BestBizBites: This fresh Cherry Creek spot gets seafood right

Blue Island Seafood & Oyster Bar is a great place to take a client

BY CATHIE BECK

 

The Deets: Blue Island Seafood & Oyster Bar

Locale/Address: 2625 E. 2nd., Cherry Creek, Denver

Best Bites: Crab Cakes

Deals on Drinks: 3-6 p.m., $5 each: Moscow Mule, Cherry Creek Mule, Salty Dog & Gin & Tonic

Parking (1 – 4 – 1 is easy; 4 is hell): 3

http://www.blueislandoysterbar.com

www.facebook.com/blueislandoysterbar

Blue Island’s website describes it best: “Polished seafood restaurant featuring a raw bar, beer & craft cocktails in nautical surrounds.”

Be that as it may, this place is all “shiny & new” – tres Cherry Creek (you know what I mean) – lots of wood and metal in a long, sleek seafood joint where paddles hang from the ceiling and a gleaming white bar wraps a third of the restaurant space. Furthermore, there are more than enough bartends to ply you with artisan cocktails and some very nice wine.

As its name implies, the fare includes a raw bar with proprietary oysters flown in from the East Coast. I’ve visited both at dinner and at happy hour. I’d take any client here any time – the Blue Island No. 9 Oysters (4) and the Peel & Eat Shrimp with spicy mustard were as good as anything you’ll find in any land-locked city – fresh and ample.

I make it a habit to try every seafood restaurant’s crab cakes, which isn’t really a way to discern good seafood necessarily (you can hide a lot in a “cake”), but when crab cakes are made of 100 percent fresh crab meat, a Louie dressing and pickle salad, as these are, it’s heavenly, a bit of a break from the snow-filled streets, a reminder of what a fresh ocean breeze can offer.

But the secret sauce here is the happy hour. Get a $5 Gin & Tonic or a Salty Dog or a Cherry Creek Mule. Build your meal with some Haystack Fries ($4) and a Yellow Fin Ahi Tuna Poke ($7). The wait staff is swift and knowledgeable both at the tables (plenty of window/Cherry Creek views) and at the bar.

But sit at at the bar. This is where the neighborhood convenes and even if they do do all their shopping at Whole Paycheck, Neiman Marcus and Restoration Hardware, they’re still nice and friendly and everyone likes the vibe and shows it.

Street meters can be full most any time of the day, but there’s paid parking across the street at the Clayton Parking Structure. It’s $6 before 5 p.m.; $5 after 5 p.m.

If you live or work in Congress Park, Cheesman Park or Cherry Creek, take the stroll.

This one’s worth it. Blue Island Seafood & Oyster Bar invites you to have a great time the moment you walk through the door - and that’s a nice thing.