True Chesapeake Oyster
3300 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore
To those not repulsed by the gelatinous loveliness of a raw oyster, Baltimore now has a new happy hour destination for you to try. True Chesapeake Oyster, the latest addition to Clipper Mill, has taken over one of the area’s historic mills and turned it into a fabulous, spacious den of unique seafood dishes. The layout is perfect for separating the louder, more boisterous gatherings from those who are looking for a quiet, intimate dinner. The extensive drink list was as long as the president’s Twitter feed, having at least a few options for everyone. Watching the shuckers hard at work makes me think this should be an Olympic sport.
The creative menu primarily caters to seafood lovers looking for something different. But there are options for carnivores and veggie-vores alike. The Mushroom Toast had a nice balance of earthy flavor, horseradish, and tarragon. The Roasted Butternut Squash had a mild flavor and an almost steak-like texture. I would have preferred it to be roasted longer to produce a more tender bite. But I was mainly there for strong drinks and the raw little globs of alien babies. The Duck Fat Roasted Monkfish with accoutrements was a more impressive dish with perfectly meaty fish that delicately fell away from the bone, leaving a subtly sweet flavor in your mouth.
The raw oyster selection includes several varieties of oysters from along the Chesapeake Bay. Included are Skinny Dippers and Huckleberries, oysters harvested from their own oyster farm in southern Maryland. Both are slightly smaller than the typical bay oyster yet still pleasantly plump with a hint of a buttery texture.
If you only visit for the drinks and oysters, the bar has a few small bites such as Clam Dip and Smoked Bluefish Pate, each with a rich taste of the sea, even if slightly more on the fishy side. The flavor of the Autumn Hummus popped with its toasted pumpkin seeds. The fish stick was exactly that. One small fish stick. You will need to order five.
The happy hour specials are a definite win that will keep me coming back. Start with a cocktail and end with a few dozen oysters!
- Michael Ritmiller is a Baltimore native and foodie whose professional career spans across a variety of research & development initiatives in addition to serving local non-profits that benefit the community. An avid believer in supporting small restauranteurs, Michael began writing for Baltimore OUTloud in 2018 with the intent of identifying who offers the “best of” dishes around town.