Oyster man Robert Pendergast of Charlottetown, familiar to many in Montreal after shucker stints at Joe Beef, Au Pied de Cochon and others, will be at Nouveau Palais a week from today for Huitre Alors.
The event will feature the madcap antics of the Prince County native and, yes, some 800 choice P.E.I. bivalves. Chef Gita Seaton and co. will helm the kitchen as usual.
This will not be Pendergast's first time at Nouveau Palais, of course. The shucker slash fiddler is a regular at the restaurant's Oyster Harvest and Hallow-oyster-ween.
We had Seaton set the scene for us.
I've known [Robert] since 2002 when I was sous chef for Mehdi [Brunet-Benkritly] at Reservoir. We've been doing oyster parties at New Palace twice a year (always on Halloween which is a total debauch and once in January to keep things lively) since I opened. He has been supporting me my whole life essentially. He has a good heart and lots to say.
What is great about doing these events is that we don't offer oysters on our regular menu, which makes it really special for people. We make sure we are giving the freshest product barely out of the water for one night only.
Clients get crazy over it. People come and plow through dozens and dozens. We have families from the 'hood that arrive earlier in the evening, sit their kids at tables across the way for mac and cheese while they hang out drinking and eating oysters. At 6:00 p.m. we look like the Chuck E. Cheese's of Mile End, which we love. The night goes on and the crowd changes to diners of all ages; tables of twentysomethings next to tables of fortysomethings. It's a veritable rainbow of the decades. People are eating oysters and burgers or getting fancy and eating the steak or fish and by 1:00 a.m. it's a full blown party (we are open until 3:00 a.m.). We will have hot oysters, cold oysters and classic fixings. It's a freakin' oyster orgy over here.
Sounds like one helluva party. Huitre Alors will go down next Thursday, January 16. The event is first-come, first-served, save for tables of five or more.