My original plan was to stay in Kinston and have dinner at King’s, home of the Pig in a Pup – a barbecue sandwich served in a giant hush puppy. After two large lunches, however, the prospect of a Pig in a Pup was not quite as appealing as it had been during the planning stage. So I bought some peaches, muscadines and scuppernongs and looked into dining options in Kinston.
I had heard good things about The Chef and the Farmer (upscale, locally sourced), but wasn’t in the mood for a full dinner. As it happens, the Chef and Farmer folks also run the Boiler Room Oyster Bar which, serendipitously, has $1 oysters on Tuesdays. (I am not one to quail at the absence of an R.) And as it happens, the Mother Earth Brewery is just down the street.
The Mother Earth Brewery Tap Room has startlingly elegant decor, more like a California cocktail lounge than a tap room. But their beer is good (I had an IPA) and I have had a beer in more unsettling surroundings.
The Boiler Room was very busy, especially for a Tuesday. I had a seat at the bar and a dozen locally sourced oysters (Harkers and I forget the other).
The Harkers were quite briny, which I like, and the others less so, which I also like. And the Boiler Room makes their own saltines, which are very good. As always, I just used a few drops of lemon juice on the oysters, and had some cocktail sauce on the saltines. The cocktail sauce could use more horseradish, in my perhaps eccentric opinion, but was good with some tabasco sauce. They also have Texas Pete, Sriracha and a fourth sauce.
The menu also included baked pimento cheese and sausage. I love pimento cheese and I love sausage. What could go wrong?
Lots. when served cold, pimento cheese is refreshing – not quite light, of course, but refreshing. When baked, it becomes a glob and melds with the sausage – it ends up sort of like a bad pizza topping. It was a disappointment but I heartily recommend the Boiler Room, even when it is not a Tuesday. Service is great and, as you would expect, friendly. You can have oysters every which way, boiled shrimp, po’ boys, burgers, and smoked fish. There were lots of customers and they all looked happy.