1516 Sansom Street
The Mink family started selling cooked fish to Philadelphia three generations ago with Kelly's on Mole Street. Urban renewal sent them off Mole Street and later onto Sansom Street as the Sansom Street Oyster House. Control was relinquished for a few unfortunate years. Now they are back as the Oyster House with Sam Mink running things. Behind the scenes, Chef Greg Ling, mucking a bit with the snapper soup but putting out what may be Philadelphia's best seafood.
An old friend is back. Classic Trenton OTC oyster crackers with a jar of horseradish. Can't think of a better way to pass time until the food begins to arrive.
The raw bar is the place to start - maybe with a half dozen Royal Miyagis, shown above. Another time I tried eastern Canadian European Flat's No.1 - As large across as a dollar bill and a flavor punch that would knock out Charlie the Tuna. On weekdays, during cocktail hour, there is a "buck a shuck" special.
Actually, the place to start is the bar. Katie Loeb does a killer Oyster House punch, her take on Philadelphia Fish House punch. Packs a wallop. Definitely not for the designated driver. Their Blonde Caesar, like a Bloody Mary but made with yellow heirloom tomato juice and clam juice, is a gentler cocktail option.
Where's the oyster stew? Had it my first day there. Haven't seen it since. Made with double cream and sautéed fennel. Best I've ever had.
Plenty of other good choices. Fried whole belly clams from Ipswich. Another Philadelphia classic - fried oysters and chicken salad.
Their lobster roll has good potential, but I refuse to order it until Chef Ling comes up with New England style hot dog buns. Maybe I'll BYO.