Barren Island Oyster Company, affectionately referred to as BIO by adoring fans, has released a new oyster to accompany its namesake, Barren Island Oysters. World, meet the Ugly Oyster. Owner of BIO Tim Devine gets very excited when talking about the Uglies and I think it's because they go against the industry cookie-cutter standard of what an oyster should look like. This is very much in line with how Tim thinks. Knowing him personally, I can honestly say there is not a moment of the day when he is not trying something new on the farm in order to produce a better oyster. Right now he is working with incorporating ultraviolet rays in order to make oysters safer to eat without compromising flavor. Genius!
Ugly oysters will be harvested from Tim's water leases located around Barren Island which is located in Hoopers Island, MD. The area is very close to where the Barren Island Oysters are harvested, so the the flavor profiles are very similar. Ugly oysters are very balanced, with a buttery southern oyster sweetness, light traces of brine, and a tickle of mineral citrus that hints at limestone but goes no further. The reason they are called Ugly is due to their outward appearance. In today's oyster race where competitors manicure away trying to cultivate oysters that are identical in size and shape, Uglies take a page out of nature's playbook and offer a smorgasbord of different patterns, more akin to the natural order of things. Though there is a bit of shaping (the Uglies get tumbled three times in their lifespan) it is minimal when compared to other oysters, including Barren Islands. When ordering your Uglies you can expect a mishmash pattern on the plate and a delicious performance on your palate.
Black Restaurant Group (BRG) appreciates honest hard work and people dedicated to their craft. So we are excited to say that we are now offering Ugly Oysters as our official Happy Hour oyster selection at our BlackSalt, Blacks Bar, Pearl Dive and Republic locations. Happy Hour constitutes those few hours of the day when the headaches of long workdays dissolve in the gluttonous consumption of icy cold oysters and mistakes are washed away with delicious beverages, all at friendly prices. It's that time period that can really salvage a day or get a night started. So drop by any BRG establishment during Happy Hour and you will be sure to be greeted by a gracious smile, a cold beverage, and a heavenly, unique Ugly Oyster.