New York Oyster Lovers at Lure Fishbar
Now over 150 members strong, the New York Oyster Lovers Meet Up group has made their mark on some of the most well-known oyster establishments in town.
Wonderful gastronomic memories and friendships have already blossomed through this bivalve-enthusiasts club and this year is going to be even better. I have to give major props to Nellie—our fearless Meet Up group leader—for another successful and informative event.
To start the year off right, our first meeting was held at the swanky subterranean boathouse known as Lure Fishbar. Executive Chef Josh Capon and Chef de Cuisine Ryan Schmidtberger put their heads together a month in advance to devise a sensational five-course tasting featuring select East and West coast oysters. The finished menu exhibited an elegant progression from delicate to hearty, and each course also played to the strengths of the particular oyster being used. Ryan was a wonderful host and tried to be as present as possible, despite the unexpectedly busy restaurant shift. Josh would have been with us as well, but he was on his way back from some envious tropical vacation destination that night.
Nellie will soon be enjoying her days as a new mom and needed a temporary replacement. I am happy and honored to help out a good friend, so stay tuned for some exciting events in the near future. "You have very large shoes to fill," were the parting words from a fellow attendee.
In the meantime, check out the highlights of the dinner at Lure below.
Raw oyster flight served on the half shell over ice
Start at the bottom of the plate and work your eyes up counter-clockwise. Three kinds of oysters were presented: one left naked and second piece enhanced with the chef's special touch.
Kumamoto (WA) with Jalepeno and Ponzu
Beausoleil (New Brunswick) with Meyer Lemon Granita
Point Judith (RI) with Pineapple and Cucumber Salsa
Any In A Half Shell regular knows that I'm a purist at heart: I prefer to have my oysters in the buff—no citrus, sauce or spices needed. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the garnishes used to dress these oysters. The Point Judith with Pineapple and Cucumber salsa was a genius combination. The salsa's sweet and grassy tang smoothed over the bold, briny liquor that Point Judith's are famous for, which allowed you to fully explore the rich savoriness of the meat.
Second Course (Part One)
Fried Blue Point oyster with graham cracker crust, tartar sauce, and Thai slaw
Next came two cooked oysters on the half shell laid in a ying-yang fashion on a plate that was loosely threaded with seaweed and watercress. The first oyster was a classic Blue Point that was topped with a dab of tartar sauce and perched atop a bed of pickled julienned veggies. The crumbly, cracker coating added good texture to the otherwise soft oyster, but the scattered slaw was a little difficult to eat elegantly.
Second Course (Part Two)
Fried Fanny Bay oyster with potato tempura, fine herb aioli, caviar, and smoked salmon
I loved the micro bursts of saltiness from the caviar against the smoked salmon and enjoyed the taste of this fried oyster more than the previous one. The deeper and wider valve also cupped the oyster better, so that it was easy to pop into my mouth.
Shibumi oyster stew with potato-leek broth, bacon, and fried shallots
This was my favorite cooked course of the night. When raw, the plump Shibumi exudes a delicate, smoky flavor, but it gives off an entirely different persona once poached. The once-ultra-creamy texture firms up slightly to that of an over-medium egg and the flavor is robust and earthy. The crispy, aromatic shallots also energized the velouté by changing up the texture. My only wish was that the stew would have contained twice as many oysters. That's probably being a little greedy, but I really couldn't get enough of them!
Roasted stuffed chicken with Kusshi oyster stuffing, potato puree, and foie gras sauce
I struggled to distinguish the flavor of the oyster in the stuffing, but it was still a good dish nonetheless. It showcased the versatility of the ingredient more than anything, which is appreciated in a tasting course (and to win in The Next Iron Chef).
Tapioca pearls and sorbet: coconut, tangerine, and pineapple
I am always down for anything with tapioca pearls (e.g., bubble tea), so this dessert was a shoe-in.
If you want to be part of the fun next time, join the group! It's free to sign up and a great way to meet others who share the same gusto for eating amazing food.