Foodie on the Half Shell: Muddy Waters Oyster Bar review

I have always loved oysters and have always made it quite clear that, if I choose to spend the rest of my life with someone, a qualifier is that they must enjoy drinking martinis and slurping down oysters with me.

I always buy them from Whole Foods and Wholley’s to take home to my parents for the weekend. We shuck them ourselves, but it’s never the same as it is when you get them served at a restaurant with the perfectly cut lemons and shaved ice bed they are laying on. I eat oysters so often that buying an ice shaver might be a good investment.

So, when it was announced that Muddy Waters Oyster Bar was opening right in East Liberty, I was skied and knew it would be the perfect place to take my entire family for a night out on the town.

Unfortunately, I think this restaurant may have had no warm up time and got booked almost immediately after they opened. The service was some of the worst I have had in a while, but the food was delicious, which if any of you know IS THE WORST PREDICAMENT IN THE WORLD.

Muddy Waters is a small restaurant and bar with a modern take on southern rock and roll décor. I came with six adults and two kids, and it wasn’t the worst environment for kids, actually. They were the only children there, but the energy was high, and it was pretty loud so the kid’s screams and overall noise was not a worry at all.

The restaurant itself though has slow service; so if you are trying to get out in a timely manner with your whole family, then this isn’t the place for you. What seemed like the real glaring problem was the fact that all of the wait staff was red eyed, squinty, and a little out of it. I have no clue what the issue could have been…were they sick? No, but really, I get it. I have worked in the restaurant industry all throughout high school and some of college. I understand that it’s stressful and that pot can be a normal part of that lifestyle, but leave it for after hours, please, because I’ve been staring at my empty wine glass for about 30 minutes now.

Their oyster selection was on point with options from both the East Coast and the West Coast. We enjoy West Coast oysters more because they are usually saltier and smaller rather than sweet and really big. The oysters were clean and fresh and presented appropriately with all the necessary accouterments. The menu itself is fun and has something for everyone. Dishes like shrimp and grits, oyster po’boys, and gumbo will feed your craving for deep southern food.

Everything was tasty. I had the shrimp and grits that came with robust prawns with their heads still attached. The grits were creamy and cheesy and all of it came together with a sweet and salty red onion marmalade sauce. Another star was their Crab Boil Reuben which came stacked with pastrami that seemed to be flash boiled in a crab bake and topped with the usual suspects: pickles, sauerkraut, and remoulade.

Unfortunately, not everyone at the table got to eat. My sister ordered their steak and frites, but the order was never given to the chefs in the back and instead of getting her what she ordered ASAP, they said they could make her something else instead if she wanted. Let me just say, if you forget someone’s order, you don’t tell them and make them deal with it. You deal with it and get them the food that they originally ordered in ten minutes or less. You put everything else to the side to get that dish out, and then you give it to them for free and offer a free round of drinks. My sister had to leave before she got any food because the kids were getting tired and it had been about two hours already. They took off her substitute meal that she got to go, but that was it. We didn’t see our waiter for about ten minutes after the chef told my sister he never got that order. I lost my appetite because the entire situation was dealt with terribly and I regret taking my family there.

Muddy Waters has delicious food and a great location, so they will probably do well for a while at least. Don’t go there expecting good service, though. I researched more and saw that other reviewers said the same thing about the slow service.

If you wish to go there, go there with only a couple people and expect to sit for a while. Sitting at the bar may be the best bet if you want your drinks sooner than later as well. I hope that they either all have a serious conversation about fixing their management, or they purge their staff and get better equipped workers. I hope that this restaurant thrives eventually, but I will not be back until I hear that they have made some big changes.

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