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Jun 3, 2010 11:55 AM

Where to go for oysters and champagne

When we go get our marriage license in a few weeks, we are going to have a special day to ourselves (a pretend elopement, if you will). Was going to book lunch at EMP, but my finance has been craving oysters lately and I don't think oysters and champagne seems like a terrible idea at all!

But...where should we go? Quality and value are more important than ambiance. We often get oysters as an app when out, but have never gone anywhere exclusively for oysters as the main event.

I have seen posts about where to go for happy hour deals which is not what we are after. Also seen mentions of places like Shaffer City, but I have no idea if that fits the bill.

It would be nice if the place has good soups (or something) offerings as well to supplement (Im thinking a french onion soup following by a dozen oysters - for each of us, naturally!).

Finally, my fiance hates sitting at the bar to eat - so, we will definitely want a table.

Any ideas? (Totally flexible on neighborhood and price - as long as it's a good value, Im not looking at cost per person).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Aquagrill for sure. Best oysters in the city, and their mussel soup is delicious too!

    But I must tell you...summer months are not great for oysters.

    210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    2 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Not necessarily, I've had some great oysters in the summer. It really depends. Where did the oyster come from (the season varies upon where it was harvested)? And how was it stored before it got to you (are you confident that it has arrived alive, sans bacteria and toxins, whatever)?

      It used to be that experts said not to eat them in the summer because for two reasons: possible spoilage, and getting a tasteless oyster that had spawned. Neither of these are issues any more.

      Some oysters now come from the Pacific Ocean, and these Pacific oysters have been altered to spawn very lightly, so that most of us can't even taste the difference in the summer.

      From the New York Times:

      "Decades ago, oysters were not harvested or sold in the summertime mainly because of the heat. But it is no longer difficult to keep oysters chilled in transit or in a restaurant, even on the sultriest days.

      Sandy Ingber, the buyer for the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, said, "Oysters spawn for a few weeks, not all summer, so there are always some available that are not spawning." He added that he rejects any shipments he receives of spawning oysters.

      1. Pearl Oyster Bar's oysters are 6 for $10, and they have an excellent Bouillabaisse (not really a soup soup, but you know what I mean). Love their shoestring fries!

        I know you said ambiance shouldn't matter, but Aquagrill definitely has more of a special-occasion vibe; although I suppose special occasion means different things to different people ;)

        Another potential would be Blue Ribbon Brasserie (6 for $18). They have a great French onion soup (you can ask for a half portion if you want to order more food since the soup itself could be a meal).

        I really like Balthazar (6 for $19+?) Haven't had their oysters in a long time, so would appreciate if someone could chime in to confirm if they're still good for that. Highly endorse their French onion soup and duck confit (although I go back and forth between them and the duck confit at Blue Ribbon Bakery).

        Pearl Oyster Bar
        18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

        210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

        Blue Ribbon Brasserie
        97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

        1 Reply
        1. re: Noodle fanatic

          Ooh - bouillabaise. Delish!! And shoestring fries are always a good thing.

        2. Le Gigot next door to Pearl has excellent oysters, good choice of champagne and superb french food in a very romantic room. They only serve oysters when they are super fresh so call ahead to make sure they are serving them. I went one evening and was told that they refused the morning shipment because they weren't good enough

          Le Gigot
          18 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014

          1. The Standard Grill

            Standard Grill
            848 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014