The oyster is such an essential part of New York City dining the city is unimaginable without it. Oyster pan roasts, oysters rockefeller, Blue Points on the half-shell....where would we as a people be without oysters? Go out and eat some today!
What can you say? It never changes, it never falters, and it's always jammed. If it wasn't such a slavish tribute to Paris brasseries, you could even call it the ultimate New York restaurant. Certainly, it's a hell of a lot better than the places in Paris that it emulates.
One of the all-time New York classic late-night hangouts, Blue Ribbon is justly famous for its cocktails, oysters, and sushi -- and not for its overrated fried chicken.
Aquagrill is a very fine but underrated seafood restaurant -- which is odd because it's been so good for so long, and has a great SoHo location.
While most famous for its wonderful lobster roll, Pearl is primarily an oyster bar, and few places serve the things, cold and on the half shell, better.
The Oyster Bar is so iconic and timeless that it's a shame it's mostly commuters that go there. There is no larger selection of oysters in New York, or possibly the world.
For all its asian inflections and supremely elegant simplicity, the food at Le Bernardin is potent to the point of richness -- a testament to chef Eric Ripert's vision and balance. Service is impeccable and the sommelier, Aldo Sohm, the best in the country.
Contrary to popular believe, Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar is still open and still one of the best tasting menus for the money in New York City. The food, now as when it opened, is orderly, tidy, concentrated bursts of flavor, served in a jewel-like romantic space. A contemporary classic.
April Bloomfield seafood sibling to The Breslin next door make for a potent one-two surf-and-turf punch, but they really have very different characters. Where The Breslin is dark and romantic, the John Dory is bright and buzzy, more a place to meet for drinks and oysters than for a romantic dinner for two. In fact, all the dishes are small plates, so as to keep the tables turning and accomodate diners who just want to stop in for some swanky shellfish.