Monday, 5 January 2015

Birthday 2015: Luke's Oyster Bar and Chophouse

    How time flies. It's a new year and I'm a year older. In keeping with our tradition, the wife took me out for birthday dinner. Several people asked us where we were going. So to satisfy you curious souls, here it is.
Luke's Oyster Bar and Chophouse
    Luke's Oyster Bar and Chophouse is the quintessential American oyster bar, complete with Elvis-era music blaring in the background. Nevertheless, it makes for a cosy and somewhat romantic setting with its dimmed lights. Although the prices don't allow us to make Luke's a staple, the oysters are worth every cent. The rest of the meal was excellent too. So what makes Luke's so special?
     The main attraction is, of course, the oysters. We had a mixture of different oysters. Luke's serve only the freshest. Those that were available for the day included Katama Bay, Matunuck, Onset and Riptide oysters. I'm no oyster connoisseur, but I could really taste the difference in the variety. They ranged from the really briny to the ones with a tinge of salt; from "crisp" ones to those that melt in your mouth. I decided that I most preferred Riptide, which had medium saltiness, whereas the wifey liked Onset, which was least salty. What made the oysters taste even better was the accompanying champagne mignonette. Imagine a hint of champagne, ever so slightly bitter, coupled with the brine and flavour of fresh oysters, melting in your mouth - heavenly. I've had really good oysters, but these were by far the best. It is no wonder that Luke's can confidently assure it's guests that the oysters are "the very best oysters the world has to offer".
    Ever since we had them in Washington a few years ago, the wifey has been on the lookout for good crab cakes. We tried some in an establishment along One Fullerton but those were disappointing. I never expected to come across good crab cakes in Singapore. Boy, was I wrong. True to it's American diner roots, Luke's crab cakes didn't disappoint. It had just enough coating to give it a nice crunch and you can literally feel, taste, and see the fibers of crabmeat. One was enough for the wifey though. And I gladly finished the other portion for her. Excellent choice if you are looking for something to share.
Luke's Bone-in Tenderloin Au Poivre
    For my main course, I chose the Bone-in Tenderloin, medium done. I ordered an extra "half a lobster tail"(that's the white "garnish" on top of the steak). The lobster was good but the steak is the one that deserves more comment. It came encrusted with peppercorn and surrounded by mustard cognac jus. When you cut into the meat, you'll realize how very tender it is. The softness of the meat is perfectly contrasted with the crunchiness of the peppercorn crust. Add the mustard cognac jus and you'll have a wonderful culinary explosion of taste on your palate. Although the wifey would disagree, I know of only two other establishments in Singapore that serve such delectable tenderloin. This is unique for it's peppery crust (I love it) and special gravy. Simply satisfying.
Grandma's Apple Pie
    The coup de grace was Luke's "Grandma's Apple Pie". My grandmother was an excellent cook, but she never made apple pie. If she did, I bet this would have been as good as hers. The soft pastry at the bottom had much cinnamon mixed in. It sandwiches a scoop of maple pecan ice-cream, drizzled with maple syrup, together with thin slices of granny smith. I'm no fan of apple pie, but I'll be a willing convert because of this. It sounds really sweet, however, we found this not so. The wifey, who doesn't like really sweet foods, loved it. The softness of the warm pastry, apple and cinnamon fillings paired excellently with the granny smith. It is hard to find words to describe the welcomed contrast of moist goodness and apple crunch. The cool sweetness of the ice-cream wraps around your tongue, providing a velvety blanket to the rest of the desert. It was indeed a fitting finish to a simple yet unforgettable culinary experience. Thanks wifey.

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