Run, don’t walk to find these Gigamoto oysters at Leon’s Oyster Shop
Before we left Charleston, the hubby and I went on a sort of frenetic restaurant binge. We looked at every meal as our Last Supper in Charleston, and therefore every meal had to be significant.
One of our choices, Leon’s Oyster Shop, proved to be just that.
Before I continue, though, I have a confession to make. Y’all know I love me some food. I can think about it, talk about it, and eat it just about anytime. But I have two really serious gaps when it comes to food knowledge: wine and oysters. With wine, I know that I generally like crisp whites (like Sauvignon Blanc) and lighter reds of the Pinot Noir persuasion. As for specifics of particular vintages and blends and Old World versus New World — well, I can’t really be bothered. I can’t be using my precious time and brain cells when my stomach is pushing me to just EAT ALREADY.
The same generally rings true of oysters. Whenever we order them, I always insist on a contrasting mix of briny versus sweet, and I generally like plumper oysters over thinner, weaker ones. Whenever they arrive at our table, however, the actual names and origins of the oysters really don’t affect me much. Basically, I just nod along as the server sweeps her hand and recites the types we’ve ordered, but honestly, I just want to chow down.
That all changed on our first visit to Leon’s.
On tap the day we visited were some local oysters and the Gigamoto oysters, which our server informed us were the “special” oysters of the night. I like specials, so we ordered a mix of the raw Gigamotos and the in-house char-grilled local oysters, which are grilled with a smattering of parsley, lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese. The Gigamotos, which I’d never had before (I know this only because of their flavor), were a total revelation to me. Creamy, succulent and bursting with sea flavor, I suddenly understood why one should care about knowing the names of different types of oysters: so that you can run outside, arms outstretched, and shout their name to the high heavens.
Char-grilled oysters seasoned with lemon, butter, parsley and Parmesan
Given my newfound and absolute devotion to Gigamotos, I had high expectations for the char-grilled local oysters, too. Lemon, butter, parsley, Parmesan and oysters? Yes, please. The oysters arrived with scaldingly hot shells and a bubbling crust of Parmesan, which made me so excited that I didn’t mind the first-degree burns I suffered from handling the oysters before they’d cooled down. However, while the flavors were outstanding, i was a little disappointed at how the Parmesan completely overpowered the delicate flavor of our local briny oysters. I love brine, but brine + Parmesan = salt explosion. Lesson learned.
Leon’s quickly proved to me that they totally live up to the other half of their sub-name, “Fine Poultry & Oysters.” There’s a lot of great fried chicken to be had in Charleston, but I have to say that Leon’s is at the top of my list right now. Crispy, slightly spicy and bursting with juicy chicken-ness on the inside, I could’ve easily tried to eat a whole fried chicken myself (I didn’t, and you should be proud of me for that).
The sides at Leon’s didn’t disappoint, either. Creamy, crusty, béchamel sauce-laden scalloped potatoes were a decadent but completely worth it accompaniment to our oysters, as was a root vegetable slaw. I never knew slaw could taste so good.
But let’s not forget the takeaway of this story, folks: gigamoto oysters. Gigamoto. Oysters.