It's time to look on the bright side of all this gloomy, frigid weather. You can sit and pout as that blustering wind paints your cheeks pink and turns your nose into a faucet, or you can take comfort in the fact that oysters all over the country are coming into their own. Summer's no good for gulf oysters because of terrifying things like the red tide. Oysters from northern waters are mostly safe year round, but the guys like to spawn in the summer time. They're much better in the winter when they're not working so hard. All they do is sit around, eat and turn into fat, plump bivalves that are the pinnacle of oyster-eating.
So quit being a chump, grab a scarf and get out there and eat some bivalves. Whether you enjoy them with beer, dry white wine or maybe champagne, this is the time to eat them till you split.
20 Feet Seafood Joint (pictured above) Blue Points are harvested off the coast of Long Island. If I had to take a Gulf oyster fan up to New York and share some oysters with them, Blue Points are what I'd order. They've got that robust flavor that lets you know you're eating a bivalve, but they're smaller and milder than gulf oysters and ultimately more appealing for eating raw. 20 Feet does everything well, these included.
Boulevardier This place was made for oyster service. I wish they were a little more affordable so it was feasible to sit at that beautiful bar, drink seven or so beers, and work your way through three-dozen shells. Still, they've got a great selection. And they sell enough of them that they always taste fresh. Spluge. It's like four degrees out.
Gemma Gemma is just so pretty you'd eat about anything with a smile. But their oysters arrive brilliantly presented and impeccably shucked -- even the gills are intact. If the oyster in question has a nice deep cup, the careful handling will preserve a good amount of oyster liquor. Put down the condiments and sip from this tiny cup.
S&D Oyster Company This is Texas, so a list of oyster restaurants that doesn't touch on Gulf oysters would miss the point completely. My go-to for Gulf oysters is S&D, where the turnover is so high a team of shuckers work up front at lightning speed. With custom made cocktail sauce and a handful of crackers you can make a whole meal out of these meaty specimens.
Spoon Dine at Spoon if you'd like the most impeccable, wallet-crushing oyster experience possible. Chef John Tesar's oysters are plucked from their shoals with the finest linen mittens, and shucked so gently the oysters don't even know that anything is wrong -- until you come along, of course.
TJ's Seafood TJ's Oak Lawn is a no-frills spot with a clean, sleek atmosphere. Choose your oysters from the case and minutes later they're brought to your table. Check out the selection of white wines available. There's guaranteed to be a great pairing or two.
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Rex's Another no-frills spot with fair prices and a great selection. Rex's serves up great oysters with out taking your wallet out into the back alley for a "conversation." Hit 'em with a squeeze of lemon and then toss 'em back. You could do this sort of thing all afternoon, and while the temperatures continue to descend, you won't be bothered in the slightest.