York River Oyster Company promises “A shell of a good time!
by Madison White Franks
The salty air, the gorgeous scenery, the aroma of oysters is what you will experience when you make the trip to York River Oyster Company for a delightful meal. Nestled down a winding road through a neighborhood, it is a perfect place to go to enjoy food and beautiful scenes the York River has to offer.
My husband, Taylor, and I decided to have a date night at York River Oyster Company, and the experience was nothing short of amazing. I had made a reservation for 7:30 p.m., but we got there early so we walked around the marina and dreamed of one day owning a boat. We even got a glance in the distance of one of the schooner ships of Historic Yorktown, Alliance or Serenity, taking an evening cruise.
York River Oyster Company opened in Spring 2014 and has become a favorite among many visitors and residents of Gloucester County.
As soon as we entered, we were escorted to a table for two by the window looking out at the York River and the marina where gorgeous yachts were docked.
Our waitress, Brannan, came shortly after we were seated and asked what we would like to drink. At first I went to my default and said, water with lemon, but then I glanced at the drink menu and saw the YROCCrush, which had orange vodka, triple sec, orange and cranberry juice served over rocks, and I immediately said I wanted that with the water. The YROC Crush was very good and you could barely tell there was alcohol in it. Taylor ordered a Michelob Ultra, his “go to beer.”
Before arriving, I had decided that I needed to try the oysters seeing as that is their specialty and namesake. So as an appetizer we ordered charred oysters that Brannan indicated were from Big Island in Gloucester Point. YROC offers oysters in a variety of styles—raw, steamed, fried, and charred.
When our oyster plate arrived, there were a dozen oysters on a bed of greens with lemons and cherry tomatoes scattered throughout. Although not a fan of oysters, I must say they were great. I enjoyed squeezing the lemon on the oysters more than eating them straight.
When we were talking about what to order as an entree, I asked Brannan what YROC was known for and she informed me that the executive chef, Ryan Norris, had recently been on the Hampton Roads Show in April showing how the crabcakes are made, so this made my decision easy and I ordered the crabcake with french fries. The YROC menu says the jumbo lump crabcake sandwich offers a pan-seared jumbo lump crabcake served with wasabi-cucumber slaw on a toasted bun with YROC Tartar Sauce.
Taylor decided to order the jumbo scallops and spicy pork belly entree, a plate of seared sea scallops and hot honey glazed pork belly served with a roasted corn relish and garlic mashed potatoes. I am so glad he decided to order this because it was my second choice. Of course my plan was to share plates.
As we waited for our food, Brannan brought out some homemade old bay potato chips with chipotle ranch dipping sauce and they were scrumptious. Just enough seasoning and spice to make it different from other homemade chips.
“If it was warmer, sitting out on the deck is awesome and such a different atmosphere. Friday and Saturday nights we have live music and it’s like a huge party. I love it,” said Brannan.
When the food arrived, the presentation was amazing and the taste even better. As soon as I tasted the crabcake, my immediate thought was that this was the best crabcake I had ever tasted. It was flaky and red peppers added flavor.
Looking at Taylor’s plate, I was ready to taste test it, but his reaction was priceless. He is not a seafood person and when he tasted the scallops, he said they were good and he liked the pork belly even more. My reaction to Taylor’s plate was the same, it was very good and different.
I could feel myself getting full as I indulged the crabcake, but I knew I had to try dessert. Choices included cheesecake of the day; a chocolate-kahlua mousse with whipped cream, a stick of blueberries and a sprig of mint; and a key lime pie with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. We shared the chocolate mousse and it satisfied our sweet tooth. It melted on our tongues, a great choice for all chocoholics.
YROC offers a great amount of food and I will definitely be back to try the other dishes that I didn’t try this trip—especially the drunkened crab mac and cheese, or the crab and pesto pizza.
York River Oyster Company
8109 Yacht Haven Road
11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
Brunch, lunch and dinner
On the Menu:
68 menu items
Seafood, steaks and “culinary innovations”
Did you know?
They have indoor and outdoor seating, both with bar areas.
25 slips: By boat, contact the York River Yacht Haven Marina, 804-642-2150