Last night, 17 hungry New York oyster lovers quickly filled up two lengthy wooden tables near the front of The Bounty. Three hours later, each of us left feeling satiated and elated. Chef Evan Sloan and his team pulled together a spectacular oyster dinner—one that is definitely going down in NY Oyster Lovers Meetup history.
The Bounty is a two-year-old restaurant & bar located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Situated just off of the Greenpoint Ave stop on the G train, this nautically-infused seafood den has flown under the radar of most food media… but probably not for long. On their Instagram, you’ll find the usual food porn suspects: perfectly positioned platters of oysters, juicy burgers, and fried things. The images are attractive, but not at all representational of what we were going to be in for. Oh no, were taken on a magical, one-of-a-kind tasting journey that defied the status quo.
Here’s a quick play by play of the meal:
“Oyster & Sherry” featured a round of freshly shucked raw oysters on the half shell, drizzled with near-invisible sherry vinegar. The light touch of this aromatic liquor took me back to my childhood days of eating drunken chicken in the summertime. The platter featured Cape May Salts (NJ), Peter’s Point (MA), and Taunton Bay (ME). I paired the lot with a chilled muscadet. A perfect start to any meal.
With our appetites properly whetted, the first course of “Oyster & Lemon” arrived. A couple raw East Beach Blonde (RI) oysters perched atop a crispy piece of toast, and crowned with lightly shaved fennel, celery, and dressed in lemon puree, mache, and burnt lemon vinaigrette. It’s hard to make a raw gloop of oyster meat that is out of its shell look appetizing, but this dish seemed to have achieved it. Kind of amazing what a simple sprinkle of green can do!
Most oyster soups and stews that I’ve had are usually thick and laden with butter and/or cream. Chef Sloan’s interpretation was surprisingly light and simultaneously complex. “Oyster & Parsley” featured grilled Malpeques (PEI) wading in a silky parsley root soup, complemented with gremolata, parsley pesto, and briny pops of salmon roe. While I thoroughly enjoyed this course, I’d be curious to see what a creamy Pacific oyster might offer that a Malpeque cannot.
“Oyster & Cucumber” featured a zen-like parade of scallop crudo, cornmeal-fried Island Creeks (MA), marinated cucumber, cucumber yogurt sauce, homemade hoisin sauce (seriously?? amazing) and cilantro. This dish won best presentation and flavor combination in my opinion. But the blissful moment quickly turned into panic. What if… what if I never get the chance to eat this dish again?? ? Dear friends at The Bounty: please add this to your regular menu. Thanks!
Next came the pasta course—“Oyster & Smoke”—that silenced the room. Between bites, someone would applaud the elegant smokiness of this dish. I barely said a word. I was too busy slurping the noodles! Smoked Bras d’Ors (NS) hid under a wave of hand-cut capellini noodles, toothsome bitter greens, oyster mushrooms, and smoked grape tomatoes & bottarga. Bottarga is a salted cured fish roe and my new favorite seasoning side-kick. Similar to the salmon roe from the second course, the delicate sprinkle of sea and salt really puts you in the oceanic mood.
“Oyster & Horseradish” was the fifth and final course of the evening. A generous portion of perfectly cooked prime cut flank steak created a podium for a tempura fried Sewansecott (VA) oyster. Holy moly, that was tasty! The composition also featured horseradish, confit potato, creme fraiche, dill, watercress, and dulse—an edible seaweed that supposedly tastes like bacon when cooked. My take? It kind of does. Kind of doesn’t. Either way, it was delicious.
I’m pretty sure that we all burst into a round of applause BEFORE the meal was even over.
Many thanks to Chef Even Sloan and the entire Bounty team for putting your heart and soul into this meal. You could really feel the love! Also a big thanks to Crystal for organizing this great feast, amongst the 10 million other things on her plate.
If you’re in NYC and would like to partake in these awesome oyster events, sign up to be a member of the New York Oyster Lovers Meetup Group! It’s free to join and we’ll most likely get to hang out.