We have to say, before this phenomenon we hadn't really been into oysters, but these restaurants are doing their part at convincing us that oysters are delicious and may end up becoming the next big thing in Pittsburgh.
A Happy Hour… of Oysters!
We timed our visit to Muddy Waters with their happy hour specials, which run from Tuesday through Friday from 4:30-6:30 PM and 9-11 PM, as well as on Saturdays from 11 AM-1 PM. Although there are a few drink specials like $20 off bottles of champagne, the best happy hour deals are the oyster specials: $1 featured east coast oysters, and $2 featured west coast oysters.
The drink menu here includes a decent wine list, a pretty extensive cava/champagne list, craft cocktails, and cans of beer (no drafts). We tried a few craft cocktails but some of them didn't end up seeming quite worth the $10 price point.
The French Quarter Fizz was a mix of vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon, St. Germain, Luxardo, and cava, but it was a bit watery and mostly tasted like lemon and pomegranate juices. The Louisiana Moon fared a bit better with an interesting mix of mezcal, a chile liqueur, creme yvette, and lemon that was smokey and spicy.
We got to work perusing the raw bar menu which is more than just oysters; there's also shrimp cocktail, crab claws, lobster tails, and tuna poke for anyone who just isn't a fan of oysters. If you want to try oysters but are a little intimidated at the options, there are tasting notes for each of the oyster types, and the servers are pretty adept at explaining the nuances.
The happy hour specials reeled us in, though- instead of $3-4 per oyster, the featured oysters are just $1-2. Just be aware that you have to order in multiples of six.
We tried both the east coast and west coast specials. At first our palates took some getting acclimated to the brininess and the saltiness, but after adding some lemon juice and hot sauce we thoroughly enjoyed each bite.
Following Up with a Large Seafood Menu
But we were just getting started- Muddy Waters has a hot food menu as well. The focus is on seafood and Cajun style food: po' boys, seafood gumbo, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and hush puppies are just some of the items on the menu. If you're not into seafood, there are a few options as well like hot chicken, steak and frites, and a burger.
The seafood gumbo was a good choice with its mix of shrimp, crawfish, catfish, oysters, and sausage, although some of the seafood bites were a bit chewy. The overall flavor was pure Cajun, though, complete with tons of okra.
We also tried the classic po' boy with the “peacemaker” option- a mix of fried shrimp and fried oysters (you can also get just one or the other). The shrimp was perfection and definitely elevated this sandwich as it was lightly fried and super plump and juicy. The iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickles, and spicy mayo were just fine, but the shrimp was certainly the star.
Muddy Waters does take reservations which can be helpful as it gets packed during happy hour. One other thing to note is the noise level- it's incredibly loud, and everyone in our party commented on this. So just don't come here expecting a quiet, intimate evening with your significant other.
Although the cocktails and entrees on our visit were somewhat hit or miss, the happy hour oyster specials at Muddy Waters can't be beat.
Muddy Waters Oyster Bar is located at 130 S Highland Avenue in East Liberty.
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