Photo courtesy of Maison Premiere

GuidesNew York

The Resy Guide to Oyster and Wine Pairings in New York

By and

Is there anything better than a freshly shucked oyster on the half shell?

… Maybe when it’s paired with a perfect beverage?

… Maybe when it’s part of a happy hour?

We asked the beverage directors, chefs, owners, and general managers at some of our favorite Resy restaurants what to drink with the briny bivalves they serve on ice — some with oyster specials you won’t want to miss.

Newly added to the list: Mar’s, Mollusca, Bella Dea, Martiny’s, Lighthouse, and Flex Mussels.


Photo courtesy of Mar’s
Photo courtesy of Mar’s
East Coast Oysters — 1/2 dozen: $24; a dozen: $46; oyster trio (12): $42

“At Mar’s we exclusively serve East Coast oysters ranging from the Mid-Atlantic up to New England and as far as Prince Edward Island in Canada,” says beverage director Artem Derkatch. “We select our seafood from purveyors who source their products directly from fisheries and oyster farms. Every day, we offer our patrons an oyster trio: It’s our chef’s choice of three types of oysters accompanied with three mignonettes and sliced lemons.”


Artem’s recommended drink pairings:

“When you’re about to dive into very good, fresh oysters it’s important to remember that, really, those little guys are the star of the show. I wouldn’t want a beverage pairing to bump elbows or take over. So from our list, assembled from my obsession with Old World wines, it would be this: By the glass, what you want is either the zippy bubbles in a Spanish cava, or the salinity and citrus from Greek moschofilero. But a dozen oysters often begs for a bottle of wine, and so I’d recommend a lesser-known varietal of white wine from the Loire Valley: Domaine de la Bregeonette Folle Blanche, which is tangy, salty, and just cuts like a knife.

“From our other libations, we pour a lot of German pilsner and stir up ice-cold martinis with celery gin from the Netherlands, pickled ramp brine, herbs de Provence, and kalamata olives.”


Happy Hour:

Oysters are $24 per dozen and $12 for a half dozen from 4 to 6 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday and all day on Sunday.


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Photos courtesy of Mollusca
Kumamoto oysters with mignonette — $5 a piece; 1/2 dozen: $27. Mollusca Signature Oyster (black caviar, fresh uni, and 24 karat gold leaf) — $11 a piece.

“The oysters we have here are Kumamoto from the Pacific Ocean,” says director of operations Seth Bulkin. “They have a deep cup and are meaty, with an unmistakable ruffled shell. These have a sweetness and fruitful aroma with mild brine.”


Seth’s recommended drink pairings:

“The Mollusca Martini is best paired with the oysters because of the smokiness and floral aromas,” he says. “The gin used has citrus notes and enhances the fruitful nature of the Kumamotos. This would be best suited for our guests that enjoy a spirit-forward cocktail with their oysters. Another great option would be the Tequila Pineapple, for those who are looking for a more tropical experience. The pineapple juice is made fresh daily, and the ginger root is muddled for a nice spicy kick on the back end of the drink.”


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Photo by Ashley Randall, courtesy of Bella Dea
Photo by Ashley Randall, courtesy of Bella Dea
Local selection with pink-peppercorn limoncello mignonette, borage — 1/2 dozen: $24, 1 dozen: $48

“Bella Dea focuses exclusively on East Coast seafood, and that includes our oyster program,” says co-owner Leena Culhane. “Currently we love Sue Buxton’s oysters, which we overnight from Deer Island, Maine. Because of the low water temperatures, oysters from this area develop extra complex flavors while maintaining beautiful brininess. “I have been working with Sue Buxton for almost a decade now and a large motivation for me to open in New York was a chance to use her oysters, scallops, and mussels again,” adds executive chef and co-owner Brian Borneman.


Zoe’s recommended drink pairing:

Beverage director Zoe Wilkins suggests a bottle of Marta Valpiani’s Madonna dei Fiori to go with the daily selection of bivalves. “This wine is super high acid, which really highlights the pure oceanic quality of Maine oysters, while the complex notes of baked apple and white flowers allow the umami-rich meatiness of the oysters to shine through. When we carry more classic oysters from Massachusetts, we suggest a bottle of Chateau de Plaisance’s Ronceray Blanc. The focused minerality of this Loire Valley Chenin Blanc pairs perfectly, and brings out sweet vegetal notes you may otherwise miss in these delicate oysters.”


Happy Hour:

Bella Dea has a happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, where you can get $1 oysters, $8 wine pours, and discounted crudo specials.

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Photos by Deanna Ting
The Caprese from Martiny's
Oyster Chowder, Jamón, Ayu Gyosho — Two oysters/$10

Martiny’s is a three-story cocktail lounge near Union Square with truly standout small plates, oysters included. “Martiny’s oysters are inspired by oyster chowder,” explains executive chef Wayne Cheng. “The oyster itself has a very creamy and briny taste. We use lime juice to wash the oyster, and add potato espuma, shaved jamón, onion flowers and lime zest on top of the foam. You can use a spoon and eat the oyster in one bite. The combination of the potato cream, onion and oyster tastes just like a bowl of chowder, but chilled. The oysters are sourced from New Zealand.”


Takuma’s recommended drink pairing:

Beverage director and owner Takuma Watanabe, formerly of Angel’s Share, recommends pairing the oysters with the Caprese. “It’s made with Starward Two-Fold Double Grain whiskey, tomato water, grapefruit juice, basil, lime, and milk. The savory taste of this cocktail pairs perfectly with the creaminess of the oyster,” he says.


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Photo courtesy of Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of Lighthouse
Oysters with lemon mignonette and housemade hot sauce upon request — $3/piece

“We source our oysters from East Coast farms via Greenpoint Fish and Lobster, World’s Your Oyster, and directly from a few oyster farms,” says co-owner Naama Tamir. “Our oyster shells are picked up by The Billion Oyster Project (BOP) to be upcycled as water filtration systems and storm mitigating structures in the water. Lighthouse was one of the first BOP restaurant partners and supporters.”


Naama’s recommended drink pairing:

“Try the Mezcalito with mezcal, jalapeño, lime, and agave. It’s crispy, smoky and zippy. Or the Southside with gin, lemon, mint, and bubbles. It’s crisp, minty, and a palate cleanser. Oysters love a refreshing crisp palate cleanser and both cocktails offer that.”


Happy Hour:

Oysters are $1/piece from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. On weekends, happy hour is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The happy hour also includes $10 glasses of wine and $40 bottles (brut cava, white, orange, rosé), $8 beers, and a $10 daily cocktail.


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Photos courtesy of Flex Mussels
East Coast oysters — $4 a piece; West Coast oysters — $4.50 a piece; Shucker’s Choice variety plate (1/2 dozen or a dozen oysters) — market price

“Flex works directly with oyster growers from Canada, the U.S. and away, showcasing a seasonal selection of the five species and merroir appellations that are grown in North America,” says Patrick McMurray, Flex Mussels oyster sommelier. “Every week, Flex will keep the list to a tight 10 starting with our house favorites: Lil’Sharkeys from PEI and Big Sisters from Maine. Every week, Flex will fill out the list from what the team knows are great, new, and rarely seen in New York City.”


Patrick’s recommended drink pairings:

“Rosé always makes for a perfect pair with oysters. Opt for the bottle especially if you’re sharing oysters amongst friends,” McMurray says. He adds, “If you want bubbles, go with the Cremant: the fine bubbles dance with the fresh oysters on your palate. For a cocktail, I’d choose a Pimm’s spritz or The One with Gin (Thai basil, elderflower, and lime). Pimm’s is a wonderful summertime beverage originally made by James Pimm, a London oyster shucker and bar owner who created it to go with his oysters in the 1840’s. For beer, I recommend wheat beers like the Port City Wit; they make for a light, crisp combination. And if you’re thinking of other liquor pairings, I’d go with whisky because the caramel malt and ocean salt sipped from the shell are delicious, and for gin because the juniper berry and herbaceous notes from gin match that of the subtle ocean green you’ll find in the paired oyster.”


Happy Hour:

Flex has a daily happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring discounted cocktails, entrees, and oysters. Shucker’s Choice oysters are $1.50 each during happy hour.

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Photos courtesy of Otway
Oysters with seasonal mignonette — 1/2 dozen: $15 / Dozen: $30

“We source only East Coast oysters through Greenpoint Fish,” says owner Samantha Safer. “We always have a seasonal mignonette, which utilizes excess herbs and produce from our dinner menu.” (Last week’s was a watermelon mignonette.)


Samantha’s recommended drink pairing:

“Our first suggestion is always Pét-Nat! We offer a different Pét-Nat by the glass each night and think funky bubbles are always the most refreshing and fun pairing, especially during the hot (and unfortunately, very humid) summer months.

If bubbles are not your jam, we have a really fun take on a Paloma on our menu — the Hot Summer, it’s pretty classic in that it’s tequila-based, but we pick fresh sage from our garden to add an herbaceous quality to compliment both our oysters and our food menu. Our menu in general tends to avoid sweet and overly sugary drinks by incorporating herbs, fruit, and our favorite olives.

“The tepache margarita is another great pairing option for what appears to be a seasonably warm summer ahead of us. The spicy sweetness of ice-cold tepache with the added acidity of lime and slight bite of tequila is not only a great choice for cocktail-preferring oyster lovers but also a great standalone beverage to enjoy on our patio.”


Happy Hour:

Oysters are $20/dozen Wednesday through Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. The happy hour also includes the restaurant’s daily changing wines by the glass for $10, pints of beer for $5, and classic cocktails for $10, with $2 off house cocktails.


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Photos courtesy of Maison Premiere
No less than 12 oyster varieties — $1.75 to $4.50/piece

“We opened Maison Premiere about 10 years ago with the hope and ambition of having one of the largest oyster lists in New York,” says bar director and managing partner William Elliott. “We typically have between 20 to 25 different kinds of oysters coming from the east and west coasts both in Canada and the US, and occasionally New Zealand as well. We highlight independent farmers and we go directly to them. We’ve really developed working relationships with each of these farmers over the years.”


Pascal and William’s recommended drink pairings:

Service director Pascal Ferraguti Klaja explains, “At Maison Première, we love tradition, and nothing’s more beautifully traditional than the marriage of oysters and Muscadet. Clisson from Domaine de la Pépière is a rather dense wine marked by granite, both round and nicely mineral. With both East and West Coast oysters, it creates a classic pairing!”

On the cocktail side of things, we recommend something that is light and bright in profile, something citrusy and refreshing, like our Arnaud’s French 75. The only real exception to that being a classic martini, or our Old King Cole Martini stirred tableside. To me, the golden three are muscadet, martini, or Champagne.”


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Photos by Evan Sung, courtesy of Hancock St
East and West Coast oysters — $4.50/piece

“I worked with Chris Quartuccio from Blue Island Shellfish to select the oysters we serve at Hancock St,” says chef and partner Ryan Schmidtberger. “Chris and I met when we opened Lure Fishbar back in 2004, and he is by far the best shellfish vendor in the country.

We chose Pink Moons from PEI because they hit the brackish and mineral flavor profile that pairs best with our housemade oyster sauces. Our plum wine mignonette’s sweetness contrasts with the brininess of the Pink Moon perfectly.

“Our West Coast oyster switches off between a Shubumi from Puget Sound and the Pebble Beach oyster from the Hood Canal. Its smaller size is ideal for a West Coast-style oyster, because the creaminess isn’t overwhelming. I recommend our serrano chile sauce with the Kusshi as the underlying cucumber notes cut the heat of the serrano chile. That sauce is a hit here on oysters and I also see guests heating up their smoked margaritas with it.”


Ryan’s recommended drink pairing:

“I will always recommend a crisp Old World-style pilsner with oysters. We are now serving Victory Prima Pils and in my opinion, this is the best pilsner made in the States that is in the style of the German pilsners, which pair so well with oysters because of the blend of hops that bring that citrus-lemony flavor to the table. We have a great Billecart-Salmon Champagne by the glass to pair if looking for something more traditional, but I’d order our Noir Martini — simplicity at its finest. All you need is a dollop of caviar…”


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Photos by Evan Sung, courtesy of Dame
Grilled oysters — $5/piece

“We visited Glidden Point in Maine last summer and loved their oysters so much that we convinced our seafood purveyor Liepper & Sons to start carrying them,” says owner Patricia Howard. “The oysters get grilled, topped with an herby hollandaise with green Chartreuse, then lit aflame with more Chartreuse tableside.”


Patricia’s recommended drink pairing:

A vesper martini.


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Photos by Max Flatow and Grand Army
Oysters — $4 to $4.50/piece

“Our oysters are farmed and harvested by Marcus Buffaloe, a local oyster farmer who began his business to help promote awareness of [what is] possibly the most sustainable seafood,” says chef Thom Chun. “They are harvested and delivered that same day, so we only serve the freshest oysters — their taste and texture are truly a cut above because of it. Our house oysters are Marcus Buffaloe’s Blue Points, which he lovingly named Baby Brielles after his daughter, who was born around the same time he began his business. They have a balanced profile with the brine, minerality, and texture that you’d hope to find in a classic East Coast oyster.”


Ally’s recommended drink pairing:

For a cocktail, beverage director Ally Marrone recommends, “the Little Gucci Dress, a martini riff paired with oysters, always. The Touch, since scotch and oysters love each other — it’s also light and fresh —  and the Girl Power, for a fun twist. It’s so bright and fruity but the Manzanilla sherry kicks in and can bring it all together with gorgeously briny oysters.”

“For wine, the Cellar Pardas ‘Rupestres’ Xarel-lo is our current white by the glass and it’s light bodied, dry, and salty. Barraco ‘Biancammare’ Grillo, our other white by the glass option, has seaweed and minerality all the way in this crisp glass. On our bottle list, the Callejuela ‘Blanco de Hornillos’ Palomino was meant for oysters as it’s basically a Manzanilla sherry with a touch of nuttiness.”


Happy Hour:

Oysters are $25/dozen Monday through Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. The happy hour also includes $1 off draft beers and wines by the glass.


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Photos by Adam Friedlander and Deanna Ting
East Coast oysters (8) with fish sauce mignonette — $18

The thrilling modern Vietnamese restaurant offers Widow’s Hole oysters from Greenport at the tip of North Fork. “Mike and Isabel Osinski run a family business with their kids,” says chef-owner Eric Tran. “Tastes like the ocean!”


Eric’s recommended drink pairing:

Castello di Stefanago ‘Amico Frizz’ 2019 from Lombardy, Italy. It’s 60% Riesling and 40% Chardonnay, dry, crisp, and fresh. After it pops open, you get seriously active bubbles and solid acidity. This wine oxidizes before your very eyes! Not in a bad way, it just gets different.”


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Photos courtesy of Chez Ma Tante
Photo courtesy of Chez Ma Tante
Oysters with Meyer lemon mignonette — $4/piece

“We are currently running Savage Blonde oysters from PEI. The Meyer lemon mignonette is bright and citrusy with shallots, cava vinegar and olive oil, complementing the briny and meaty oysters,” says general manager Emma Krautheim.


Emma’s recommended drink pairing:

“Typically, a Loire Valley Muscadet from Domaine de l’Ecu is the classic oyster wine. For a cocktail, we’d recommend the Forthave Spritz, featuring Forthave Red aperitif, which is bitter and picks up the floral notes from the Meyer lemon.”


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Photos courtesy of Bar Bête
Island Creek Oysters — $3/piece

“We always source our oysters from Island Creek Oyster farms in Duxbury (Massachusetts),” says general manager Steven Kincade. “We generally request a small to medium oyster. For preparation, we present them with a fermented chili oil, which is a secondary product from a fermented chili paste we make in-house. The oysters are also dressed with a Meyer lemon mignonette.”


Steven’s recommended drink pairing:

“As a wine-focused bar program, we would suggest a bright white with high acidity and a little brininess. Our current favorite would be the Le Vignes de Paradis, Chasselas de Marin from Savoie, France — it’s so delicious!

Don’t sleep on our “white cocktail” made with celery gin, yellow Chartreuse, elderflower and lemon. It’s bright, crispy and herbal and pairs fantastically with the brininess of the oyster and is complemented nicely with our Meyer lemon mignonette. Or… there’s always a cold Miller High Life!”


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Photos courtesy of Jeffrey’s Grocery
Today’s oysters: 1/2 dozen: $22, 1 dozen: $42; Small-batch oysters: 1/2 dozen: $26, 1 dozen: $48

“We feature small to medium oysters from Oysterpond in New York. It’s a savory oyster with a refreshingly tannic, cast iron bite. They have an oceanic salinity,” says executive chef and partner Matt Griffin. “We usually have six to seven varieties in the house and rotate the selections throughout the day.  Jeffrey’s is proud to offer our own oyster variety, Lil’ Waves, which is harvested weekly from farmer Phil in Orient Point, New York.”


Paulo and Ren’s recommended drink pairing:

General manager Paulo Rodriguez and beverage director Ren Neuman recommend something ice cold. “We like the Weingut Schlossmühlenhof ‘Pinke Pinke’ rosé from Rheinhessen, Germany. It’s very nuanced with bright acidity. Or grab a refresher from the bar, like our TY Dolla $ign, a great tiki cocktail that is a variation on a three dots and a dash. And you can’t argue with an ice cold can of crushable pilsner like Talea’s Al Dente, from a woman-founded brewery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”


Happy Hour:

$1.50 per oyster Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., featuring an ever-changing variety of cold-water Atlantic oysters.


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Photos courtesy of Victor
Roasted oysters (4) — $16

“Our oysters are rotating East Coast oysters, and they are roasted in our wood oven with merguez sausage, breadcrumbs, and lemon,” says general manager Dylan Wells.


Dylan’s recommended drink pairing:

“I would recommend a soft, round expression of a skin contact wine, something with the depth and texture to match the merguez sausage, but with the lift and acidity to complement the oyster. Our Colicchio Delica Bianco, a skin-contact malvasia from Lazio, Italy, fits the bill perfectly.”


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Photos courtesy of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
East Coast oysters — 1/2 dozen: $19; West Coast oysters — 1/2 dozen: $24

An industry favorite (everyone from Di An Di’s Kim Hoang to the eponymous Emily of Emily Pizza and Emmy Squared goes there), Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. has some of the best bivalves in town. “They’re just really fresh,” says co-owner Peter Juusola, who reminds that the restaurant offers half a dozen East Coast oysters for $12 all the time.


Peter’s recommended drink pairing:

Txakoli rosé or cava.


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