Several months back, on February 2nd to be exact, we set out for the ultimate oyster experience. The blog had successfully been up and running for three months, and this quarterly celebration could only be commemorated in one way, a full on oyster indulgence. But this time, our thirst for brine could only be quenched by one place…Aquagrill.
A husband and wife operation, Aquagrill is a bestowment of all things love when it comes to seafood. Although we fully enjoy the delectable fish preparations, they won our hearts over with their unparalleled raw bar menu. On any given night, they offer a variety of 25-27 different types of oysters, and on any given night, one has the opportunity to sample them all. Which brings us to The Oyster Sampler!
We had eyed this menu item on several past visits, always wondering what it would look like, how would we go about tasting them all, what would be the east to west coast ratio. The questions were endless, but finally answered on this cold wintery night, when we sat down to a platter of 27 different types of oysters, each.
To document this experience, we developed a system; Each oyster would be described by its start, middle, and finish, preferably using one word for each. Here we go….
(sn-denotes that there was a side note in our description)
1. Blue Points (CT) : salty, briny, lingering.
2. Peale Passage (WA): smooth, metallic, lingering (sn-progresses)
3. Quilcene (WA): metallic, lacy, abrupt finish (sn-ruffely deep-cupped)
4. Sisters Point (WA): soft, lacy, brassy
5. Hood Canal (WA): lackluster, aluminum, abrupt
6. Denotta (WA): salty, lacy, oceany (sn-small, pretty shell)
7. Goose Point (WA): briny, creamy, metallic (sn-winner-guess we liked that one)
8. Mirada (WA): clean, sweet, oceany (sn-beautiful, love!)
9. & 10. Match Off: 9. Moonstone (RI) vs 10. Otter Cove (WA) Both oysters looked very much alike, with one from the East Coast and one from the West. The Moonstone was slightly salty, clean and meaty. The Otter Cove was full bodied, creamy, with a lingering taste of the sea at the end. We compared this to University of Rhode Island, in close proximity to Newport, but not quite there vs University of Washington, a beautiful scenic campus on a lake.
11. Pebble Beach (WA): mild, greens, clean (not much substance)
12. Beavertail (RI): clean, meaty, abrupt
13. Rome Point (RI): briny, deep, salty
14. Eagle Creek (WA): lacy, full body, metallic
15. Hog Neck Bay (NY): simple, undefined, lacy
16. Potters Moon (RI): lacy, salty, metallic
17. Martha’s Vineyard (MA): extremely salty, meaty, bright
18. Wellfleet (MA): briny, plump, abrupt
19. Beau Soleil (NB): salty, sweet melon, sweet (sn-like a chocolate covered pretzel, salty and sweet-wine must have been kicking in)
20. First Light (MA): non briny but salty, firm and full, seaweed.
21. vs 23. The Kumomoto Challenge. 21. Kumo from CA v. 23.Kumo from WA. Kumo from WA was sweet and melony. The deep cupped shell full to the rim with meatiness. CA was meaty, and sweet, but overall-the WA had more flavor. We narrowed it down to: CA: Pure Butter, WA: Flavored Butter
22. Mattaki (BC) petite, clean, oceany and abrupt finish
24 & 25 Blackberry Point and Raspberry Point, both from P.E.I: delicate, salty, but with a
pleasantly sweet finish.
26. Belon (ME) Big and Flat. Meaty, Metallicy. Not your typical oyster, and not for every
palate. But quite the delicacy.
27. Canoe Lagoon (AL): bland, milky, abrupt. (sn: deceiving in its beauty)
It was a fun experience, and one we highly recommend experienced at the bar, accompanied by a glass, or two, of a good crisp white wine. Since oysters tend to vary throughout the year, stay tuned when we revisit for a taste of what the summer variety has to offer.
210 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012-3601
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