This City Paper blurb about the new Sunday brunch buffet at the Woodlands mentions a "raw bar of local shrimp and crab claws," which got me thinking about raw bars. I've noticed on several occasions recently "raw bars" where little if anything is raw. Oysters on the halfshell: those are typically raw. But shrimp? Crab claws?
Another local restaurant I visited recently had only a single raw item (oysters, of course) on their "raw" bar but plenty of cooked ones, including shrimp cocktail, crab louis, and steamed snow crab legs.
"Shellfish bar" would be more descriptive, but in reality, are any things raw other than oysters served on a raw bar these day? Clams, perhaps, but you never see them raw in this town. Sushi, yes--but that never appears on a raw bar menu but on a separate sushi menu. So where did the "raw bar" term come from, anyway?
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