Hot Spot: DeMun Oyster Bar
An intimate new bar and restaurant is a rare find in St. Louis.
Over the last year, our food scene has been slowly evolving. Restaurateurs are shifting their focus to smaller, well-crafted menus and paying more attention to the growing cocktail-centric culture. One such example is the new DeMun Oyster Bar. With a complex cocktail menu that calls for egg whites and baked apple bitters and a focused
menu, the new spot is a step toward the new trend in dining.
DeMun Oyster Bar is intimate and easy, but creating such a spot is a strength of owner Alan Richman, whose Sasha’s Wine Bar and Sasha’s on Shaw are established neighborhood haunts. His new venture is a natural fit for the quiet block of DeMun. The most notable feature of the 40-seat space is the shucking station behind the main semi-circle bar, where a seat there guarantees a front row ticket to watch the mixologist, most likely bar manager Chad George at work, but you’ll also catch the shucker in action as he prepares the flown-in-daily oysters.
Much thought has been put into both the wine and cocktail menus, with whites dominating the wine list and eight carefully constructed specialty cocktails. Local mixologist TJ Vytlacil makes a cameo on the menu with a Silver and Sand that blends ginger and lemon tea infused scotch with Cherry Heerubg liqueur, Lillet Rouge, lemon bitters and egg whites. And the Lynn’s Kiss cocktail played on the bar’s Parisian theme with apple brandy, Green Chartreuse, Benedictine and baked apple bitters.
While I’d insist that a meal at DeMun Oyster Bar must include an order of oysters, there are a few dishes for those with any aversions—like pan-seared diver scallops, served sautéed and slightly raw in the center with a delicate citrus soy sauce-like jus. Other Japanese influences make appearances in the eight-ounce grilled tenderloin, served in a mushroom soy and ginger sauce.
But oysters here are a must; they’re flown in daily from all over—mostly Pacific Northwest varieties, and posted daily. Standout varieties included a very smooth Kumomoto and a Fanny Bay and meaty Sister Point which are slightly more briny but still delicious. Sample several with the oyster combination platter, which includes your choice of three oyster varieties: on the half shell, fried and grilled. I’d suggest ordering a side of the pomme frites, a generous portion served lightly fried and salted, to accompany any dish. Maybe it’s the aphrodisiacal nature of oysters—but it’s easy to fall instantly for this bright, new spot.
DeMun Oyster Bar’s steamed clams and mssels in a tomato sauce
Pan-seared scallops with a lightly spiced ponzu sauce and orange zest.
Photo credit: Photos by Jennifer Silverberg