The Standard Grill
The Standard Grill's Eddie Cungu served up Mystic Oysters with cucumber, lime, and sake. The julienned strips of cucumber, though a bit difficult to slurp, made for a crisp, refreshing mouthful.
Eddie pouring sake
Eddie tops off each oyster with a splash of sake; a pleasant complement to the Mystic's briny character.
These meaty oysters come out of the waters off of Noank, Connecticut, right where the Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound converge. The unique environment lends a bright, rich, slightly metallic brininess to the bivalves.
The Mystic Creek team, shucking along.
The Waverly Inn
Chef Ashely Merriman prepared this smoked oyster chowder, studded with potatoes, carrots, and hefty Wiley Point oysters out of Maine. The boldly flavored oyster still managed to shine through the creamy and richly meaty soup.
Jehangir Mehta certainly made the evening's boldest move, serving raw Broadwater oysters topped off with Pop Rocks and a grapefruit granita.
Yes, that's right. Pop Rocks, the sweet candy that fizzes and crackles on your tongue. The confluence of icy granita, slippery bivalve, and carbonated candy was, to say the least, an exercise in sensory overload. Couple that with the bold flavors of the grapefruit and candy, and the oyster was completely overpowered—a shame given the Virginia oyster's mild, pleasantly sweet flavor.
Todd English's tequila oysters with pineapple and uni lime spuma weren't exactly my cup of tea. The "tequila mignonette" proved little more than a shot of Patrón, which didn't exactly jive with the creamy sea urchin mousse. The oyster seemed more afterthought than star of this particular bite.
Watch Hill Oysters
The Rhode Island oysters used in Todd English's preparation proved creamy and light, with a subtle flavor that I best enjoyed condiment-free.
The Lobster Place's Cull & Pistol
Chef David Siegal used Widow's Hole oysters, which he topped with a pickled quince and chilies. The heat and tartness certainly worked well together, and but they didn't highlight the oyster so much as mask its unique flavor.
Widow's Hole Oyster
Plump, crisp, and balanced, these petite Long Island bivalves are a good beginner's oyster.
Louisana native John Besh hosted Sunday's event, chatting amicably with guests and posing for photo ops.
Chef Anita Lo's oyster preparation showed welcome restraint. A few small cubes of Asian pear and some chopped shiso added a nice contrasting texture and pop of minty sweetness that celebrated these Beau Soleil oysters instead of competing with them.
DIY Bloody Marys
The open bar had pitchers of Bloody Marys on hand; the mix was left relatively mild so that guests could spice and garnish their Chopin Vodka-based drinks as much (or little) as they pleased.
Mionetto 'IL' "Spr!z"
The semi-sparkling Spritz-inspired aperitivo was served to guests over ice.
Learn to shuck
Forty North Oyster Farms presided over a learn-to-shuck station, where they taught oyster newbies the basics. Jealous? You should be! Successful shuckers were awarded with a shot of vodka to chase their oyster.
Want to learn how? See our oyster-shucking video and guide »
Tools of the trade
A glove, oyster knife, and dish towel are all you need to get started. Well, that and an oyster, of course.
Grandpa Musselman & His Syncopators
Throughout the afternoon, a live jazz band serenaded festival guests.