The “R” Rule. If you eat oysters, you’ve heard it before, and depending on who you ask, the rule either matters a lot or not at all.
If you’re not familiar, here it is: the “R” Rule refers to the months that it is safe to eat oysters, warning fans to only consume the seafood in months with the letter R, (September-April). Bud Millsaps, owner of Bud’s Seafood, says the rule doesn’t carry the same clout anymore. In fact, he maintains it’s safe to eat oysters year round because they are typically farmed in oyster beds in the ocean instead of collected wild. “They are available all the time just like mussels,” Bud says. If they are wild, be careful. Red tides taint the creatures, but it’s rare to find wild oysters on a menu.
If you ask Bud when the best time to eat oysters is he’ll tell you the winter months, specifically November through February. “They are different in the summer compared to in the winter,” Bud says. In the winter, “they are real plump and full.” Again, they are safe to consume anytime because oysters are commercially produced, but you’ll get better quality when it’s colder out, according to Bud.
When you open an oyster, the aroma is mild and slightly sweet, according to Bud, who has been serving oysters for 40 years. “If you open them up, you smell them, it’s like you smell the sea,” he explains. And if you haven’t tried an oyster before, the best approach is to go ahead and order up. There is no real comparison to the taste. “They just have their own flavor,” Bud says.
At Bud’s, oysters are served to order. Meaning when someone orders a batch, the crew shucks them on site using an oyster shucking tool—a small stubby stainless steel utensil—and serves them on a plate of ice with lemon, cocktail sauce, and horseradish. Never, he warns, use a regular knife to shuck an oyster.
At Bud’s Seafood Grille, Bluepoint oysters from the Chesapeake Bay area near New York are the specialty. It’s an all-around oyster, a classic that most can enjoy. On Thursdays, Bud’s offers an oyster special. You can order as many as you want from 4-7 PM for $2 each, or come in any other time and grab six for $16.50. Popularly, people enjoy oysters with beer and crackers or sourdough bread. If you want to get fancy, Bud will throw together Oysters Rockefeller on demand, complete with bleu cheese crumbles, fresh spinach, and garlic butter.
Bud’s Seafood Grille
314 Lincoln Ctr., Stockton