The best part of restaurant ownership? It’s gotta be the R ‘n D! This past weekend I did what I love to do more than almost anything else in the World. Return for three days to New York City to visit brother Dave, where two or three times a year we engage in some serious research. As Dave has recently moved cross town to “Stuy Town”, Alphabet City, Lower East Side, it was here that our mission focused. The evening’s impromptu theme… Oyster’s.
FYI, Our modus operandi is very loosely defined as; hit a cool place, choose an appetizer or two …and a cocktail or two, move on. Take notes on cocktail napkins, compare thoughts, “borrow” a menu, get drunk, make friends, float home.
(From there; return to Massachusetts, challenge the Chef’s, update the menu, get called “pretentious” by those who would have preferred something more familiar. Whattyagonnado.)
If you have never spent an evening bar-bistro hopping in NYC, I say, you have not lived. (someone who won’t read this blog would have argued mountain climbing, cave spelunking, etc)
We began on Avenue C with Blood Orange Marguerita’s and Chile Oysters. From there, we moved on to the “rockinest sushi joint ever” Avenue A Sushi–now in it’s 23rd year–for Oyster Boyster’s (oysters topped with sliced scallop and that volcano-roll-spicy-mayo-topping-mixed-with-crabmeat and then caramelized under the broiler) and a pitcher of Sake. From there we headed two blocks to one of Momofuko’s 4 properties–The Noodle Bar on 1st Avenue– for a quick Pork Bun and a 1/2 dozen Beau Soleil Oysters with Wasabi Caviar. They kicked us out for a 1.30AM closing but not without 1st providing directions (one block) to the Momofuko Ssam Bar on 2nd Avenue, as their kitchen was open until 2AM. Here we enjoyed numerous items who’s names and specifics escape me, for the obvious reason, plus they had no cocktail napkins! But I remember this; one bourbon and lemon syrup drink was served over a huge hand carved ice cube and the Pig Face wasn’t whole, but rather “pulled” cheeks served with crazy good sauce. We had no idea that the beer we next ordered was a 20 ouncer and further reason why I can’t remember what the something else was that we loved. Oh, and there was definately Oysters.
On Sunday night, joined by my daughter Aislyn who bussed in from DC for The Giants game, we went a little easier. We began at Mercado on Houston St, where our three bar stools were actually on the side walk as the end of the bar opened to the street. Here, to Spanish beats and feets in the Street we tried fried Oysters with with a Chorizo oil/aioli, a Scallop Ceviche “cooked” in mango and habanero, and the Shrimp Mofongo (to see if it was as good as moonstones!) We then finished up at a favorite “can’t get in that place” on Stanton St in the East Village, The Stanton Social Club. As it was sunday, we got in. (and, they were out of Red Snapper Tacos, Yellowfin Sashimi, Lobster Pizzetta, and the Sea Bass Satays) We passed on the Foie Gras “PB and J” when the waitress said it was “interesting”, but loved the Charred Octopus Lettuce Wraps with Miso-Mayo, The Chicken and Waffles, and The Nori Spiced, Fried Tuna Tartare in Brique.
If you are thinking about making a trip, I’d be happy to be your guide! Anytime. There are a few more places we have yet to try…