Photo courtesy of Maison Premiere

GuidesNew York

The Resy Guide to Oyster and Wine Pairings in New York

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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 with the briny bivalves they serve on ice — some with oyster specials you won’t want to miss.

 

Photo courtesy of Otway
Oysters with seasonal mignonette — 1/2 dozen: $13.50 / Dozen: $27

“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.”

 

Happy Hour:

Oysters are $18/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 $9, pints of beer for $5, and cocktails for $9.

 

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Photo 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.”

 

William’s recommended drink pairing:

“I always like to remind people that the classic thing to drink with oysters is muscadet, a wine from the Loire valley in France whose soil has been littered with oyster shells for centuries, if not millennia. It informs the wine with a minerality that is parallel to the oysters you are eating, and is therefore one of the great, all-time classic pairings. I like our muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Clos Des Allées 2018 and Semper Excelsior 2015, both from the domaine Luneau-Papin. We also love drinking Champagne with oysters.

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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Photo 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 is the Kusshi from British Columbia and 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.”

 

Ryan’s recommended drink pairing:

“I will always recommend a crisp Old World-style pilsner with oysters. I know people always go towards a Guinness when pairing beer with oysters, but I think the Saaz hops from our Rockaway Pilsner brings so much more crispy bitterness to the table than a stout. 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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Photo 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.”

 

Robby’s recommended drink pairing:

“With our Baby Brielle oysters from Great South Bay in Long Island, I recommend the Wild at Heart,” says beverage director Robby Dow. “This Nic Cage-inspired martini features London Dry Gin, blanc vermouth, orange wine, and salty Manzanilla sherry, and it’s a perfect pairing for the remarkably fresh, salty, and brine-driven Baby Brielle oysters.

For West Coast oysters, like our current Shigokus from Washington State, I would recommend the FACE/OFF cocktail, which is based on a Pimm’s cup. Pimm’s cups are classically a beautiful drink to pair with bivalves, and this one rings true with a dynamic combo of Haitian agricole rhum, strawberry, cucumber, miso, and ginger, alongside the creamy, cucumber, and melon terroir of the Shigokus.”

 

Happy Hour:

Oysters are $25/dozen Wednesday 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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Photo courtesy of Nino’s AQ
Local oysters — 1/2 dozen: $15

“We offer oysters all year round,” says owner Michael Vendome. “Our approach is to reach out to our fishmongers to see what oysters they currently have that are the best. We were offering Blue Point oysters for most of summer, sourced locally off the Long Island Sound and Connecticut. We just switched to Savage Blonde oysters located a little more north of us in Prince Edward Island — taking advice from our fish team.”

 

Michael’s recommended drink pairing:

“We pour a Verdicchio by the glass, a crispy, acidic white wine that’ll be delicious with the oysters. We have a delicious cocktail on the menu called the Cucumber West Side — I feel like the brininess of the oyster and cucumber go great together. And you can’t go wrong with a bottle of prosecco or Champagne, which is a classic pairing.”

 

Happy Hour:

$1 oysters Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. all year round.

 

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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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Photo courtesy of Chez Ma Tante
Oysters with parsley mignonette — $4/piece

“We dress Noank oysters from Mystic, Connecticut, with a parsley stem mignonette, parsley juice, and just a dab of olive oil,” says general manager Rikki Russo, whom you can also thank for Chez Ma Tante’s superb wine list. “We find that the vegetal quality of the parsley really pairs well with the salinity of these East Coast oysters. We get them from Island Creek — they always have such a lovely variety of oysters and the quality is superb.”

 

Rikki’s recommended drink pairing:

“Typically, a Loire Valley muscadet is the classic oyster wine. Right now, we have a celery spritz on our cocktail list. It consists of green Chartreuse, lime, celery bitters, celery juice, and topped off with a very dry prosecco, and I find that the vegetal quality of the celery works quite well in conjunction with the salinity of the oyster. It also mimics the flavors found in the dressing. Also, can’t go wrong with sparkling wine.”

 

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Photo 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 Stefan Mïller Trocken Riesling from Mosel, or if you prefer something with some sparkle in it, the Nicolas Gonin sparkling Altesse from Savoie always hits with its Chablis-like minerality.

Don’t sleep on our citrus cocktail made with blanco tequila and packed with freshly-squeezed grapefruit, lime, and orange with a hint of bergamot and toasted pink peppercorn. Or… there’s always a cold Miller High Life!”

 

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Photo courtesy of Jeffrey’s Grocery
Today’s oysters: $3.50/piece; Small batch oysters: $4/piece

“At Jeffrey’s, we feature two oyster selections daily: One from a local Atlantic oyster farm and one from a small batch operator, often from the Pacific,” 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.”

 

Matt’s recommended drink pairing:

“Given the summer heat, we like ice cold refreshers. We like to quaff a bottle of chilled rosé, and our Antxiola Getariako Txakolina Rosado from the Basque region in Spain fits the bill nicely. Or grab a refresher from the bar, like our rosemary-and-lavender-laced Latest Crush lemon vodka cocktail. And can’t argue with an ice cold can of crushable pilsner like our Happy Face Pilsner, brewed by our friends at Bronx Brewery with lime leaf and salt.”

 

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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Photo courtesy of Victor
Roasted oysters (4) — $12

“Our oysters are rotating East Coast oysters, and they are roasted in our wood oven with merguez sausage, bread crumbs, and lemon,” says assistant general manager Bryn Birkhahn.

 

Bryn’s recommended drink pairing:

“I’d recommend a fuller bodied rosé such as our Ilaria Cabernet Franc and Tannât blend from the Pays Basque in southwest France. It’s light enough to let the oysters remain the star, but has enough texture and earthy notes to stand up to the spiced flavors of the merguez.”

 

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Photo courtesy of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
East Coast oysters — 1/2 dozen: $12; West Coast oysters — 1/2 dozen: $20

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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