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one dollar oysters - an update

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  1. thanks for this - we go to cognac bistro often for the blue points, but I'm going to try some others!

    17 Replies
    1. re: teezeetoo

      I don't want to come off as an dink but I'm going to anyway.

      Whenever I hear of someone saying there getting a blue point oyster I cringe.
      Blue point is a region of CT and NY. There could at least 20 different varieties or growers that call themselves "blue point". I've had very good blue points from eastern Long Island and I've had blue points that tasted like a chemical factory from western CT. There's no way to know what kind of blue point you're getting. They're also super cheap so that's why you often see them on $1 menus. Kind of like a well drink special.

      The more you know...

      1. re: typhoonfish

        I haven't asked the Cognac Bistro people what kind of bluepoint from which waters, but they have always been lovely oysters, so I have no complaints. They also are great shuckers and serve them well-chilled. I'm sure there is a reason they are cheaper (abundance, source, etc) - i don't tend to expect Point Reyes or Kumamotos for a dollar though if anyone knows where I can get them at that price, I promise to show up! And I don't think your being a dink at all: I'm happy to learn something new.

        1. re: teezeetoo

          I had Point Reyes this past summer at Point Reyes and they were $1 a pop. Of course it's byob and byos (bring your own shucker) but the ambiance can't be beat! The downside is the plane ticket.

          That said, I agree with teezeetoo: I've never found issues with generic Blue Points as long as they were fresh. Are they a little flabbier in flavor than their Northern and more specific cousins from Duxbury or Maine? Possibly. But we're talking dollar oysters here, a quick snack to wash down a glass of wine. If something nicer is required a quick trip to ICOB or Neptune and a little more cash can take care of it.

          1. re: Klunco

            I love Point Reyes and am lucky enough to have my spouse do the shucking (we go about once a year) , but in fact I prefer East Coast oysters (North East) to west coast oysters but any fresh oyster will do in a pinch.

        2. re: typhoonfish

          The nomenclature may be a bit foggy, but I've eaten a thousand "blue points" in my day and most have been darned excellent.

          When I do a horizontal tasting I can certainly taste the difference between varieties...

          Short of Wellfleet's and a few other varieties this whole concept of Merroir and knowing exactly where your oysters come from is a pretty new concept. I honestly find it a bit silly, but then I have seldom met an oyster (unless it is blatantly off) that I didn't like/slurp with pleasure.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            The difference is the whole "oyster bar" idea, along with $1 oysters have taken off as reflected in the list above. As such your local restaurant can get 100ct Blue Points from Restaurant Depot for $39.95, along with their pre-cooked pasta, chopped "sashimi tuna," and seasoned chicken cutlets. While I mistily recall when just about every corner Italian restauarant, Portuguese, and some Greek offered littlenecks on the half-shell (and more than a few shucked oysters and fresh made oyster rockerfeller/clams casino) but only bought quantities for a few days from local sources, there are a lot of folks buying pretty "MEH" seafood overall (99% of the sashimi/sushi for instance). I think educated (and passionate) reports to help separate the better from the worse is useful and didn't plan on initially jumping in, but I do sometimes roll my eyes when some restaurant sends me an email "today only, oysters specials until...." and when I waiter offers bluepoints I expect it to be a step up from frozen-shucked, but wonder exactly what I will get (product and shucking-wise).

            1. re: itaunas

              I guess I don't lump the $39.95/100 blue points in the same bucket as the pre-cooked (ick) pasta. Chopped sashimi tuna is just vile, and pre-seasoned chicken cutlets well... let's not go there.

              Fact is, unless an oyster is harvested from the outflow of a GE plant, or they really are Florida or Lousiana oysters (that warm water does produce a much murkier flabbier oyster) they may very well just have been harvested or farmed by someone that is not as sophisticated a Marketer as say the Island Creek folks.

              Crazy as it seems some folks might just stick to their oystering, ignore the cute names, and the Co-Branded restaurant and sell them to a customer that buys a lot of shellfish.

              Of course freshness is KEY, but it is the same Ocean.

              I am not saying all bluepoints are good, or that Restaurant Depot might not sell some crappy oysters, but I am saying that if they are FRESH, and raised North of the Delaware River that will likely be a very good oyster in my book.

              Also, if they are kept cold, oysters actually keep for a pretty long time.

              Heck, in the old days it was not unheard of to ship barrels of oysters on ice, by rail, to Chicago. If they are cold, closed tight and healthy, they can last

              On Wikipedia they state 4 weeks, and a guy in this thread claims to have kept some Cape Cod Oysters he harvested himself doing fine in his fridge for 4 months:

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandque...

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster

            2. re: StriperGuy

              Actually Blue Points run opposite to this trend. Originally Blue Points had a very specific geographic point of origin (Great South Bay on the south shore of LI). Over much time the 'brand' has been generalized and loosely applied to oysters anywhere from NY/NJ/CT and even further south into mid atlantic waters.

              I would recommend Mark Kurlansky's 'The Big Oyster' as a interesting read for all bivalve lovers.

              1. re: Gabatta

                This.

                Also oysters go dormant in the winter. You can keep eastern oysters in cold storage in the winter for 4 months without a problem. As someone who sells several million oysters per year, the whole eating oysters with the R month is nonsense, *however* if there was a month that I'd say are the weakest, it would be March. The oysters have been dormant all winter and haven't fed yet, so they're very weak and the meats are real small.

                Local Cape Cod Indians used to bury their oysters on the beach for the winter and dig them up in the spring.

                1. re: typhoonfish

                  Very cool. Question for you, what do you credit the "chemical tasting" oysters from Western CT that you had?

                  Thoughts on $39/100 "Blue Points" from Restaurant Depot?

                  Can we buy wholesale from you?

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I find that the further west you get in the long island sound has a metallic taste to them. My inlaws live on the sound in CT and I've tasted it in both oysters and clams. It seems to get worse the closer to the Hudson river you get. You don't detect it as much in Noanks in eastern CT.

                    I tread carefully with Chowhound. They don't seem to be real hospitable to commercial ventures, even though we don't sell restaurants or consumers. I'm here to identify seafood trends in the foodie world (and I love food). I stealth sell the other big Massachusetts oyster that doesn't have a PR team and cult following behind it. ; ) Unfortunately I can't sell to consumers but I can point you in the right direction for buying very close to wholesale levels.

                    On the pier:

                    Cape Cod Shell - John
                    Stavis - Cash desk
                    Pangea Shellfish - Lori/Dan.

                    Thoughts on RD in general. Careful. (which is about all I'll put in writing)

                    1. re: typhoonfish

                      As someone who has spent a week or two in Wellfleet every year on and off for the past 20+ years or so I think I might have an idea...

                      I've bought oysters straight from the guys farming the flats on Indian Neck many times. Heck once or twice while surf fishing I've there I've fallen down on and accidentally shucked an oyster lying in the sand with my fillet knife. Poor little creature I had to eat it to put it out of it's misery.

                      Darned good oysters even without the marketing team ;-).

                      Thanks for the fish pier reccos.

            3. re: typhoonfish

              Rialto claims to be selling Island Creek Oysters; I believe them.

              1. re: typhoonfish

                How do they farm oysters in western CT? Of course farming them out in the country instead of in the ocean one would expect them to taste like a chemical factory.

                1. re: Bellachefa

                  I believe it's a rack system like we have here.

                  They have a mud bottom. We have sand. Not sure if that's a factor.

                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    You must be thinking NW CT. If you look at the Map of CT, Stamford say is as West as you can get and right on the Long Island Sound... right on the water.

              2. Not exactly on topic, but Wilson Farm in Lexington has started selling Island Creek Oysters in 1/2 dozen bags. I'm not completely sure, I think they go for $8.99/bag. I'll double-check next time I'm there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bear

                  The oysters at Wilson are $8.99 per 1/2 dozen. They also are selling Island Creek little necks for $9.99 a dozen.

                2. Myers+Chang is beginning, this wk, to offer $1 oysters every Thursday 5:30-7:30 and every Sunday 8pm-they run out.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      um, that's the link that started this thread? always a good idea to begin at the beginning.

                      1. re: teezeetoo

                        ha! best of intentions. and my parents sent me to college for this?sigh.