Now that we're deep into oyster season, we wanted to drop some knowledge on one of our favorite foods.
There are over 150 oyster varieties. Some are otherworldly, while others are relatively unconvincing. In many a scenario you’re selecting oysters for two or more. These on-the-scene oysters will appeal to an array of palates, and initiate decisions from the litany of check boxes at the raw bar.
- Beavertail - Known for a shell which resembles a beavertail, these oysters are best farmed around 3 ½” – 4”. They come out of the East Passage of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. The flavor profile is clean and briny with slight hints of seaweed and they sit in a large well-cupped body. They’re delicious.
- Fanny Bay - Fanny Bay oysters are the exemplars of the British Columbia oyster scene. The shell of a Fanny Bay is alluringly fluted. The oyster is somewhat small breasted, slightly livery, slightly vegetal and is considered an all around delectable oyster.
- Martha’s Vineyard - Wild and farm raised MV oysters can be very different from each other. The wild oyster profile will tend to be more salty and less creamy than those farmed. Typically the oyster is well-cupped with a homely green to tawny colored shell. If you desire something more briny and oceangoing go wild, re reserved go farm raised.
- Malaspina - The Malaspina Straight is many seclusive miles north of Vancouver. These are farmed out of the cleanest of waters and boast a distinct sweet mellon-rind scent. They are usually tiny flavored and livery with a heavy empty shelled aroma of sea. A subtle oyster, but in an exceptional way.
- Kumamoto - Kumamoto is a synonym for Japanese mistress. It’s largely farmed on the west coast of the United States. Considered as the perfect oyster, most people regard its sweet cucumber and melon notes as well as its buttery smooth finish. The shell is always small and promisingly deep-cupped while yielding low brine levels.
- Pemaquid - Pemaquids come from the Damariscotta River in Maine. They have medium-sized shells and only get better with age, respectably. This oyster is very, very briny and has a nice lemony profile. It’s a fine oyster to pair with a good New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
- Blue Point - The Blue point oyster is the “New York City’s oyster”. The taste of a Blue Point is mild yet briny. The oyster is generally bottom cultured and depending on the haul it’s either forgettable or quite good. The blue point oyster is really a just in case bivalve and is well improved by impressive to various garnishing accoutrements
A superb oyster bar, cellar or saloon has an equally superb shucker, accompanied sauces and garnishes. Cocktail, mignonette and ponzu sauces, fresh horseradish, slices of lemon and a mini bottle of Tabasco are pretty standard. When oystering, also keep an eye out for unique relishes, but shooting one straight- no- chaser is the purest way to taste the sea. Here’s where to go:
- Aquagrill - 210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 (212) 274-0505
- Mermaid Oyster Bar - 79 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (212) 260-0100
- Oceana - 120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019 - (212) 759-5941
- Upstate - 95 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003 - (917) 408-3395
- Oyster Cafe of New York - 2507 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106 - (718) 777-0143