For some reason I keep ordering fresh oysters and paying for it. Not always, but a large percentage of the time.
The worst offender was the Rogue-owned pub in downtown Issaquah. A and I used to live around the corner and loved going there, and one evening I decided to try their "oyster shooters". I didn't quite understand what I was getting into until it arived - a tall shot glass filled with tomato cocktail and oysters. The oysters were hidden - no way to check they were fresh - so I took a swallow. As soon as the oyster hit my mouth I knew something was off, but for some reason I swallowed anyway. I left the remaining few and tried to ignore the taste of old kitchen cloths that was lingering in my mouth. Needless to say, I didn't feel too good that night.
Cut to this past weekend when A and I spent the night on Orcas Island at the Rosario Resort. We were there to take a look at their wedding facilities, which looked very nice on their website, but sadly didn't live up to expectations once we were there in person. ("Faded glory" was my quick summary of the whole place, and their service was bad).
But back to the oysters. We decided to grab a bite to eat in the bar (since the restaurant was about to close and made it clear we were not welcome). The bar was loud, mostly filled with people watching football on the incongruous large TV screen above one fireplace (way to kill the atmoshpere!) I noticed fresh local oysters on the menu and decided to try them (how often do you get to have local oysters from the Orcase or San Juan islands?) They arrived on a bed of ice cubes (okaaay) and looked good. In fact, they were almost all delicious and I was feeling quite pleased with myself. Then I got to #6 - the last one, and noticed some "stuff" left in the water and juices in the oyster shell. Nothing too alarming, I thought, so down it went. It didn't taste bad, but wasn't quite right somehow, and sure enough, later that night I was making repeat visits to, umm, powder my nose.
Based on my past experience, it seems 50% of raw-oyster-eating outings are likely to go badly. If you're going to take the plunge, I'd say stick to a really good restaurant (which sadly seems to also imply expensive), or do them yourself.
If my readers know of any good local (Seattle) places for fresh oysters, let me know! E&O in the W hotel has the top spot in my experience, but I think they lost their chef a while back, so who knows how hey are now...