J’s Oyster Bar is a local institution in Portland and is authentic and Portland as it comes. The J stands for the restaurant’s owner Janice “J” Noyes and J’s Oyster is the epitome of a locally owned Maine seafood joint.
The restaurant is right off the water and has simple leather bar seating, wood walling and is filled with a few tourists, businessmen eating chowder and the remainder seem like regulars.
The seafood focused menu is very straight forward and J’s Oyster has specific rules including no reservations. They also do not accommodate special orders or make substitutions. What you see is what you get. The menu is filled with salads, sandwiches and seafood based soups.
After an unbelievable Lobster Roll from Island Creek Oyster Bar, I wanted to try J’s rendition. The red colored lobster place mat was very informative and explained the steps on how to eat a lobster.
I really enjoyed an order of Half Dozen Raw oysters for $6.50. The oysters were served with lemon, cocktail sauce, horseradish and oyster crackers. The oysters were fresh, briney and exactly what I wanted. The oyster were the best aspect of our meal.
The Haddock filet sandwich was just ok according to my dining companion. The haddock itself was well cooked, but seemed under seasoned. It was was served with chips and a pickle ($8.50) and we were not able to substitute in a salad or french fries. J’s Oyster does not have fires. My friend and I both wished there were homemade tartar sauce versus prepackaged.
J’s Oysters lobster roll was filled with chunks of lobster on a bed of lettuce and a buttered hot dog bun ($12.50). The roll was served with with chips and a pickle and not dressed in mayo.
I can not decide if I like the ability to control the amount of mayonnaise in my lobster roll or if I wanted the restaurant to already add the perfect amount. We have made our own lobster rolls at home, and prefer ours (BMH’s lobster roll).
Next time, I would try the clam chowder, scallops with lemon and dill and the lobster pernod.