April 22, 2010

Oyster Lovers Meet Up

Nellie, the Host

A Delicious Array of Oysters

New York Oyster Lovers Meetup

Last Wednesday I decided to meet up with some fellow New York oyster lovers for an oyster feast at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. It was the first meet up for this group (and my first-ever meet up), and the turn out was surprisingly large. The group was as diverse as the NYC; there were other food bloggers, folks from the food industry, lawyers, artists and entrepreneurs there. Nellie, our fearless bivalve-loving leader is actually an oyster distributor for W&T Seafood. That was probably how she was able to hook us up with this sweet deal: 10 oysters (5 West Coast, 5 East Coast) and a glass of champagne for $20.

The horseshoe-shaped oyster bar made it tricky to chat with people from across the room, but I had a pretty good vantage point. Most people dug into their plates immediately, and some even went back for seconds. I only had one double take and that was for the lovely little Washington State Shigoku. Once again, the West Coast oysters triumphed to be more delicious than the East.

Here's the breakdown:
  • Bluepoint (New York): This meaty 3-inch oyster began softly on my palette and slowly developed into a mild salty brininess. I detected notes of seaweed after chewing, which dissolved into a steely, clean aftertaste.
  • Chincoteague (Virginia): The salinity was very acute upfront, followed by a mellow sweetness. It wasn't one of my favorites, but still enjoyable to eat.
  • Island Creek (Massachusetts): I've had this oyster at the Grand Central Oyster Bar before and it tastes quite different from my first experience. The meat was thin and low on flavor. The only good thing I can say is that the liquid was very refreshing. 
  • Malpeque (Prince Edward Island): I've seen this oyster to be much plumper and full of personality. Perhaps it's a seasonality issue, but this one was thin and low on flavors. I enjoyed chewing it, but have had much better.
  • Tatamagouche (Nova Scotia): An interesting name for an equally interesting oyster! It had a rich, mouth-filling nutty flavor. The initially bright and salty meat finished with an earthy, mushroom-ish taste.
  • Beavertail (Rhode Island): This rather large and plump oyster had a nice balance of saltiness and brininess. It was pleasantly chewy, sweet, and grassy.
  • Shigoku (Washington State): So nice, I had to taste it twice. This small, round-ish, deep-cupped oyster was reminiscent of the Kusshi. Its pillowy flesh was initially salty, but finished on a crisp cucumber/melon note. I could eat these for-ev-er.
  • Yaquina (Oregon): Also a terrific find: this oyster was soft, fat and had lots of sweet, sweet glycogen. It pretty much melted in my mouth. The liquid was fresh and salty.
  • Dabob (Washington State): The shell was shaped like a cat's paw and the meat contained an eye-opening dose of brine. The black mantle added an extra nutty, silty finish. 
  • Penn Cove (Washington State): Known as the "sexy oyster," this specimen was also quite tasty. The chewy meat echoed fantastic flavors of seaweed, miso soup, and salted cucumber. 
  • Kumo Guay (British Columbia): Some people don't like oysters that taste like veggies, but I think it's fantastic! This oyster was clean and crisp, with notes of lettuce and cucumber.
  • Deep Bay (British Columbia): Finally, I finished my oyster journey with this petite and plump bite. It was satisfyingly salty, but I couldn't distinguish any other notable flavors. I think the champagne was probably getting to me...
Overall, it was cool get-together that I'll definitely revisit. For all you oyster lovers in NYC, I suggest that you sign up as well!

Click for more pics!


Post a Comment