Years ago, we stumbled into Benjamin’s Raw Bar late night after a rehearsal dinner and ordered, what they call, oysters rock-a-fella. This is Benjamin’s version of the 1899 recipe, more traditionally known as Oysters Rockefeller, created by Jules Alciatore, whose originally recipe went with him to his grave and remains a culinary secret to this day. Either way, Rock-a fella or Rockefeller…we love them!
Oysters Rockefeller typically indicates a broiled oyster smothered in a butter, cream and spinach sauce and then topped with melted cheese and/or breadcrumbs. Or a variation of this.
We loved Benjamin’s Oysters Rock-a-Fella so much that we went back first thing the next morning and ordered more before heading out of town! And we have been talking about these Oysters Rock-a-Fella ever since, and ordering them up everywhere we go to try and replicate them. We’ve had little luck as they never seemed to be ‘as good as Benjamins.’ So, we decided there was only one thing we could do… a road trip back to Newport, RI and that is just what we did.
Like most things in life, when you hype it up and then you get actually experience the hype, it is never as good. Same thing happened here. They weren’t bad this time around, not by any means…but they weren’t exactly how we remembered them. This time I really focused on what made them so good and really, it’s in the sauce and for how long they cook- one minute overdone and these oysters are goners. They seem to have the cooking time and temp down pat at Benjamins. I’m not a fan of the melted cheddar cheese on top. Of course I love melted cheddar, but I think parmesan or gruyere would be better for this dish.
Unless you are looking for standard pub grub, I don’t recommend Benjamin’s for much else other than raw bar, rock-a-fella and beer. But I do recommend you stop in for just that. In the meantime, until I return to Newport, I plan to work on my own version of the more traditional Oysters Rockefeller so we don’t have to road trip to Rhode Island to satisfy our cravings for these one bite wonders every time we want them! But special thanks to Benjamins Raw Bar for inspiring our quest for the best Oysters Rockefeller around!