It's that weekend when we all try and show Dad how much we love him via guessing at gifts he might want (because he always says he doesn't need anything) and maybe grilling him a steak or taking him out to lunch. My father had a specific request: He wants to eat oysters. Lots of them, at multiple places. As I mulled the raw bar landscape on Long Island, memories came trickling back of the wealth of places we have to get your halfshell on. Maybe I'll bump into you there?
Fatfish Bar & Bistro (28 Cottage Ave., Bay Shore). Tucked away at the end of Cottage Avenue, hard against the Great South Bay, Fatfish is a South Shore gem with instantly relaxing views and a deck that feels like it's floating on the water. The outdoor bar can be spirited, especially when there's live music (most weekends), and it's a fine place for a Sea Breeze (literally). Despite the ample raw bar — oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail, lump crab meat with rémoulade, sea-bass ceviche, and crudo — chef Brian Valdini's turns out plenty of meat for your favorite carnivore, too, from minted lamb chops to a Cubano panini to a 16-ounce ribeye. Oh, and there's also lobster risotto. $$-$$$ More info: 631-666-2899, fatfish.info
Hendricks Tavern (1305 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn). Restaurants doth not always be by the water to dazzle you with their raw-bar largesse. Case in point is Hendricks Tavern, the clubby, handsome lair of dry-aged porterhouse for two. As befits a Poll Brothers restaurant, there are loaded seafood towers but also a la carte raw-bar choices such as clams, oysters, and Maine lobster cocktail, plus ahi-tuna poke and even the raw-bar equivalent of meat — beef carpaccio or a velvety steak tartare. This is the place to really show Dad some payback, because you're going to leave a bit lighter of wallet. $$$-$$$$. More info: 516-621-1200, pollrestaurants.com
Southold Fish Market (64755 Rte. 25 Southold). This seafood market-slash-informal restaurant is a North Fork landmark, supplying many local restaurants with seafood. But you can have an easygoing lunch here, too, with a menu that doubles as a calendar for when local seafood is running — recent specials have included grilled scallop tacos with corn salsa, a grilled tuna and watermelon salad with feta and soft-shell crabs. Warm lobster rolls or baskets of battered, fried fresh fish and clams are always in house, as are ridiculously fresh local oysters, raw or broiled, plus local Littleneck clams or shrimp cocktail. Multiple seafood chowders and bisques can help warm your bones at one of the outdoor picnic tables — just be sure to bring a cooler to haul some fish home. $$. More info: 631-765-3200.