Introducing... Eat: An Oyster Bar

By Camas Davis May 19, 2009 Published in the February 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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The Oyster po’boy with fries at Eat

Image: Kim Nguyen

Before diners venture into the new North Portland oyster bar Eat, there’s something they should know: this is not a glitzy oyster bar. In fact, between the big-screen TV broadcasting the latest game—any game—and the stylings of the Steve Miller Band blasting from the speakers, you may wonder if you’ve wandered into a college sports bar. And in a way, you have. But it’s the kind of sports bar that has a $6 “Monday Night Football, Beer, and Red Beans and Rice” special, as well as an impressive selection of oysters, from kumamotos to Willapa Bays (although your server may or may not be able to expound on the flavor profile of either, and the bivalves will likely be served in an oh-so-rustic Miller High Life blue tin with handles).

Even if you don’t think you’re the sort to cheer on the home team over beer, this N Williams Avenue eatery serves up just enough of the right food, drink, and ambience to satisfy anyone. Who would dare pass up fried pickle chips? The universal appeal of an oyster or catfish po’ boy (though the bread isn’t quite crusty enough for our taste) is also hard to deny. And while the bartender sometimes squeezes a bit too much lemon juice into Eat’s whiskey smash, he makes the best New Orleans gin fizz in town.

Plus, after a couple of Gibeaus (a gin-and-tonic oyster shooter) and a bowl of spot-on jambalaya (really, it’s some of the most masterful we’ve tasted ’round these parts), we’re ready to become a regular fixture at this everyman oyster bar. Closed Tue.