Brooklyn’s Oyster Frenzy
by Krystal DeVille
Over the summer, I began my journey to find the best oysters in Brooklyn. I searched far and wide from my surrounding neighborhood of Crown Heights, across town into Bedford Stuyvesant, down to the docks of Sheepshead Bay and I ended up at Coney Island. During my restaurant “run” from happy hours to wee hours, I noticed the unexpected. Brooklynites are eating thousands of these seafood delights on a weekly basis and they are terrific with some wine. There seems to be a craze taking place. So, let me be the first to coin this phrase, Brooklyn’s Oyster Frenzy.
For novice oyster lovers:
On one of the hottest days this summer, I too was also in a frenzy. I walked drenched in sweat to my first destination spot, Brooklyn’s Fish Camp in Park Slope, for happy hour. With exposed brick walls and warm ambiance, the Fish Camp’s blast of cold air on this hot summer day was just what my famished and thirsty self needed. At Joe’s (bartender) suggestion, I sampled three different types of oysters – one dozen raw oysters with some on the half shell. Each order typically comes with a side of vinegar, a slice of lemon and a side of cocktail sauce. Out of the dozen, my favorite was the Island Creek Oysters from Dinbury, Massachusetts. It offers a clean and buttery taste and simply melt in your mouth. Joe came in handy again as he poured a glass of a semi-sweet floral French Muscadet wine.
Blue Point oysters raw versus fried:
Steps away from the Slope, I shuffled my comfortable gladiator brown leather sandals to the darling Cornelius in Prospect Heights. Scrumptious is only the word to describe this eatery’s atmosphere, food and service. And as the evening breeze came through a widened door, it increased my appetite. This place is all about oysters as it serves over 3,400 per week, according to executive chef Chris Caracciolo and the price right ($1 buck per raw oyster). I had the opportunity to sample the raw Blue Point oysters from Long Island; and they were fresh, plump and juicy.
Photo Credit: http://citizenwho.com
So far in my oyster frenzy, I had sampled only raw dishes; it was time to try them fried. I was directed to a new hot spot, called The Black Swan in Bedford Stuyvesant. At first glance, the L-shaped bar area is quite seductive and once the aroma of fried oysters hits, you will sit and dine. Here, I sampled succulent and lightly golden fried Blue Point oysters that were just divine.
For true oyster lovers:
Randdazzo’s Claim Bar in Sheepshead Bay is where the true lovers of seafood come to demolish the catch of the day. Called the joint, it is a landmark serving the best seafood for the last seven decades. Their Blue Point oysters are exceptionally delicious and the decor makes a foodie right at home. In Brooklyn, oysters are synonymous with Coney Island. And along Surf avenue, many families with children in tow stop to grab a dozen before or after a day of fun. I sat down at Coney Island Surf & Turf Grill and sampled amazing raw east coast oysters.
A newbie oyster place:
As I was roaming Brooklyn, I heard about a new place opening called The Crown Inn, Crown Heights and I tracked down co-owner Mathew Roff who gave me the skinny. This spot was scheduled to open in the fall. The decor showcases a spin on an ornate decor with antique brass fixtures, large inviting bay windows, wood crate wine barrels, an enormous L shaped bar and a backyard. Just right for the 30 + something crowd, it will serve the best selection of east and west Coast raw Oysters, top quality Cheese and Meat Charcuterie plates.
Pairing Wine with oysters:
Nothing pairs better with oysters than a white wine. Christopher Buckley, Wine and Spirit expert, and co-owner of Hanson Dry, Fort Greene says, “the best (wines) are French as they will pair with both east and west coast oysters. Briny (salty) or creamy. A Sur Lie Le Muscadet is divine with Kumamoto oysters as its sharpness, especially within 3 years of bottling, will cut down and complement the creaminess of the west cost oysters. A Sancerre will pair well with briny west coast oysters enhancing the sharpness with a Sauvignon-like flinty snap.”
Sampling delicious wines paired with oysters from Crown Heights to Coney Island was enlightening. I found and became part of this budding Brooklyn Oyster frenzy. Bon Appetite and visit these locations soon.
- Brooklyn’s Fish Camp, 162 5th Avenue # 2, Brooklyn, NY 11217, (718) 783-3264. Open Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm
- Cornelius, 565 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 11238, (718) 398-6662. Open Weekdays 5pm-2am; Weekends 10:30am-2am
- The Black Swan, 1048 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205, (718) 783-4744. Open Weekdays 5pm-2am; Weekends 10am-2am
- Randdazzo’s Claim Bar, 2017 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11235, (718) 615-0010. Open Mon-Thu, Sun 11am-11:15pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12:15pm
- Coney Island Surf & Turf Grill, 1315 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224, (718) 513-6491
- The Crown Inn, 724 Franklin Avenue. Brooklyn, NY 11238