Oysters Rockefeller at MacKelvie’s Restaurant in Halifax
have visited MacKelvie’s Restaurant in downtown Halifax on a few occasions. It has nice premises just up from the waterfront and the food is generally decent. On my last visit, I went for the Boiled Lobster, but I bean with the ‘Oysters Rockefeller’ you see pictured above. They actually turned out to be pretty decent, but any resemblance to the Classic form was purely coincidental
For those unfamiliar, Oysters Rockefeller was created in New Orleans just over 130 years ago, and the ingredients of the original, long kept secret, are still much debated today. Essentially, the general form of the dish is Oysters on the half-shell, with a sauce of butter, parsley and other green herbs, and topped with bread crumbs before being baked or broiled. Many modern renditions use spinach, and also include bits of bacon.
At MacKelvie’s, the menu described the Oysters Rockefeller as being served with Spinach and Bacon, and I anticipated them with some pleasure. The moment they arrived, however, it was apparent that there had been a major deviation from the classic form in that the topping was melted cheese rather than breadcrumbs. This was strike one against the ‘Rockefellerishness’ of the dish.
On tasting the first, it was clear that there was also a significant deviation from the menu description. There were a few flecks of green here and there, which I believe to have been Parsley, but of the promised Spinach, there was no sign whatsoever. There was a slight smokiness to the overall taste, suggesting a passing acquaintance with bacon in some way, but there was no actual bacon apparent anywhere.
Anyway, having said all that, the Oysters Rockefeller at MacKelvie’s turned out to be very nicely cooked and very tasty. The Oysters were whole, rather than chopped (which I much prefer), and they were delicately seasoned and nicely cooked. The cheese, while definitely not standard, was IMHO preferable to breadcrumbs for a pleasurable topping. Still, while I would have been proud of this dish if it cam from my kitchen, Oysters Rockefeller it most definitely was not.