ça at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. daily. Comme Ça serves kusshis from the Canadian Pacific, with horseradish and a mignonette (no cocktail sauce here unless you ask) for $2 each. These smaller oysters are also considered higher quality, but it ultimately comes down to your preference. In addition, Comme Ça is running an event called Brasserie, Burgers and Oysters during happy hour on Wednesdays through June 30, with a selection of oysters shucked tableside for $1.25 each.
The best deal of all if you’re going for volume is to target a seafood buffet that serves fresh oysters, but that doesn’t carry the same cachet as having them served to you with the setups.
And for a variation on the theme for those who don’t do oysters or raw, Home Plate (4785 Blue Diamond Rd.) does Vegas’ best fried clam baskets, served with cocktail and tartar sauce, for $8.99.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.