that’s some good sterilized oyster

Smouie Kablooie took a road trip down to Williams burg, VA this past weekend to see two friends get married at St. Bede’s on the William & Mary campus. Having both completed very hectic weeks, we decided to make a get away out of the trip, and left early Friday afternoon. We arrived with a strong craving for a good meal and asked the concierge for a recommendation. We were delighted at their suggestion.

Le Yaca is nestled among a group of small boutiques – a seemingly unlikely location for such a wonderful French restaurant – and one that would cause most to miss it if they hadn’t heard of it before. Everything we had was exceptional – from the french onion and cream of asparagus soups to the foie gras and seafood bouillabaisse. But the highlight of the meal was recommended by the owner…

"We have a wonderful appetizer this evening… sterilized oysters served raw or baked with garlic and butter."

No, these oysters were not sharing the company of hermaphrodite bass in the Potomac. They are the product of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center.

"Scientists use a combination of selective breeding and genetic research to help restore declining populations of ecologically and commercially important marine species, and to help the aquaculture industry meet humanity’s growing appetite for seafood. (They are) actively involved in research to evaluate the risks and benefits of using non-native species to help restore Virginia’s ailing oyster industry. Recent efforts have focused on the Asian oyster Crassostrea ariakensis. Experiments with small, sterilized populations of this oyster show that it grows faster and is more disease tolerant than the native oyster Crassostrea virginica—while tasting just as good."

Having enjoyed both these oysters raw and cooked – a dozen for less than $15 – I would absolutely agree with the owners assessment that these are some of the best you’ll ever have. Though not as salty as most of the oysters I’ve enjoyed in the past – there is a sweetness and a firmer texture to these that is absolutely delightful.

The leaves will be turning soon enough. You work hard all week. Why not go ahead and make the trip down to Williams burg for a wonderful dinner at Le Yaca – and maybe you too will have the chance to enjoy the sterilized oysters.

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