Oyster Crawl!

January 19th, 2011 | thehalfshell | 1 Comments

In celebration of our shout out on Grub Street (, we decided it was a good time to do a spontaneous oyster/foodie crawl.

Now for the ultimate decision, where shall the crawl begin. After some deliberation, weighing the pros and cons of several of our favorite establishments, we decided the crawl must start with a happy hour and one we knew would not disappoint. So off we were to BLT Fish Shack in the Flatiron district of NY. We began with a round of drinks and one dozen of their $1 special Blue Point oysters. Although exiting its prime season, the oyster was still delightful. All perfectly shucked, with not a single calling for a tug of the tiny fork, they had a clean start, meaty middle and not much of a finish. To our surprise not a single lay among its typical pool of brine and almost tasted a bit on the dry side, if that’s possible for an oyster. For round two, we had a half dozen more Blue Points, and threw in some west coast to diversify the plate, and please our pallet. We had the Hama Hamas(WA), which were plump in size and flavor, the Barron Points(WA), slightly on the small side and unusually lacy, as well as the Pearl Points (OR) which with a light start, and creamy finish were pure joy and great way to complete our first stop.

To continue the crawl, and after some further deliberation, we hopped in a cab, avoiding getting our shoes wet with the left over snow on the ground, and headed to Mermaid Oyster Bar in the West Village. Upon arrival we were pleased to score two seats at the bar and proceeded to order two of each of their west coast oyster as well as their special appetizer that day, the oyster risotto toped with a fried oyster. For our oysters, we had the Skookum(WA), Shibumi(WA), Kusshi(BC), Kumamoto(WA), Fanny Bay(BC), and Royal Miyagi. We started with the Kumamoto, a classic oyster that is consistently good, followed by the Fanny Bay, which is a bit larger in size, it was meaty with a mild finish, next we moved onto the Royal Miyagi, a black rimmed beauty and slightly smaller, it was a delicate transition to the plumper Kusshi. Saving the best for last, we first had the deep cupped and creamy Shibumi and ended with the sweet goodness of our very favorite Skookum. As for the oyster risotto, it was rich and creamy mixed with the crunchiness of the fried oyster, bringing together the prime integration of texture and flavor.

Both of us craving grilled octopus, we resolved to carry on the celebration with some appetizers at L’Artusi, also in the West Village. In accordance with the theme of the night, we situated ourselves at the two empty seats at the bar and ordered one dirty martini and one of their bourbon/grapefruit cocktail. Surveying the menu, we settled on the grilled octopus, roasted mushrooms with a fried egg, and brussel sprouts. The grilled octopus was cooked just right, remarkably tender and with lots of flavor. The brussel sprouts were as good as usual, when prepared correctly. But our favorite was the fried egg which ruptured onto the tenderly crisp grilled mushrooms. What a palate pleaser!

One might think, after three restaurants, we’d be satisfied, full and ready to call it a night. Well that was our plan, until we realized we were just a few blocks away from the newly opened Spasso on the corner of Hudson and Perry Street. Upon arrival and with impeccable timing, there just so happened to be two empty seats at the bar facing the open kitchen. Adhering to the theme, we grasped the opportunity to watch the chefs at work and placed ourselves in the front row of culinary theater. Two glasses of wine ordered, we decided to play the comparison game, and ordered their grilled octopus, the fried oyster, and the braised pork shoulder. The fried oyster lacked flavor of the main ingredient and tasted more like fried dough, the pork shoulder was a bit on the dry side, but the grilled octopus was just right. Bold in flavor but delicate in texture, it was mouth watering goodness. Certainly a reason to return to Spasso and give it another chance once they’ve had ample time to work out the kinks that come with opening a restaurant.

It was the ultimate way to celebrate. An evening of fantastic oysters, delicious delicacies and an overall great night in New York City.

One Response to “Oyster Crawl!”

  1. EK says:

    LOVE this! It’s making me want some oysters right now!

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