Jonathan Swift memorably observed, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.”
From that initial mouthful, not only has the world been your oyster: For many a seafood lover, the oyster is your world.
And, although the Food and Drug Administration clearly has its doubts, a study a decade ago did suggest that these grand bivalves have aphrodisiac qualities, thanks to a rare amino acid.
So, as Valentine’s Weekend is here, consider the oyster. Here are a few good places to do just that.
CANTERBURY’S OYSTER BAR & GRILLE, 46 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay; 516-922-3614, canterburyalesrestaurant.com
This veteran establishment, with its Theodore Roosevelt imagery, is popular for dishes such as oysters “lobsterfella,” a variation on the Rockefeller theme; plus, oysters oreganata, oysters casino, oysters with Buffalo-style seasoning, and oyster “hot shots” fueled with peppery vodka.
THE FRISKY OYSTER, 27 Front St., Greenport; 631-477-4265, thefriskyoyster.com
The Greenport restaurant enters the competition with oysters “friskafella,” in which they are completed with garlicky spinach, chipotles and Parmesan aioli. Peconic Gold oysters are served with a coconut-accented mignonette. A few blistered shishito peppers with sea salt will heat things up a little, too.
H2O SEAFOOD & SUSHI, 215 W. Main St., Smithtown; 631-361-6464, h2oseafoodsushi.com
Have your oysters either on the half-shell or fried and accompanied by sauce rémoulade at H2O. For dissenters, the restaurant also offers very good sushi rolls, and lobster, either steamed, in a lobster boil, in macaroni-and-cheese, in a lobster roll, or a bit spicy “millennium” style.
LOUIE’S OYSTER BAR & GRILLE, 395 Main St., Port Washington; 516-883-4242, louiesoysterbarandgrille.com
They’ve been serving seafood around here since 1905. In its current, flavorful life, Louie’s offers selections of East Coast and West Coast oysters, pristine and fine. The oysters also star in a seafood plateau with littlenecks and shrimp. Good lobster here, too. And a view of Manhasset Bay.