" 'Twas a brave man, who first ate an oyster " - Jonathan SwiftOysters. You either love them or hate them. Personally, I'm happy to be a lover.
When I came to New York City from seaside Sydney, oysters were the last thing I would have expected to be a popular bar snack here. Turns out, New York can bring it when it comes to these salty sea treats. Oozing with old world charm, Parisian-style Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg) is the perfect place to try them. This dark and romantic den is right in the thick of hipsterville, and is the ultimate introduction to the inexorable food scene of New York City.
The daily changing oyster menu spans over 30 varieties depending on market availability from all around the U.S. and Canada. Get there for happy hour from 4-7pm each day where the oysters are only $1 each. The Fanny Bay oysters (Baynes Sounds, BC) are unfailingly good - sweet pillows of cream and butter. The Malpeques (Malpeque Bay, PEI) are smaller and slightly more acidic, or try the Marionports (Buzzards Bay, MA) for a touch more earthiness and minerality. It seems sacrilegious to taint these oceanic beauties with anything other than the sweet freshness of the sea, but a squeeze of fragrant lemon and a spoonful of red wine vinaigrette and you'll be swooning.
Of course, you don't just go to Maison Premiere for the oysters. This bar is turning out some of the sexiest and cleanest cocktails in the city. If you're game and going to hit the ground running in NYC, ask one of the bartenders for a recommendation from the impressive absinthe list. Otherwise, the Prytania, a pretty rose-hued cocktail of Greenhook gin, framboise eau de vie, dolin rouge, lemon bitters and rose water, is executed to perfection every time.
If you're a first time visitor to New York and a lover of all things food and booze, Maison Premiere is an essential New York dining experience. You'll leave feeling on top of the world (especially if you took up the offer of the green fairy).
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