Chef Chris Parsons, formerly of Steel & Rye, is setting the course to bring coastal fare to downtown Boston with his latest venture, the Oyster Club, slated to open in Park Square in May. Parsons tapped his background as a fourth-generation fly fisherman when creating the menu, which will include New England classics, a lobster of the day and a bustling raw bar.
SHELL GAME: Chris Parsons’ Oyster Club will have plenty of bivalves when it opens in May.
“For me, the real connection with fishing and seafood are the experiences you have when you’re on the water,” Parsons says. “We’re trying to bring that feel to the restaurant, showing respect for the ocean and the sea.”
Opening in the Heritage on the Garden building in the space formerly occupied by Via Matta and Doretta Taverna and Raw Bar, the Oyster Club will feature a nautical interior created by Brookline-based firm Sousa Design Architects. The 190-seat dining room will boast a four-sided bar, banquettes with white piping and finished wood on the walls and ceiling, which Parsons describes as mimicking a sailboat. Floor-to-ceiling accordion-style windows will open during the warmer months to a patio with capacity for 70 guests.
Open daily for lunch and dinner, the kitchen will whip up appetizers such as black bass crudo served with avocado, charred orange and basil, as well as bigger bites, like pan-roasted scallops with applewood-smoked bacon, English peas, endive and poached tomato. The menu will be anchored by a raw bar proffering oysters and ceviches, along with warm dishes like oysters Rockefeller and chorizo-stuffed clams. Crisp whites and lighter reds that pair well with seafood will be the focus of the beverage program, in addition to takes on classic cocktails, like the Whey Cool Collins, made with an Irish milk gin distilled from whey, lemon juice and orange blossom syrup, and the Cant-a-loupe Chant Swizzle, mixing melon liqueur, absinthe and lemon and orange juice.
“I was definitely inspired by the classics,” Parsons says. “We are not focused on trying to create things that haven’t been created before, but instead doing things well—focus on the basics, good cooking and respect. Really highlight what people feel connected to with New England classics and seafood.”
The Oyster Club 79 Park Plaza, Boston