A good buck-a-shuck can start a passionate new taste obsession or offer seasoned bivalve lovers a cheap night out, but too often restauranteurs will sacrifice quality in a bid to make a profit on dollar oyster nights, and few go the extra mile to put the mollusks in the hands of trained shuckers, sending tables brutalized oyster meat full of bits of shell and grit. But there are still a few places in Toronto that really go the extra mile to ensure a buck-a-shuck provides a worthwhile night out enjoying this shelled delicacy on the cheap.
BESTELLEN | 972 College St.
Bestellen owner/chef Rob Rossi treats buck-a-shuck as a means to get asses in seats and keep them coming back, so on any given Wednesday (6pm to close) you’ll pay just a dollar for a premium oyster from Blue Points, Cook’s Cocktail, French Kiss, or Saltgrass Point.
HOPGOOD’S FOODLINER | 325 Roncesvalles Ave.
Geoff Hopgood’s Roncesvalles restaurant hosts a buck-a-shuck during dinner service every Monday night, and he heads to the airport every two weeks to stock up on fresh Sober Island Oyster Co bivalves just for the occasion.
BÖEHMER | 93 Ossington Ave.
Offering dollar oyster alongside a half-priced wine deal on Tuesdays from 5:30pm onwards, seasoned Toronto chef Paul Boehmer (Rosewater, Spoke Club, Ultra Supper Club) goes through 1000 oysters every buck-a-shuck, so he rents a trained shucker from local restaurant and wholesaler Oyster Boy to ensure quality keeps up with the demand.
PEARL DIVER | 100 Adelaide St. E
Pearl Diver takes this phenomenon to another level, demanding diners launch headlong into the shell and tilt back platters of 100 Fanny Bay and Malpeque oysters for 100 bucks every Thursday. Good for the next time you feel like reenacting Tweedledee and Tweedledum’s poem about the Walrus and the Carpenter, but it’s also completely acceptable to pool together and have at a pile with a few friends.
NOMÉ IZAKAYA | 4848 Yonge St.
Nomé typically carries Malpeque and Fanny Bay oysters from Scarborough seafood megamart Diana’s, and signature sauces give their dollar oyster Tuesdays and Wednesdays extra kick.
LA SOCIÉTÉ | 131 Bloor St. W Unit 211
The Parisian bistro experience at Yorkville’s La Société is surely more of a to-do, but Thursday buck-a-shucks (5pm until they sell out) lets diners enjoy the atmosphere without breaking the bank.
(Photo by Phil Roeder)