Oysters, like Rosé, are synonymous with summer on the east coast. They’re reminiscent of the ocean, refreshing, and a well-known aphrodisiac. Oysters differ in shapes, sizes, tastes, textures, and mouth feel, depending on the regions of the coasts they are harvested. Furthermore, people have different preferences when it comes to their oysters, some like them briny, some like them meaty and then there are those who douse so much lemon, horseradish and mignonette sauce on them it doesn’t matter what they initially taste like. However, despite popular belief among oyster lovers, there is a such thing as a bad oyster. Below is a sampling of restaurants in New York City, where these oysters are guaranteed to be very, very good.
96 2nd Avenue
If you have a hankering for oysters, look no further than the Mermaid Inn. From 5-7pm every day, Mermaid Inn offers a “Happiest of Happy Hours” at all three of their Manhattan locations. During this time, you can enjoy $1 oysters, along side discounted beers, wine, cocktails and snacks. The East Village location also offers an unprecedented all night happy hour on Monday nights. Even if you can’t take advantage of one these early bird specials, the Mermaid Inn is a great destination for oysters. Their extensive offerings and knowledge about oysters, makes this a perfect spot for both oyster enthusiasts and novices alike. Furthermore, Mermaid Inn has an awesome app, Oysterpedia, available in both the iPhone and Android marketplace, also available in web form on their website. This app enables you to search different types of oysters to learn what to expect from it’s size, taste, texture and region along the east and west coast of North America.
210 Spring Street
Aquagrill has stood the test of time. It’s been standing strong for 18 years, with its iconic blue lights and blue awnings on Spring Street in Soho. There is a reason Aqua Grill has thrived for as long as it has in a city where restaurants constantly open and close. They feature fresh, seasonal seafood with an incredible and extensive oyster menu, which is updated daily and featured on their specials menu. Their oyster menu can be overwhelming at first– on any given night they feature 25-27 different types of oysters. I recommend you describe what you like and have the waiter choose for you if you find yourself in an indecisive state. Or one better, if you are looking for the ultimate oyster experience, spring for the Oyster Sampler. The Oyster Sampler gives you the opportunity to try all of them.
158 8th Avenue
Montmartre, brought to you by the Little Wisco group, which has restaurants like Fedora, Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery in it’s repetorire, is a French Bistro in Chelsea. Being a French Bistro, you may not think of this restaurant as a destination for great oysters. However, their oysters are phenomenal and moderately priced. What gives Montmartre added appeal during the summer months, is its back garden. Their garden gives you the opportunity to dine outside for any meal, without eating on the street. Imagine yourself eating your oysters, drinking rosé in a beautiful garden featuring its own bar, while taking in the scent of fresh grown herbs.
154 West 13th Street
When I suggest Flex Mussels to people, I often get the same response, “but I don’t eat mussels.” Well, I’m not particularly a big fan of mussels myself, but that doesn’t deter me from dining at Flex Mussels. Aside from being an awesome restaurant with a great selection of items, Flex Mussels has fantastic oysters. Each night there is a fresh selection of both east and west coast oysters. While they may not have as extensive a list of oyster offerings as Aquagrill, their selection is just enough to fufill your oyster needs. They also offer an appetizer of fried oysters, shucked to order, or east coast with spicy aioli. Enjoy!